NEWS : MON, JUL 15, 2019 at 8:00 AM

Watch Preservation Hall Jazz Band’s Official Video For “Keep Your Head Up” From ‘A Tuba to Cuba’ Featuring Cuban singer Eme Alfonso

Preservation Hall Jazz Band has released the video for their song “Keep Your Head Up” today, premiered via Billboard. The track, which features Cuban singer Eme Alfonso, appears on their new album A Tuba To Cuba, the soundtrack to the critically acclaimed documentary directed by T.G. Herrington and Danny Clinch, out now via Sub Pop. Watch and share “Keep Your Head Up” here. Stream and order A Tuba to Cuba here

“Keep Your Head Up” is simple message with a big meaning,” says Ben Jaffe.  “Walk with your head high, walk with pride, and live your life with grace and honor and an appreciation for all humanity.  Don’t let things break you down and don’t allow anyone or anything to diminish your spirit.”





“We met the wonderful Eme Alfonso at a performance at an amazing old factory that’s been converted into a multi-disciplinary art space called Fabrica Del Arte.  That same evening we met she came up and improvised lyrics in Spanish on the spot. Eme later told me the words she sang have a deep meaning in Cuba,  the translation is something like “walk with your head out front, don’t be so down, walk with joy.”

To say Preservation Hall Jazz Band is to refer to the purest essence of our traditions and to discover NOLA, through the band and Ben its director, was for me one of the most beautiful experiences of my life,” says singer Eme Alfonso. “Because in New Orleans… Jazz and art flow from the streets of this city and it’s clear that it has a direct connection to Cuba, Havana, and all of those who came before us. Our grandparents are connected through these rhythms, dances, melodies, and customs and this shared history of our ancestors unites us all. 

“New Orleans and Cuba are deeply connected,” Alfonso continues. “This collaboration is a conduit, a lesson to show our people, and others in the world that we are all family and that art and music has the power to unites us.”

“We went to Cuba in prayer position,” says Preservation Hall band leader and bass player Ben Jaffe when he speaks of the pilgrimage he and the group took to Cuba in December 2015. “We went to receive and offer at the same time. We had never experienced a moment like this, it felt as though all roads were intersecting at once.” The critically acclaimed 2019 documentary A Tuba to Cuba documented the band’s journey as they explored the links that connect New Orleans and Cuba so indelibly – their shared, tragic history as destinations where enslaved Africans struggled to simply survive, and their current status as places where the cultural inheritance from those ancestors is kept alive in both song and deed – but that was only half the story. This collection of songs, a musical account of a generations-in-the-making reunion of musical families separated by time, politics, and distance, tells the other half.

When asked to describe the collection of songs assembled on Tuba to Cuba, Jaffe sums it up by saying, “It’s like listening to the radio.”  And yes, A Tuba to Cuba actually feels less like an ordinary soundtrack and more like a living document, a recording of a broadcast that’s been waiting to exist, a modern version of the static-y radio signals that were broadcast between America to the Caribbean in the early and mid-20th century, sending the sounds of jazz and mambo and R&B and more back and forth across the vast divides of water and culture and politics. It’s a story, this album, and the tale being told mirrors the band’s experience.


The resulting collection of songs is what Jaffe describes as “a beautiful conversation.” The music of A Tuba to Cuba is an ecstatic expression of that ongoing conversation, a restless and lush trip up and down strange FM wavelengths bridging thousands of miles and hundreds of years, where all involved are talking with each other and over each other in excitement, charged with the thrill of recognition of the evidence of their shared familial roots, an undeniable kinship rooted in bloodlines, rhythm, and melody.


[Photo credit: Josh Goleman]

Preservation Hall Jazz Band Tour Dates + Ticket Links:

Jul. 28 - Newport, RI - Newport Folk Festival
Aug. 02 - Happy Valley, OR - Pickathon
Aug. 03 - Happy Valley, OR - Pickathon 
Aug. 05 - Folsom, CA - Harris Center For The Arts
Aug. 06 - Folsom, CA - Harris Center For The Arts
Aug. 08 - San Francisco, CA - SFJAZZ
Aug. 09  - San Francisco, CA - SFJAZZ 
Aug. 10 - San Francisco, CA - SFJAZZ (7:00PM)
Aug. 10 - San Francisco, CA - SFJAZZ (9:30PM)
Aug. 11 - San Francisco, CA - SF Jazz Center - Miner Auditorium
Aug. 15 - Philadelphia, PA - Old Pool Farm
Aug. 16 - Philadelphia, PA - Old Pool Farm
Aug. 17 - Philadelphia, PA - Old Pool Farm
Aug. 18 - Philadelphia, PA - Old Pool Farm
Aug. 24 - Arrington, VA - Lockn’ Music Festival 
Sep. 20 - Louisville, KY - Bourbon & Beyond Festival
Sep. 21 - Franklin, TN - Pilgrimage Music Festival
Sep. 22 - Franklin, TN - Pilgrimage Music Festival
Oct 22 - Ridgefield, CT - The Ridgefield Playhouse
Oct 23 - Red Bank, NJ - Count Basie Theatre
Oct 24 - New York, NY - Town Hall Theatre
Oct 25 - Boston, MA - Berklee Performance Center
Oct 26 - Portsmouth, NH - The Music Hall
Oct 28 - Montreal, QC - Place des Arts - Theatre
Oct 29 - Toronto, ON - Roy Thomson Hall  
Oct 30 - Pittsburgh, PA - Byham Theatre
Nov 01 - Kent, OH - The Kent Stage
Nov 02 - Goshen, IN - Goshen College Music Center
Nov 04 - Chicago, IL - Thalia Hall
Nov 05 - Saint Paul, MN - Fitzgerald Theatre
Nov 07 - Denver, CO - Paramount Theatre
Nov 09 - Phoenix, AZ - Music Theater at the Musical Instrument Museum
Nov 11 - Livermore, CA - Livermore Valley Performing Arts Center
Nov 13 - Chico, CA - California State University Chico - Laxson Auditorium
Nov 15 - Santa Rosa, CA - Luther Burbank Center for the Arts
Nov 16 - Arcata, CA - John Van Duzer Theatre  
Nov 17 - Portland, OR - Revolution Hall
Nov 18 - Seattle, WA - Benaroya Hall – Taper Auditorium
Nov 20 - Santa Cruz, CA - Rio Theatre
Nov 21 - Santa Barbara, CA - UCSB Campbell Hall
Nov 22 - San Diego, CA - Wonderfront Music Festival
Nov 23 - Cerritos, CA - Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts
Nov. 29 - Baltimore, MD - Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall
Nov. 30 - Baltimore, MD - Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall
Dec. 01 - Baltimore, MD - Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall