In January, March, and November of 2016, musician, musicologist, and author of “Cuba and its Music” Ned Sublette took groups to Cuba for intensive ten day in depth music tours.
It was billed as a road trip to sacred spaces in Western Cuba.
Attendees included musicians, producers, musicologists, scholars and others interested in Cuba’s culture, music and history.
I was on the March 2016 trip.
It’s possible that someone could have arranged an equivalent trip, but I don’t know how.
Drawing on his own three decades plus of experience and study in Cuba and working in collaboration with the Cuban music wizard-goddess Cary Diez, Ned arranged at least two different performances for us every day – in Havana, in Matanzas and many places west.
For those who didn’t make one of the trips, Ned’s produced a program with highlights for his long term colleagues at Afropop Worldwide.
The program features Congo, Abakuá, Yoruba, and Arará music of Cuba, as well as rumba, recorded live by Los Güiros de San Cristóbal (Regla); Ta Makuende Yaya (Quiebra Hacha); Grupo Tambores Yuka (Viñales); Afro Cuba de Matanzas, Los Muñequitos de Matanzas, and Rumba Timba (Matanzas); Omo Layé and Iyawaré Ochún (Colón); and Ojundegara (Jovellanos).
Amazingly, what appears in this hour long program is only the tip of the iceberg.
For example, there’s no mention of our visits to smoking hot jazz clubs or the magical evening we spent with the danzon orchestra El Piquete Tipico Cubano.
You’d be hard pressed to find all this music in the bin of even the most enlightened record shop in the U.S. or Cuba, let alone hear it live in the intimate settings Ned arranged.
If you’re interested in Cuba and its music and want to learn more, consider signing up for my low volume list (no more than one email per week) of educational emails.
Each one comes with a little (but sometimes a lot) of commentary and a lot of great music.
– Ken McCarthy
Jazz on the Tube
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