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Eme Alfonso On World Cafe

All month, World Cafe invites listeners to discover the music of Havana, Cuba with the series Sense of Place.

"I always try to find art in everything I do, because I believe in music as a way of life. For me it's like a game, to mix everything I learn with my roots."

Eme Alfonso's roots are with a renowned family of Cuban musicians, at whose urging she began studying music at age 7. Now, she's already been nominated for a Latin Grammy as part of Síntesis, a jazz-fusion and Latin folklore act with whom she's traveled worldwide. Alfonso's 2008 solo debut Señales ("Signs") won the Cubadisco award for best Cuban fusion album. Its follow-up, Eme, explores jazz, funk, R&B and Latin and Cuban soundscapes; the album's compositions hinge on Alfonso's warm and moving vocals.

In today's World Cafe session, recorded in Havana, host David Dye treats listeners to a soulful live performance by Alfonso from the Bertolt Brecht Theater. The young singer then speaks with Dye about her Cubadisco award and the doors it opened to her, her musical influences (jazz, soul and Tears for Fears), and the relationship between Cuba's government and Cuban music and arts.

In the video on this page, watch Alfonso perform "Para Mestizar."

World Cafe's Sense of Place is made possible by a grant from The Wyncote Foundation.

Copyright 2012 WXPN-FM. To see more, visit


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