Latin Roots

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Latin Roots #15: Catalina Maria Johnson on Rumba - July 26, 2012

This fifteenth installment of World Cafe's Latin Roots music series is hosted by Chicago-based journalist Catalina Maria Johnson. She writes in Spanish and English for publications such as HOY, Revista Contratiempo, Gozamos and Nat Geo Music. and is a regular radio personality and hosts/producer for the radio program Beat Latino, which airs in Chicago, Mexico City and Berlin.

In the late 19th century, Rumba started to emerge in the port city of Matanzas, an hour east of Havana. Rumba is more than just a style of music. It is a unique cultural blend of ryhtym, dance, and poetry. Cuban rumba begins with a chant upon which different elements are added. It is an important part of Afro-Cuban culture, and in its earliest forms served as a form of personal entertainment - the style was played in backyards or on the streets with family and friends - and often times an outlet for protest. The music is held together by a clave beat and melds congolese drumming with traditional call-and-response in either flamenco or Moorish styles. Cuban Rumba laid the foundation for many other distinct styles of Latin music and informs modern Latin hip-hop and salsa. Las Krudas are an Austin-based hip-hop act that incorporate many cuban rumba elements.
  • Listen to the Show:
    Listen to the session at NPR.org/music.
  • Show Tracks:
    • Muñequitos de Matanzas / D'Palo pa Rumba / D' palo pa rumba
    • Pedro Martinez Group / Que Palo / From ?
    • Las Krudas / Vamo a vence' / Hip Hop Cubano CD2
  • Listen to the Playlist:
  • Playlist Tracks:
    • Toca la Clave by Kevin A. Davis from Rumba With Soul
    • Toca con clave by Los Papines from Los Papines siguen
    • Nadie Se Salva De La Rumba by Celia Cruz from Greatest Hits
    • D' palo pa rumba by Munequitos de Matanazas from D' palo pa rumba
    • Not Fade Away by Ned Sublette from Cowboy Rumba
    • A La Rumba by Jane Bunnett from Cuban Odyssey
    • De La Rumba Al Cha-Cha-Cha by X Alfonso from Homenaje
    • Superfinos Negros by Freehole Negro from Superfinos Negro
    • Vamo a vence' by Las Krudas from Hip-Hop Cubano CD


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

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