The African roots of the Americas

There is a lot of ignorance about Afro-Latinos, despite the deep history dating back to the introduction of slavery in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Image: Daniel Valero.

The third edition of the wonderful Afro-Latino Festival was held in New York City between July 10th and July 12th. In its own voice, the festival “… provide(s) a networking space to pay tribute to the African roots of people from Latin America and the Caribbean.”  The festival included concerts from traditional musicians that carry on the legacy of African influence on the music of Latin America, such as the Colombian cumbia band Los Gaiteros de San Jacinto, but also featured shows by artists exploring more contemporary musical directions, such as Cuban rapper Danay Suárez.

It also featured various panels to discuss what exactly means to be Afro-Latino, and how Afro-Latinos are portrayed on their countries’ and in international media.

On the first day of the festival, we met in Madiba, in Harlem, with Mai-Elka Prado, the founder of the festival, and with Amilcar Priestley, its director, to talk about the purpose and the history of this event.

We also met with Los Gaiteros de San Jacinto and asked them about their music and their musical traditions.

We were also very lucky to get a good spot to catch Los Gaiteros’ concert in The Wick, in Buschwick, where we were able to record their performance of their Grammy Latino-winning hit “Un fuego de sangre pura.”

Further Reading

Child of Mau Mau

Ethnicity did not simply disappear in Kenya’s 2022 elections. Instead, it was a crucible where both sides mobilized historical claims and ideas to win supporters, in ways that could, at times, elude the eye.

Reading List: Mutt_Lon

The books that the author, a Cameroonian novelist, has been reading share an ethics of political engagement, a quest for identity and cultural inventory, and an ear for the voices and harmonies of African languages.