Latin Roots

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Latin Roots #3 - The Backbone of Latin Music, Clave - February 9, 2012

This session of Latin Roots is devoted to all things "clave." Music journalist Tom Moon sat down with our host, David Dye, to discuss the history of clave in Latin Music. Clave, which means code or key, functions as such rhythmically. Tom Moon explains how clave was introduced to Cuba and how it played into different trends and movements within Cuban music. Moon walks us through the Cuban standard, "Bruca Manigua," and the unexpected return to clave in Luis Enrique's "Yo No Se Manana." He also discusses how clave has been incorporated into music outside of the Latin world- from Johnny Otis to Bruce Springsteen.

Tom Moon began his career in music studying professional saxophone at University of Miami's School of Music. He played in back-up bands, orchestras and even cruises, but found himself drawn to the world of music journalism when he started to freelance write for the Miami Herald. Moon went on to write for GQ, Rolling Stone, Vibe and NPR, including All Things Considered and World Cafe. Moon has won multiple awards for his work in music journalism, including a "Heroes" award from the Recording Academy. He has also published a book, "1,000 Recordings to Hear Before You Die." "1,000 Recordings" is, as Moon puts it, "an exploration" into music from all over the world, including, of course, instances of clave.

  • Listen to the Show:
    Listen to the session on WorldCafe.NPR.org
  • Show Tracks:
    • Orquesta Casino De La Playa, "Bruca Manigua"
    • Luis Enrique, "Yo No Se MaƱana"
    • Johnny Otis, "Willie and the Hand Jive"
    • Bruce Springsteen, "She's the One"
  • Listen to the Playlist:


Latin Roots is made possible by a grant from the Wyncote Foundation.

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