AFROCUBISM by various artists (World Circuit/Nonesuch)
Afrocubism is the makeup session for a missed date: The Cuban and Malian musicians on the album were supposed to have played on the 1996 recordings that became the best-selling Buena Vista Social Club. Visa problems kept the Malians home, that album made history, and now the players have reconvened for a project that explores their countries’ musical and cultural links. Hearing Cuban styles like son and rumba swept along by gourd drums and thumb pianos is a mellow joy.
This article first appeared in the March-April 2011 issue of Utne Reader.