Beginning in 1990–during the second season of Afropop, when it changed its name to Afropop Worldwide–producer Ned Sublette began working with the show by producing the first of a groundbreaking multiyear series of programs based on his fieldwork in Cuba, generically titled The Cuban Connection.
Travel to Cuba from the U.S. was very heavily restricted in 1990, and there was very little musical communication between the two places, so these programs gave many American listeners their first taste, with interviews, premieres and lots of excellent music. As the Havana music scene developed in the ‘90s, Afropop Worldwide, hosted by the one and only Georges Collinet, brought listeners the latest hits, most of them otherwise unobtainable in the States, as well as folkloric and traditional music, trova, jazz, rock, Cuban oldies, and more. And we traveled to Matanzas, Cienfuegos, Santiago de Cuba, Guantánamo, Holguin, and many other destinations.
Click here to listen to the entire "Cuban Connection" program series.
Photo Credit: René Silveira