Musicians in New Orleans and Cuba discover their shared heritage and equivalent sounds : NPR


Musicians in New Orleans and Cuba are exploring their shared heritage and equivalent sounds. Highschool musicians from New Orleans are discovering commonplace flooring with scholars at a Havana conservatory.


Musicians from New Orleans and Cuba are exploring new collaborations that spotlight equivalent seems like this new music from the New Orleans funk band Galactic and Cuban singer Cimafunk.


CIMAFUNK: (Making a song in non-English language).

KELLY: On a contemporary cultural change to Havana, highschool musicians from each puts found out commonplace flooring, and NPR’s Debbie Elliott adopted alongside.

DEBBIE ELLIOTT, BYLINE: It’s kind of chaotic within the band room of the Guillermo Tomas track faculty at the outskirts of Havana. Rankings of younger gamers music up their tools and get in a position to be told some new track.


ELLIOTT: Troy Andrews, aka Trombone Shorty, the New Orleans musician, sits at the entrance row to absorb the efficiency.

TROY ANDREWS: They are saying – do you discuss Spanish? I say, I’m from the Treme, so I discuss Tremish (ph).

ELLIOTT: Andrews, who grew up within the ancient Treme group, is right here for a cultural change subsidized partially via his Trombone Shorty Basis, a program that nurtures budding, younger artists in his place of birth. 8 of them are in this travel, and they are spending the day at this conservatory with Cuban scholars who’ve ready a distinct music.


ELLIOTT: Andrews is moved to listen to them play one thing that he is recorded – the well-known Louis Armstrong music, “St. James Infirmary.”


ELLIOTT: Troy Andrews first got here to Cuba as a tender youngster on a equivalent cultural change travel.

ANDREWS: I by no means forgot it, and that genre of track has all the time stayed with me as a result of I believe like New Orleans and Havana are like sisters and brothers, you already know? The soul, the resilience of the folks right here is nearly similar to what we revel in in New Orleans. In order that’s why after I come right here, I do not really feel like I am in a international position.

ELLIOTT: He feels the ones connections within the meals, the structure and in the best way you could listen exuberant track taking part in within the streets. Now he desires those younger musicians to pick out up on that. They begin to in a free-for-all, binational jam consultation. What began as a New Orleans-style, brass band second-line music morphed into one thing with Latin aptitude.

ANDREWS: And so we were given (vocalizing) ba bum, boo ba dun dun dun da duh (ph).

And that is the reason New Orleans. After which you can cross like (vocalizing) ba-nuh, ba-nuh, bump bump, ba-nuh ba-duh (ph).

So you were given the (vocalizing).

There used to be no phrases exchanged. It used to be all track, so there used to be only one notice that made it really feel very other, very salsa-like as a substitute of moment line. And now it is going to be ingrained in our head that we will be able to make a association based totally off of the best way they performed and produce it again to New Orleans, after which that can create an entire nother factor.


ELLIOTT: The scholars are into it, leaning in with their trumpets and clarinets, every appearing the opposite one thing new but acquainted.

YORDI SANTIAGO-CORTEZ: Simply someday of me being right here – I have noticed such a lot that I have by no means heard.

ELLIOTT: Yordi Santiago-Cortez, a clarinet participant and highschool senior from Kenner, L. a.., says he feels an emotional pull. So does John Rhodes, a 16-year-old drummer from New Orleans. He says their sounds actually meshed.

JOHN RHODES: The Latin groove and the massive 4 out of brass band moment line – all of it coincides in relation to us taking part in in combination – simply the track tradition, ‘purpose they, like – regardless of the place we come from, it doesn’t matter what language you discuss, it doesn’t matter what race, it like – track is only a common language.

ELLIOTT: Those scholars percentage greater than only a love for track, says Lilian Lombera Herrera, a cultural manufacturer with Horns to Havana, one of the crucial teams concerned on this cultural change. She’s Cuban however now lives in New Orleans.

LILIAN LOMBERA HERRERA: All of that is a part of our identical ancestors.

ELLIOTT: Other folks of West African descent introduced right here right through the Atlantic slave industry.

LOMBERA HERRERA: One of the Latin tinge that they mentioned in regards to the taste of the second one traces and of the track come from the Caribbean, and it is a indisputable fact that it used to be a large migration from Haiti that got here thru Cuba and endured to New Orleans.

ELLIOTT: The ones Afro-Cuban roots are what Erik Alejandro Iglesias Rodriguez is all about.

CIMAFUNK: I am Cimafunk. I am a Cuban artist, and I make Afro-Cuban track.

ELLIOTT: The title Cimafunk is a nod to his heritage. Cimarrons had been African captives who escaped slavery. For a number of years, he is been spending time in New Orleans taking part with artists there, together with Tank and the Bangas, the Soul Rebels, and now Trombone Shorty.

CIMAFUNK: You’re feeling that more or less loopy vibe round, and it is the identical in New Orleans. On the identical time, all of the issues and all of the eventualities – the industrial, social, the whole thing – however you’re feeling that the folks stay the soul.

ELLIOTT: The commercial state of affairs in Cuba is dire, with shortages of meals and gasoline and gear blackouts. File numbers of migrants are fleeing the communist-controlled island. The disaster is a fruits of a number of issues, together with the pandemic, U.S. sanctions and a decent grip at the financial system via the one-party executive that hasn’t adopted thru on promised financial reforms. Frustrations boiled up in side road demonstrations closing yr that had been met with a serious executive crackdown. New, harsher controls on freedom of expression had been installed position. Some artists had been jailed, and others had been pressured into exile. Cimafunk says the crackdown is flawed, however he does not assume fleeing Cuba is the solution. He is hopeful exchanges like this one can open up chance.

CIMAFUNK: The entire political scenes and all of the governmental scenes – it is all the time onerous to discuss that with out harm or with out being in a single or different aspect. This interchange – other people arriving right here, taking part in for the folks, taking part with younger musicians, going to the varsity to peer the youngsters – that is just right.


ELLIOTT: Again at Guillermo Tomas faculty, the scholars are operating on songs they are going to carry out in combination as the outlet act for a Trombone Shorty live performance in Havana. Fourteen-year-old Juan Licor Doreste has a large grin as he weaves across the different musicians, snapping his arms with the beat, a seeming bandleader within the making.

JUAN LICOR DORESTE: I play trumpet.


ELLIOTT: With the assistance of excursion information Frank Gonzales, Juan describes this revel in.

LICOR DORESTE: (Thru interpreter) Having the risk of, you already know, exchanging with musicians from New Orleans…

FRANK GONZALES: He is a jazz lover, so believe.

LICOR DORESTE: (Thru interpreter) …And with the ability to do that jam consultation with them has been wonderful.

ELLIOTT: Juan is one in every of a number of Cuban scholars to get new tools from this contingent from the USA, which integrated vacationers who paid to come back see live shows placed on via each Cuban and New Orleans bands. Juan goals of at some point having his personal jazz band.

LICOR DORESTE: (Talking Spanish).

GONZALES: Oh, there you cross. He wish to be a long run Wynton Marsalis.

ELLIOTT: And in all probability someday be a headliner in New Orleans.

Debbie Elliott, NPR Information, Havana.

Copyright © 2023 NPR. All rights reserved. Talk over with our site phrases of use and permissions pages at for additional knowledge.

NPR transcripts are created on a hurry time limit via an NPR contractor. This newsletter might not be in its ultimate shape and is also up to date or revised at some point. Accuracy and availability would possibly range. The authoritative file of NPR’s programming is the audio file.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Share post:


More like this