Artist Profiles: Vocal Baobab

Havana-based folklore group Vocal Baobab, taking their name from the Baobab, sacred tree of Africa, are known for their own highly individual take on Afro-Cuban chants and rumba.

Specializing in choral style arrangements, spiced up with the odd dash of more contemporary flavors such as reggae, their high energy performances are characterized by explosions of virtuoso dance, drumming and vocal improvisation.

Singing in Spanish and Yoruban, the seven performers of Vocal Baobab present a varied repertoire that connects their African roots with contemporary arrangements and rhythms, bringing out the afro in Afro-Cuban. Their work aims to preserve the spirit of the Yoruba and Afro-Cuban oral traditions.

With regular appearances at some of Havana’s most prestigious venues and at festivals all over the island, they were featured on Cuban television as one of the top folklore acts.

As well as attracting the commendation of esteemed authorities on Cuban culture throughout their career (Ros, Natalia Bolivar, Zenaida Armenteros, Corina Campos and Miguel Barnet) they have received accolades and played alongside luminaries in Cuban music such as Changuito, Compay Segundo and Mario Rivera (Mayito) of Los Van Van.

Author: Angel Romero

Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music music for many years. He founded the websites worldmusiccentral.org and musicasdelmundo.com. Angel produced several TV specials for Metropolis (TVE) and co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for Televisión Española (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World.

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