Travel

AfroLatin@ Travel Blazes a New Trail Curating Trips to Explore Latin America’s African Roots

Collective AfroLatin@ Travel strives to help travelers explore hidden African gems in Latin America and the Caribbean.

If you’ve ever ventured to Latin America and found yourself at a loss for how to discover African history while there, there’s now a travel collective ready to guide you.


AfroLatin@ Travel isn’t a conventional travel agency—there’s no booking of flights and Airbnb pads or promoting of travel glitches. Instead, the group curates trips to Latin America, which has 150 million Afro-Latin@s comprising more than one-third of its population, according to its site, and the Caribbean. It bills itself as, “the premier travel and culture resource of the African diaspora in the Americas.”

For Memorial Day weekend, the globetrotting club—founded by travel junkies Dash Harris, Lamar Bailey, Javier Wallace, Mark Armand Promax, and Gabriela Watson Arauz—led a group of tourists on a six-day adventure trip in Cuba.

“Cuba is not African-influenced. Its core root is Africa,” Harris, who is Panamanian-American and has traveled there four times already, told USA TODAY. “I was absolutely floored by how the African and Afro-descendant connections have held so strongly in day-to-day life.”

And that’s exactly the understanding AfroLatin@ Travel seeks to impart to fellow explorers with recommendations such as Callejo de Hamel, Havana’s Afro-Cuban center, or museum Asociación Cultural Yoruba de Cuba  where visitors can learn about the Santería religion, which has ties to Yoruba mythology.

Partnering with travel groups like Miss Rizos in the Dominican Republic, Proyecto Iwa Pele in Peru and DIAFAR in Argentina, AfroLatin@ Travel can suggest African-rooted sightseeing in locales: Mexico, Brazil, Panama and Colombia.

The collective has a busy summer ahead with trips planned to Veracruz and Guerrero, Mexico as well as Panama and Colombia’s Black Coast and then to Cuba, again.

Visit AfroLatin@ Travel’s site, and check out colorful photos from the travel collective's Cuba trip:

?La pollera Congo?? @frenchieglobal #panama #afropanama #afrolatinotravel

A photo posted by @afrolatinotravel on

Cuba #AfroCuba #Tobaco #AfroLatinoTravel

A photo posted by @afrolatinotravel on

Reinas! ? @afropanama #panama #afropanama #afrolatinotravel

A photo posted by @afrolatinotravel on

Cruising in El Vedado #cuba #havana #afrocuba #afrolatinotravel

A photo posted by @afrolatinotravel on

h/t Remezcla

Music

6 Samples From 'Éthiopiques' in Hip-Hop

A brief history of Ethio-jazz cultural exchange featuring songs by Nas & Damian Marley, K'naan, Madlib and more.

This article was originally published on OkayAfrica in March, 2017. We're republishing it here for our Crossroads series.

It's 2000 something. I'm holed up in my bedroom searching for samples to chop up on Fruity Loops. While deep into the free-market jungle of Amazon's suggested music section, I stumble across a compilation of Ethiopian music with faded pictures of nine guys jamming in white suit jackets. I press play on the 30 second sample.

My mind races with the opportunities these breakbeats offered a budding beat maker. Catchy organs, swinging horns, funky guitar riffs, soulful melodies and grainy and pained vocalists swoon over love lost and gained. Sung in my mother tongue—Amharic—this was a far cry from the corny synthesizer music of the 1990s that my parents played on Saturday mornings. I could actually sample this shit.

The next day, I burn a CD and pop it into my dad's car. His eyes light up when the first notes ooze out of the speakers. “Where did you get this?" He asks puzzlingly. “The internet," I respond smiling.

In the 1970s my dad was one of thousands of high school students in Addis Ababa protesting the monarchy. The protests eventually created instability which lead to a coup d'état. The monarchy was overthrown and a Marxist styled military junta composed of low ranking officers called the Derg came to power. The new regime subsequently banned music they deemed to be counter revolutionary. When the Derg came into power, Amha Eshete, a pioneering record producer and founder of Ahma Records, fled to the US and the master recordings of his label's tracks somehow ended up in a warehouse in Greece.

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