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Music Notes

I will have to check these out this weekend.

maderalimpiaMadera Limpia

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=103328348&ft=1&f=10004

Madera Limpia’s music is all about keeping faith under trying circumstances. The “corona,” or crown, in the album’s title refers to a crown of dignity. The band’s sound dignifies the history of Cuban music, referencing everything from salsa to traditional, African-derived drumming. But it’s always with a modern twist: The rowdy spirit of dancehall, reggaeton and hip-hop is ubiquitou

Omar Sosa
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=102876397&ft=1&f=10004

Jazz pianist, composer and bandleader Omar Sosa’s soul lies in his unique blend of Afro-Cuban rhythms. But within his poetic, swirling performances, you may encounter whiffs of everyone from Tchaikovsky to Bud Powell to Brian Eno. Sosa and his eclectic group of musicians combine electronic loops, found sound, children’s toys and African and Middle Eastern instruments, all tastefully employed to create a colorful fabric of sound.

Eva Ayllon
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=103169173&ft=1&f=10004

Eva Ayllon performing Toro Mata

Eva Ayllon is sometimes called Peru’s Tina Turner. Her 30-year career has taken her in many musical directions, but she remains best known for her renditions of Afro-Peruvian music. That’s a style that emerged in 1950s Lima, hand in hand with the notion of “black pride.”

Afro-Peruvian music has complex, sensual rhythms. Its instrumentation is spare, originally just nylon-string guitar, bass and a wooden box called cajon. When it started getting outside attention in the mid-’90s, it felt new. The music’s lean architecture and introspective mood differentiated it from the likes of salsa and merengue.

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Ah, one of my fave topics.
The Music Of Africa, By Way Of Latin America By Felix Contreras

Joe Cuba did it with two words: “Bang Bang!” Or maybe he did it with the song’s chorus, which sings the praises of down-home soul food: “corn bread, hog mawl and chiterlin’s.”

Whatever it was, the combination of Afro-Cuban groove and R&B backbeat moved way beyond Joe Cuba’s home turf of El Barrio in Harlem to the rest of the country — and even back to the Caribbean.

It was called boogaloo, and it was an organic, cross-cultural musical reflection on how Afro-Latinos in this country have one foot in both cultures.

In the most simple definition of the term, Afro-Latinos are Dominican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Panamanian, Colombian, Venezuelan; descendants of people who are from anywhere that had Spanish slave owners and African slaves.

For starters, let’s travel down to New Orleans, which many in the 19th century considered the northern-most port of the Caribbean. Can you imagine the rich musical exchanges in those port-side bars among freed slaves, Caribbean sailors and other musical adventurers?

Trumpeter Irvin Mayfield and percussionist Bill Summers did. In fact, in 1998, they formed a band called Los Hombres Calientes to play jazz that reflected possibly the first blast of Afro-Latino culture in this country: a mix of African rhythms, Caribbean instrumentation and New Orleans funk.

For starters, let’s travel down to New Orleans, which many in the 19th century considered the northern-most port of the Caribbean. Can you imagine the rich musical exchanges in those port-side bars among freed slaves, Caribbean sailors and other musical adventurers?

Trumpeter Irvin Mayfield and percussionist Bill Summers did. In fact, in 1998, they formed a band called Los Hombres Calientes to play jazz that reflected possibly the first blast of Afro-Latino culture in this country: a mix of African rhythms, Caribbean instrumentation and New Orleans funk.

The latest expression of Afro-Latino culture is the best-selling song on iTunes this week.

It’s a reggaeton tune called “Virtual Diva,” and it’s by a young Afro-Latino who calls himself Don Omar.

Reggaeton was actually born among Afro-Latinos in Panama, made its way to the streets of San Juan and finally found arguably its most creative expression here in the U.S.

Even if you don’t understand the lyrics, you can hear the influence of hip-hop and rap, which have become the lingua franca of Afro-Latinos, African-Americans and just about anyone under the age of 25 in the rest of the world.

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