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John Santos playing drums

John Santos: The Rhythmic Roots of Afro-Latin Music

Wed, Sep 23, 2020
6:00pm – 8:00pm

San Francisco, CA
(415) 543-1718

Museum of the African Diaspora and Yerba Buena Gardens Festival present

The Rhythmic Roots of Afro-Latin Music with John Santos

A four-week lecture series entitled The Rhythmic Roots of Afro-Latin Music featuring selections of John Santos’s legendary collection of audio and video recordings. Each session will include the social and cultural history of the music and rhythms, as well as a demonstration of the respective rhythms.

Far more than a master percussionist, internationally renowned multi-Grammy nominee, composer, producer, educator and bandleader John Santos, is an invaluable educator and cultural activist. He is a keeper of the Afro-Caribbean flame steeped in Cuban and Puerto Rican folkloric traditions as well as salsa and Latin jazz. A 2012 San Francisco Latino Heritage Arts Awardee, born and raised in San Francisco’s Mission District amidst an extended family of Puerto Rican musicians, he’s been at the center of the Bay Area’s Latin music scene for over forty five years! He served on the Smithsonian Institution’s Latin Jazz Advisory Committee and has played an essential role in expanding Latin jazz’s rhythmic lexicon beyond the foundational Cuban grooves. He has produced a steady stream of critically-acclaimed, peer-respected recordings on his Machete Records label since 1984 and has travelled the world as a teacher and lecturer since the mid-eighties. Known for his innovative use of traditional forms and instruments in combination with contemporary music, John has performed and/or recorded with masters such as Tito Puente, Dizzy Gillespie, Max Roach, Cachao, Eddie Palmieri, James Moody, Omar Sosa, McCoy Tyner, Giovanni Hidalgo, and Bebo Valdés. He is faculty at the California Jazz Conservatory, SF State University, College of San Mateo and Jazz Camp West and is an Advisory Board member of Oaktown Jazz, Living Jazz, and the Afro-Latin Jazz Alliance (NY), and a Trustee of SFJAZZ.


Session Descriptions

Click each session to register for the free online series with MoAD.


Wednesday, September 23 | Cuba Ritmática Part 1
Afro-Cuban Roots

Bembé. Yoruba-derived sacred music.
Palo. Kongo-derived sacred music.
Makuta. Kongo-derived secular music.

Wednesday, September 30 | Cuba Ritmática Part 2
Expresión Criollo

Yambú. One of the original styles of rumba.
Danzón. Creolization of euro-instrumentation.
Son. Seminal root of Cuban popular music.

Wednesday, October 7 | Puerto Rico Ritmático
Afro-Puerto Rican Roots

Bomba. The most African of Puerto Rican genres.
Plena. Creole music of the masses.

Wednesday, October 14 | Brasil Ritmático
Black Brazil Beyond Bossa

Samba. The infectious national art form.
Baiao. Northeastern roots.


MoAD. Museum of the African Diaspora


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