A wonderful series of West African reissue compilations have recently been released: Afro-Latin Via Dakar (Senegal), Kinshasha (Congo), Conakry (La Guinée), and most recently, Via Cotonou (Benin, formerlyDahomey). All cd’s show the pervasive infatuation newly-independent West African nations had for Cuban music during the 1960s: not only did the African musicians and bands recognize the African elements in Cuban music, but they loved the innovations and freshness of the Cuban style as well as the socio-political inspiration the Cuban revolution of 1959 gave them. Cuba was not only a musical model but also inspiring on all fronts.
I’m to do a piece on the excellent program, PRI’s The World tomorrow. It will be on Afro-Latin via Cotonou. Read More →