NPR : World Cafe

Latin Roots: The Sound Of Africa In Cuba

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In this installment of World Cafe's Latin Roots series, Carlos Alfonso, one of the vocalists and principal songwriters of the Cuban progressive-rock band Síntesis, talks with host David Dye about the relationships connecting Cuban music, Yoruba music from Nigeria and Arara music out of Benin.

Síntesis is cited as Cuba's first progressive-rock band. The band pulls influences from groups such as Genesis, Pink Floyd and Yes, as well as Cuban trova, which combine for an interesting mix. The group's lineup has evolved throughout its 37-year career; the present-day version includes Carlos Alfonso, his wife Ele Valdés and their daughter Eme Alfonso, among others. Síntesis blends progressive rock with Afro-Cuban Santeria ritual music and jazz fusion.

Listen to Carlos Alfonso's essential Afro-Cuban playlist on Spotify.

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