Anga Diaz - Artist Page
Anga Diaz
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Biography:
 

Widely considered to be the best conga player in the world, this Cuban percussionist was known for his explosive soloing and his inventive and melodic style. He toured and recorded alongside such musicians as Irakere, The Afro-Cuban All Stars, Steve Coleman, Ruben Gonzalez and Tito Puente.

Miguel 'Anga' Diaz has navigated a broad spectrum of music in his distinguished career as a percussionist, from studying with traditional rumba players as a boy in Pinar del Rio, Cuba, to co-founding the Cuban group Irakere, then returning to his roots with the Afro Cuban All Stars, the late pianist Rubén González, and the late singer-bandleader Ibrahím Ferrer, on Ferrer's Grammy-winning final recording, Buenos Hermanos.

Anga has also forged experimental collaborations with guitarists Ry Cooder and Manuel Galban, bassist Cachaito Lopez and the American jazz innovators Steve Coleman and Roy Hargrove. World Circuit released his debut as a bandleader and solo artist, Echu Mingua, in 2006.

Echu Mingua ranges from spontaneously improvised compositions to interpretations of jazz classics including John Coltrane's "A Love Supreme" and Thelonious Monk's "Round Midnight." Anga is joined by a core group of musicians on Echu Mingua, including Orlando 'Cachaito' Lopez, Anga's favorite bass player, with whom he collaborated closely on the experimental Cachaito album (World Circuit/Nonesuch Records, 2001). Also featured are the Malian singer, n'goni player and percussionist Baba Sissoko Sissoko, who has worked with artists ranging from the Art Ensemble of Chicago to Sting and the Malian kora master, Toumani Diabate; the French hip-hop pioneer and host of the influential Radio Nova, DJ Dee Nasty; and flautist Magic Malik, a fellow Paris-dwelling avant-gardist.

Echu Mingua reunites Anga with the Cuban super group Irakere and features a lineup of Cuba's great pianists: Irakere co-founder Chucho Valdés, Ibrahím Ferrer's acclaimed young pianist Roberto Fonseca, David Alfaro of Afro Cuban All Stars, and Rubén González, in his final recording.

In addition to conceiving and the project, Anga plays his signature setup of five differently tuned congas throughout Echu Mingua, sometimes adding one or two additional drums. Anga likens Echu Mingua to "a musical religious service" and explains the album's significance this way: " Echu Mingua is my saint's name in the Yoruba religion. The 'Echu' is Eleggua, the God of crossroads, and the owner of all roads in the world. I wanted to use this title because this album is the realization of all the ideas that I've gathered over the years."

Anga Diaz died August 9, 2006.

Discography:

Echu Mingua (Nonesuch, 2006)

Videos:

Anga Mania! (MusicinMotionFilms.com, 2007)


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