Chart-topping band Manic Street Preachers are to launch their latest tour and new album in Cuba -- the first gig by a Western rock act for two decades.
Fans have paid just 25 cents -17 pence - for Saturday's concert by the Welsh stars, whose hits include A Design For Life, Everything Must Go and If You Tolerate This. The band will premiere tracks from their sixth album, Know Your Enemy, at the Karl Marx Theatre in the capital, Havana - a 5,000 capacity venue. Among the tracks expected to be aired will be Baby Elian, based on the story of six-year-old Elian Gonzalez who was escaping Cuba with his mother when the refugees became shipwrecked. The youngster, who became a cause celebre, was taken to Miami and looked after by relatives, but has since been returned to the island and his father. It is the biggest show on the Communist island by a Western act since Billy Joel played in 1979. Following the revolution which swept Fidel Castro to power more than 40 years ago, Western music was denounced as a bad influence. However, attitudes have become more laid back in recent years, while the popularity of Cuban music has similarly grown around the world.