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The Rolling Stones to play free concert in Havana on March 25

Pablo Porciuncula, AFP | The Rolling Stones: (left to right) Mick Jagger, Charlie Watts, Keith Richards and Ron Wood, will play in Havana, Cuba, on March 25

The Rolling Stones announced Tuesday they would play their first-ever concert in Cuba on March 25, according to a statement on their website.

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The free, open-air gig will be held in the Cuban capital Havana at sports complex Ciudad Deportiva.

"We have performed in many special places during our long career but this show in Havana is going to be a landmark event for us, and, we hope, for all our friends in Cuba too," the statement said.

The concert will come a few days after Barack Obama becomes the first US president to visit Cuba in nearly a century, a powerful sign that Cold War-era relations between the Communist-ruled island and its superpower neighbour are unfreezing.

The Stones' lead singer Mick Jagger visited Havana in October last year, fuelling speculation that a gig could be imminent.

Rock music was frowned on in Cuba for many years for ideological reasons, but it has gained popularity over the past decade as the island has opened up.

Raul Castro took over the leadership of Cuba from his brother Fidel in 2006 and was formally made president in 2008.

(AFP)

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