Havana Good Time
They say the Australian accent is one of the hardest to replicate. That the intonations and extended vowels are, for a foreigner, like linguistic gymnastics.
Not for Mike Keat, it seems. Heâ€™s a speech pathologistâ€™s wet dream. But then the Scotsman has had a lot of practice, travelling down under with his group The Cuban Brothers on numerous occasions. He even managed to nab himself an Australian wife and, if heâ€™s honest, thatâ€™s probably part of the reason The Cuban Brothers are coming back to Brisbane for this yearâ€™s Blah Blah Blah festival.
â€œMy wife, sheâ€™s from Brisvegas,â€ he explains once heâ€™s switched back to his buttery Scottish brogue. â€œAnd my little girls â€“ I just had another little girl called Lucia, born just eight weeks ago â€“ sheâ€™s coming to meet her grandparents and her aunties and all of that. So yeah, Iâ€™m really looking forward to getting back!â€
The Cuban Brothers have become something of a phenomenon, their whacked out stage craft winning them fans the world over. In recent years their resume includes events as diverse as hosting the prestigious Gumball 3000 rally and performing at this yearâ€™s Abu Dhabi Formula 1 Grand Prix. Itâ€™s a long way to the top for a bunch of characters that grew from very organic beginnings.
â€œWell, back in the day I was playing the character of Miguel Mantovani and I used to DJ and play percussion and do a bit of b-boying and do a bit of emceeing, so I was already doing the Cubans with a DJ, ostensibly. And I met Archie in a hip hop club in Edinburgh. He was the sickest dancer Iâ€™d ever seen. He wiped the floor with all of us. I think a week later I had him performing with me. I gave him a character to play â€“ my nephew, Archerio â€“ and he just took it onboard and made the character his own.â€
Those club beginnings are essential to The Cuban Brothers success story: these guys know how to make the audience groove as well as laugh.
â€œIâ€™d call it the most entertaining show on earth,â€ Mike chuckles. â€œYouâ€™ll laugh, cry, shit, fart and barf, and come â€“ all at the same time, hopefully. Youâ€™ll be going home with your knickers sodden with all sorts of excretions. The Cubans are all about entertainment. Weâ€™re out there to make people laugh but also to do some good tunes and some nice b-boying â€“ a nice mix of funk, soul, hip hop, Latin â€“ and get on down.â€
The Cuban Brothers play Blah Blah Blah at Riverlife, Kangaroo Point, Tuesday December 28.