Afro Cuban All Stars

Tuesday, February 17

Whenever musicologists study the colorful sounds of the Cuban diaspora, it’s nearly impossible for them not to mention the modern day contributions of composer Juan de Marcos and his Afro-Cuban All-Stars. The revolving group of musicians first made their mark on American audiences in 1994, at a time when long overdue praise was getting showered upon Cuba’s slightly more popular group, the Buena Vista Social Club. That band, which, included Ibrahim Ferrer, Omara Portuondo, and a host of other salsa and son legends, was actually being led by de Marcos, not Ferrer, when traveling producer, Ry Cooder, showed up in Havana to cut a record. After an eponymous album was released and a subsequent documentary about the BVSC took the group’s fame to an all time high, de Marcos utilized the exposure for his own Afro-Cuban All-Star project. (There’s always been overlap between the two salsa groups, rhythmically and personnel-wise). Although the All-Stars spent close to a decade touring the globe promoting the sweaty Latin dance music that used to entertain rebels like Fidel Castro and Che Guevara, after a national security freeze in 2001, they found it hard to obtain American visas. Their U.S. touring stopped completely in 2003 and it’s only now that all of the band members have intentionally gained citizenship in other countries that they can tour gringolandia once again. You’ll have to head to Tacoma to see the show, but if you dig authentic Latin sounds, there’s no other place you’d rather be on a Tuesday night.

Tue., Feb. 17, 7:30 p.m., 2009

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