Rising star Cimafunk adding Afro-Cuban vibe to Real Art Ways’ Creative Cocktail Hour

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A report by John Adamian for The Hartford Courant.

The marriage of Latin music and funk seems as natural any other cross-pollination. Afro-Cuban artist Cimafunk brings bumping rhythms, with clave, polyrhythmic hand-claps, a pounding four-on-the-floor, rubbery bass and guitar riffs, and percussive rapping.

He sounds a little like Missy Elliott and Cameo infused with a strong dose Caribbean flavor. Cimafunk takes elements of Cuban son and rhumba and grafts them on to a futuristic dance-centric hip-hop aesthetic.

Known as Erik Iglesias Rodriguez as a medical student before devoting himself to music, his musical name, like his music, is a stitched-together hybrid, in this case made by joining funk, of course, and Cimarrones, the name of enslaved Africans who escaped servitude in the Spanish Caribbean, creating communities of their own.

Cimafunk has a 21st-century forward-looking vibe, but he pulls deep from music of the past from throughout the African diaspora. Cimafunk’s Hartford stop is in the middle of a string of visits to major markets in the U.S. This is a rare chance to see a budding international star in an intimate setting.

You can see Cimafunk as a part of the monthly Creative Cocktail Hour at Real Art Ways, 56 Arbor St., Hartford, on April 18, at 6 p.m. $10. realartways.org.

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