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Manics Make History in Cuba

Manic Street Preachers are first Western rock act to play Cuba in twenty-plus years

February 16, 2001 12:00 AM ET

Leftist Brit-rockers the Manic Street Preachers will revisit their radical roots by kicking off their world tour in Cuba today. The Karl Marx theatre in Havana will host fans as well as seventy U.K. journalists and British fans, who arrived in Cuba on Wednesday for the show. The by-invitation-only concert is free.

This show will also mark the public unveiling of the Preachers' sixth album, Know Your Enemy, due out on March 26th, which features their controversial song, "Baby Elian," inspired by the plight of six-year-old Cuban refugee Elian Gonzalez, who became the center of a heated international custody fight between the U.S. and Cuba last year.

"We've just got a lot of respect for the Cuban people and the Cuban culture, and we wanted to do something really different this time," bassist Nicky Wire told reporters.

This show will mark the first time a Western rock act has played Cuba since Billy Joel visited the same theater in 1979.

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