When West Africans were enslaved in Latin American countries, they brought with them their musical traditions. Combined with indigenous and Spanish traditions, the beats and rhythms of West Africa gave rise to the forms of music that still bring us to the dance floor today – cumbia, bachata, samba.
“The influence of African music and African traditions and cultures can be found throughout the Americas in all types of music that exist throughout the world,” says the music journalist Sandra Trevino.
Although a handful of Afro-Latino artists have achieved fame over the years, many more have not received their due. But Treviño thinks the tide is turning.
“We recognize their contributions more now because I think Afro-Latino artists in particular embrace their roots, cultures and traditions and combine them with modern sounds. So it’s definitely on the rise.
Treviño gave us some recommendations of Afro-Latino artists you might want to add to your next playlist.
Sandra says: They explore Afro-Caribbean rhythms and traditions such as sacred percussion combined with Carolina’s voice. They call it “tropical futurism”. They have released a new album, it addresses systemic racism, capitalist decadence and the attempted erasure of trans and queer people.
Sandra says: Even though their music is modern, it is influenced by the music created when African slaves were brought to Peru in the early 1500s where they established the African diaspora in South America.
Sandra says: They combine hip hop, reggae, reggaeton, plena and dancehall.
Sandra says: Producer and filmmaker and DJ Jigue is a strong believer in Afro-Cuban rhythms and sounds. He calls himself “guajiro Afro especial” and describes his music as “tropical afrofuturism”.
Sandra says: They create music that focuses on the afro-soul genre known as ‘tambor’ which combines vocals with danceable polyrhythms.