Caribbean music beats to a different drum

More than 300 years ago black slaves were sent to Cuba, and from there they began to make music that people can still hear on radio stations today. When the slaves arrived in Cuba they began to make percussion instruments and developed a sound now prevalent in Latin American and Caribbean music.

Luis Benetti, an Afro-Caribbean percussionist from Puerto Rico, is familiar with the history and styles of Latin music. Benetti has designed several workshops on the various styles of music he plays such as Latin jazz and Afro-Cuban, to demonstrate the use of the instruments.

Today, Benetti will bring his demonstration to USF, along with a lecture about the history of Afro-Caribbean and Latin music in the Fine Arts Hall, room 102 at 5 p.m.

Diana Cooke, publicist for the School of Music, said many people don’t know how Latin music is influenced from African roots.

“The sound has changed. Some think it is just Latin, but its roots are from Africa,” Cooke said. “The sound with the horns is Latin, but the percussion is really from Africa from how it blended together when the cultures mingled.”

Cooke said there was a crossover when the slaves were brought to Cuba. The African and Latin American culture blended during slavery, forming a new culture through marriage.

“The music is a product of all those years blended together,” Cooke said. “How the intermingling of music started it.”

Cooke said the lecture demonstration will give students the opportunity to learn about the history behind the music.

“It’s a good way for students of this community to get to know the Latin American and African American cultures,” Cooke said.

Maura Barrios, assistant director for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, said she is expecting people from outside the USF community to attend the lecture as well.

Barrios said individuals who are percussionists or interested in Cuba and Puerto Rico are expected to attend so they can benefit from the workshop.

Barrios said the lecture will fit their interest because it is a rare opportunity, and Benetti will be explaining each instrument and its contribution to history.

“There are a lot of people who are interested in attending,” Barrios said. “And we rarely get a Latin American or Caribbean workshop.”

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