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On 'Caliente,' New Orleans And Havana's Shared Love Of Music Is Joyfully Celebrated

For four days in January, Getting Funky In Havana — the title of a musical exchange between Cuba's Cimafunk and the New Orleans groups Tank and the Bangas and The Soul Rebels — explored and celebrated the shared musical roots of the artists' hometowns. The musical ties between Havana and New Orleans go back hundreds of years, which Alt.Latino previously documented in our coverage of the project. But now, this historical connection has been brought into the 21st century in a new single featuring all three groups.

"Caliente" is a mashup of Cuban son along with a taste of New Orleans' second-line grooves and fiery horns. The song perfectly captures the excitement of musicians discovering a common musical lineage, lead by Cimafunk and his band laying down a clave-inspired funk groove against the backdrop of The Soul Rebels' wall-of-sound horn section. In a video for the song, which you can see above, watch as the groups' recent exchange results in a massive second line parade through a centuries-old section of Havana.

It's a beautiful illustration of how much the two cities have in common, from their shared connection to Africa to the unabashed joy that music inspires in both places.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Felix Contreras is co-creator and host of Alt.Latino, NPR's pioneering radio show and podcast celebrating Latin music and culture since 2010.
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