David Buchbinder’s Odessa/Havana is a JUNO Award-winning ensemble of master musicians working with the surprisingly and historically connected Afro Cuban and Jewish music traditions. The band creates what the Buffalo News called “…a musical paradise that is dancing and completely irresistible. There is beautiful music here, along with ferocity and no small amount of fun” that generates “…terrifically exciting, hard-swinging fireworks” (Wire). 

David Buchbinder’s Odessa/Havana bursts with the rich colors of Jewish and AfroCuban cultures, presenting “dazzlingly tuneful music, with powerful, swinging and lyrical playing”, that is “passionate, dancing and completely irresistible.” It is creatively grounded in the historic connection between Afro-Cuban and Jewish music, one that stretches back to the medieval kingdom of Al-Andalus (Andalucia). But the sound is contemporary,  created by shaped by the compositions  of Grammy nominees David Buchbinder and Hilario Durán, and one killer ensemble of master musicians. This octet can alternately sound like an orchestra (covering brass, reeds, strings, keys, drums, percussion and voice), a tight, hot jazz ensemble, and a gritty, authentic street band, as they expertly negotiate a reimagined confluence of the historically-connected Jewish and Afro-Cuban music traditions. The JUNO Award-winning ensemble have brought their cross-cultural music magic to audiences form New York to L.A., Vancouver to Sao Paulo, and everywhere in-between, drawing people in with “a stunning display of the unlimited potential of what World Music has to offer”.

Odessa/Havana released two recordings on the Tzadik label to rave reviews around the world and many “Best Of” honors, (along with a JUNO Award, a Canadian Folk Music Award and many nominations) and self-released their third album, Conversation of the Birds (produced by Buchbinder and mixed by JUNO winner John Bailey). The diversity of the musicians (hailing from seven different countries), together with the sounds of Jewish and Cuban music in fresh combination embodies a very relevant message of people and cultures coming together to create something new. But what really counts is that when this band hits the stage, you know there will be “…terrifically exciting, hard-swinging fireworks!”

In June 2023, David has begun collaborating with musician/composers in Toronto and New Orleans on new compositions for the next Odessa/Havana recording, and travels to Havana for research and developing creative collaborations.

“…a perfect example of an act that has struck gold with its sonic experimentation.”



— Errol Nazareth, CBC Radio

“…an utterly brilliant and deeply moving collaboration that gives an entirely new meaning to the term ‘world fusion’


— allmusic.com