Despite ongoing tensions between the U.S. and Cuba, the music of Cimafunk reaches out and connects the sounds of Africa and Cuba with the rhythms of black America. Cimafunk performs Thursday in Hartford.
Singer, composer and producer Erik Iglesias Rodriguez, a.k.a. Cimafunk, has been called "Cuba's revelation of the year" by Billboard Magazine.
Connecticut Public Radio's Diane Orson reached him by phone in Cuba earlier this week. Here are a few highlights of their conversation:
On the origin of the name Cimafunk
‘Cima’ came from ‘Cimarron.’ I think that in English they’re called ‘maroons’ – slaves that lived in the forest. They created their own freedom system, a huge community of black people hiding from the Spanish colonists.
And I believe that the Cimarrons in Cuba have a lot of the Afro-Cuban sound. And I really identify with ‘funk’ because of the music, but it is talking about the blackness – black groove.
On his lyrics that are sung in the Spanish of Cuba’s streets
Yeah, it’s talking about the relationships between the people. Mostly, it’s about sex, food and know yourself. Love yourself.
On sharing his music on the island
Here in Cuba, it’s mostly you pass the music by hand. We have been without internet for many years…now that we have internet, it’s better. But before that, every time that someone came to my house they have a new selection.
It’s cool because at the end, every playlist that I have in the house is a selection from someone.