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Clave y Guaguanco: Conjunto Clave y Guaguanco

Cuban musical heat and heritage are deeply embedded in the starkly engaging, propulsive album Conjunto Clave y Guaguanco (Tiptoe 888829; 49:56). Clave y Guaguanco is a 50-year-old group, with shifting personnel and a fixed ambition: to give form to the native music of the Afro-Cuban experience. Directed by Amada de Jesus Dedeu Hernandez, the group represented here is a dozen strong, with interlocking percussionists providing more than just rhythmic support for sweet, ceremonial call-and-response vocals. The collective effect of meshing parts is the point, not the individual input. Altogether, it’s a fascinating sound from the heart of one of the world’s pivotal musical crossroads.

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