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The Sounds Of Cuba, In Exile And At Home

Pianist Chucho Valdes, founding member of the Cuban band Irakere, poses before a concert in Madrid in 2005.
Pierre-Philippe Marcou
/
AFP/Getty Images
Pianist Chucho Valdes, founding member of the Cuban band Irakere, poses before a concert in Madrid in 2005.

Cuba is back in the news this week with the death of Fidel Castro, the leader of the island nation's government for almost 60 years. All eyes have been on southern Florida as the Cuban-American community there celebrates closure for a disruption to their lives that started after Castro took power in 1959.

However, the fact that Castro was also heralded on the island and in other parts of the world illustrates a divide that dominates not only Cuba's politics, but also its music.

This week, Beat Latino's Catalina Maria Johnson joins Alt.Latino to help us take a closer listen to both musicians who stayed in Cuba and those who left — and how both realities, residency versus exile, are reflected in their music.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Felix Contreras is co-creator and host of Alt.Latino, NPR's pioneering radio show and podcast celebrating Latin music and culture since 2010.
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