Liberation of the Drum (1937-1945)

Spotlights a crucial period in the formation of modern Cuban music. During this time the conga drum – which had previously been prohibited in public places where whites went – took its place in the popular Cuban dance band. It was the era that saw the emergence of Miguelito Valdés, possibly the most important Cuban vocalist of the century; Arsenio Rodríguez, the great Congo-descended innovator; and Arcaño y Sus Maravillas, with Cachao on bass, who began to play ritmo nuevo – new rhythm – and invented something they called “mambo”. With guest co-hosting and produced by Ned Sublette, author of the critically acclaimed Cuba and Its Music: From the First Drums to the Mambo, with the participation of experts in the field, as part of Afropop Worldwide’s “Hip Deep” series.