KEY WEST, Fla. — Audiences can celebrate world music with an emphasis on Cuban rhythms during the annual Afro Roots Fest showcase in Key West. Music and film events are planned Thursday through Saturday, April 18-20, in multiple venues around the Florida Keys island that lies just 90 miles from Havana.
The cultural kaleidoscope is to begin at 9 p.m. Thursday with a kick-off party at the Green Parrot Bar, 601 Whitehead St., featuring live music by Electric Piquete. The critically acclaimed Latin funk and fusion band is known for its innovative originals and interpretations drawing on Afro-Caribbean, jazz and rock influences. There is no cover charge for the show and everyone age 21 and over is welcome.
The focus turns to film Friday, April 19, with a 6 p.m. showing of the musical documentary “Eliades Ochoa: from Cuba to the World” at The Studios of Key West, 533 Eaton St. The film spotlights the world-renowned Cuban guitarist and singer who was an original member of the iconic Cuban band known as the Buena Vista Social Club. A question-and-answer session with the director, Cynthia Biestek, and a reception for film fans are to follow the screening. Tickets are $10 per person.
The Studios of Key West also is the setting for a Saturday night concert of Cuban music by Cortadito, whose traditional stylings have evoked comparisons to the Buena Vista Social Club. Renowned for performing standards from the early 20th century, the band is to introduce melodies from its latest release, “Canciones de Julio.” Ticket prices for the 8 p.m. show range from $32 to $55 per person.
Following the concert, music lovers can head to the Green Parrot for a 10 p.m. after-party showcasing the distinctive sound of the Spam Allstars, whose music has been called everything from a blend of electronica, Afro-Cuban and hip-hop to a “descarga” or Latin jam.
The Afro Roots Fest also features events in Islamorada and Key Largo. A Memorial Day weekend concert is planned Sunday, May 26, at Islamorada’s Florida Keys Brewing Co. in the Morada Way Arts & Cultural District. Key Largo’s festival event is scheduled for June 28-29 at the Murray Nelson Government & Cultural Center.
Festival information: AfroRootsFest.com
Key West visitor information: fla-keys.com/keywest or 1-800-LAST-KEY
Critically acclaimed Latin funk and fusion band Electric Paquete is known for its innovative originals and interpretations drawing on Afro-Caribbean, jazz and rock influences.