For a long time, electronic music has been understood in terms of sounds rooted in particular places: the styles of house and techno inextricably wedded to Detroit, or the early ‘90s jungle sound which carries echoes of London. But that’s something which is changing – in Latin America more than anywhere else.
A new project, led by Gilles Peterson and rum maker Havana Club (that created the Havana Cultura platform in 2007 to promote the island’s contemporary culture), shines a light on Cuba’s fast-mutating, rhythmically-adventurous underground. It’s a scene where old ideas are transplanted into new contexts, and like-minded scenes are brought together in new dialogues. Havana Cultura: ¡Súbelo, Cuba! showcases an extended network of like-minded, forward-thinking musicians driving Cuba’s music forward. Following repeated trips to connect with venues, collectives and DJs, Peterson and Will LV – one half of LV, who’ve released on Hyperdub and Keysound amongst others – linked up with DJ Jigüe, a much-respected producer and DJ, whose Guampara label has charted new directions for Cuban music. He’s been profiled by The Fader and Vice, and the album features his extended network of collaborators, connecting Afro-Cuban traditions with contemporary movements and ideas.
The album provides a snapshot of a unique club culture that’s fast evolving. On the one hand, it’s indebted to Cuba’s unique characteristics, where regularly-practised traditions are coloured by intermittently-experienced cultures from outside. On the other, it’s part of a global shift toward de-centred club music, with homegrown, influence-grabbing dance cultures tilting attention from club culture’s traditional epicentres. It offers a new side to Havana that’s firmly rooted in its past
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