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City of Asylum’s History of Cuban Music begins three-part series

 A large brick building next a sign that says "City of Asylum" and "Garden."
Katie Blackley
90.5 WESA
The City of Asylum building on Pittsburgh's North Shore.

City of Asylum’s History of Cuban Music concert will take place tonight at Alphabet City on Pittsburgh's North Side.

The first concert of the three-part series, it will explore multiple Cuban music genres, including Bolero, Son, Guaracha, Changüi and Nengón.

Curator, arranger and performer of the series Hugo Cruz said he’s looking forward to a crowd.

“I’m just so excited to see a lot of people,” Cruz said. “This is a big concert and I'm excited also to share the stage with all my musicians and my friend from Cuba, Degnis.”

Cruz will be adding a song close to his heart along with his own composed music.

“Tonight, I’m going to be performing a song that my dad wrote many, many years ago and I’m really excited for that because I was raised listening to my dad with his band and he would play this music. So it’s a big deal for me to be able today as a grown man that already went to music school playing my dad’s compositions.” Cruz said.

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According to the music label World Music Network, Cuban Music has deep roots in African ritual and rhythm, which are the heartbeat of Cuban popular music. Cruz said he thinks it’s important to know where the music's history comes from. He says there isn’t a lot of music that has become a big part of cultures in other countries without being from those countries.

Other musicians and instruments at the concert include special guest Degnis Boffil, pianist Michael Bernabe, bassist Jose Layo, trombonist, percussionist and vocalist Juan Colon and vocalist Maria Eugenia. Each concert will also combine musical performances, film excerpts and talks.

The performance will be from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Isabella is a rising senior at Duquesne University majoring in multiplatform journalism and communications and is a division one rower on their women's rowing team. She's had many articles published as the Features Editor for Duquesne's student-run newspaper, The Duquesne Duke. In her free time, she enjoys running, watching new shows and reading.