Havana's Noise and Rhythm: Understanding Afrocubaneity


Friday, February 15, 2019, 12:00pm to 1:45pm


104 Mt. Auburn Street 3R, Seminar Room

Speaker: Pablo D. Herrera Veitia, Afro-Latin American Research Institute, University of St. Andrews, Scotland

What is it like to be Afro-Cuban today? After more than a decade’s experience as an Afro-Cuban rap music producer, this is the question at the core of Herrera Veitia’s doctoral research in social anthropology. His presentation will explore how becoming a Hiphop practitioner vested him with a profound interest in the future of urban Afro-Cuban music in Havana. Following the question ‘What is Afro-Cubaneity?’ he argues that understanding what Afro-Cubaneity is today not only requires to touch on topics such as cosmopolitanism, Afro-Caribbeanism and pan-Africanism, it also requires a reevaluation of the myth of Cuba as Caliban. The seminar will conclude with an introduction of Hearing Afro-Cuban rap, the sounded element in Herrera Veitia's doctoral thesis. Hearing Afro-Cuban rap is an archive of Afro-Cuban rap songs that he is currently developing in affiliation with the Hiphop Archive and Research Institute, Harvard University. Asking ‘Could we consider the loudness of today’s urban Afro-Cuban music, across the audible dimension of Havana, as a form of Afro-Cuban citizenship?’ he argues that songs by Havana’s black raperos are some of the most important testimonials on race in recent Cuban oral history.

Presented in collaboration with Afro-Latin American Research Institute at the Hutchins Center