¡Cubanismo!, Ricardo Lemvo & Makina Loca

Led by trumpeter Jesús Alémañy, the sizzling dance band ¡CUBANISMO! approaches Cuban music with both a reverence for tradition and an outward-reaching flare, punctuating every performance with a “rhythmic kick and a sense of adventure.” (AllMusic) The group’s founding was fortuitous timing: Alémañy, a prodigy who attended Havana’s Conservatorio Amadeo Roldan and joined the great son group Sierra Maestra at 15, had moved to London where he connected with the British producer and founder of Hannibal Records Joe Boyd. With Boyd’s encouragement, Alémañy returned to Havana to organize an all-star jam session to be recorded; the result was the 1996 self-titled debut, an extraordinary album that caught the collective imagination at a moment when Cuban music was finding a new level of global popularity. Through multiple world tours, lineup changes, and subsequent records, ¡Cubanismo!  has remained one of the most popular and exciting standard bearers of their country’s music–“a modern, younger Buena Vista Social Club.” (AllMusic)

Born in Congo of Angolan descent and now based in Los Angeles, the singer and bandleaderRICARDO LEMVO and his sensational band MAKINA LOCA play a fiery concoction of soukous, kizomba, samba, and salsa “a blend of Cuban and Central African traditions that is seamless and organic—and infectious.” (LA Times)