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Editors’ Notes

When Ry Cooder and producer Nick Gold were putting together the sessions that would become the highly successful Buena Vista Social Club album the plan was to include master musicians from Mali. But due to various problems the Malians were unable to reach Cuba to record. This original vision has finally been realized with AfroCubism. Cuban guitarist and singer Eliades Ochoa and his band are joined by a Malian crew of virtuosi that includes Toumani Diabaté on kora, Bassekou Kouyate on ngoni, singer Kassé Mady Diabaté, and legendary Super Rail Band guitarist Djelimady Tounkara, among others. The result is an extraordinarily rich and rewarding album filled with countless pleasures. West African and Cuban music has long been intertwined and it is thrilling to hear how naturally and beautifully the traditional African instruments blend with Cuban rhythms and guitar styles. Whether performing a Cuban or African song the musicians play off of each other with passion and grace, as they improvise licks and elaborate melody lines. AfroCubism was worth the wait.

Customer Reviews


Two of the world's greatest musical cultures--that of Cuba and of Mali--converge in a masterful, marvelous and moving outing. A must have and 2010 highlight!

A follow up on Buena Vista Social Club

I heard about this album on NPR yesterday. Surprised to learn that the Buena Vista Social Club was more or less an accidental happening when the Mali musician couldn't get visa's to Cuba. Cuban music, back in the days, was popular in Africa. The main idea for this album was to blend a recording of Cuban and Mali musicians together. Now it has finally happen 16 years after Buena Vista. I was very curious about this album after hearing it on NPR. Is this album better than the Buena Vista Social Club? I am going to say as good. Definitely more exotic than Buena Vista Social Club. The arrangements are more complicated yet the sound is more folk which makes for a very fascinating listening experience. There are more string arrangements. I am not too familiar with African string instruments but some of the songs has an instrument that sounds like the kora, a harp like instrument, that has a very beautiful sound. If you enjoy music from Africa, Cuban music or music of the African diaspora you will definitely enjoy this album.


Love it! I don't understand the words but the melodies are wonderful and the complexity of the music is fascinating. I have been a Putumayo fan for years and love hearing music generated in other cultures. This album offers great listening pleasure and makes you want to dance.


Genre: World

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Afrocubism is a collective of Cuban and Malian musicians brought together by World Circuit Records producer Nick Gold. Gold's original idea in the 1990s was to enlist Cuban musicians, Ry Cooder, Malian ngoni master Bassekou Kouyate, and electric guitarist Djelimady Tounkara. Due to visa snafus, that recording session never happened; the Cubans and Cooder recorded and the end result was the now legendary Buena Vista Social Club album. Though it took over a decade, Gold persisted in pursuit of his...
Full Bio
AfroCubism, AfroCubism
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Customer Ratings