Arts, Culture & Media

'Viva Africando' is a love letter from West Africa to Latin salsa

Africando.jpg

"Viva Africando" CD Cover.

I'm excited about a new tropical Latin record called "Viva Africando." It was the brainchild of Malian arranger and music director Boncana Maïga.

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The band actually started 20 years ago and this is its eighth album. 

One of the things I love about "Viva Africando" is all the singers from different West African countries. For example, there's veteran Senegalese singer Medoune Diallo and Gnonnas Pedro from Benin. They bring a whole new energy to this music. 

Here's a bit of background: the West African love affair with Cuban and Latin music started in the early 1950s. That's when a boatload of 78 rpm records got dropped off in port cities. 

The West Africans went crazy for it. They heard something familiar in it, but the music was like a new and improved version of what they knew.

I can't say enough good things about "Viva Africando." It's truly a love letter to Puerto Rico and Cuba from all these great West African
and Caribbean musicians.