African-Cuban collaborations come alive at Havana Jazz Festival

World Today

Cuba has a long jazz tradition and its annual international Jazz Festival attracts musicians from around the world.

In recent years, many big name U.S. performers have played in Havana, drawing huge crowds. At this year’s festival, though, one of the biggest attractions was a unique Cuban-African collaboration.

CCTV America’s Michael Voss reports.

Roberto Fonseca is a Cuban jazz pianist who first found fame touring the world with the Buena Vista Social Club. Now, he’s made his own mark fusing American jazz with Latin and Afro-Cuban rhythms.

Fatoumata Diawara is a Paris -based African singer from Mali with an international following for her mix of traditional Mali music with jazz, pop and funk. They first teamed- up for a world tour two years ago, but this is the first time, they have brought their unique combination to Cuba.

On the final night of the jazz festival, Fonseca and Diawara are the headline act and they are going to be playing to a packed house.

They’ve already released one live album, now they are trying to find time in their busy separate schedules to get into a recording studio together.