Friday, November 27, 2009

Spinning with the new sounds of Havana

London, England (CNN) -- "It's soul, man!" pronounces Gilles Peterson, his face lighting up as he takes a sip into his chilled mojito. "Cuban music is from the heart, it's free, there are less rules somehow," the DJ extraordinaire tells CNN about the endless energy of the island's music.

It's been 13 years since Ry Cooder and a group of outstanding elderly musicians took the world by storm with "Buena Vista Social Club," a global album hit which helped put Cuba on the world music scene.

Now, stepping from the shadow of Buena Vista, a generation of ambitious young Cubans is daringly crossing diverse musical territories, creating a fresh sound which fuses traditional Latin rhythms with hip hop and funk grooves.

"Some years ago a few American rappers like Talib Kweli, Erykah Badu and the Roots went to Cuba and sowed the seeds for the underground hip hop scene and now it's alive," says Peterson, whose latest project showcases Cuba's contemporary musical effervescence -- from latin, afro jazz and fusion to hip hop, funk, reggaeton and pop.

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