This Afro-Futurist Techno Jam Honors the Haitian Slaves of Cuba

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This premiere from Cuba’s Afro-futurist DJ Jigüe comes at a loaded moment on his country’s timeline.

We’re still a few years away from knowing what the culminating effects of the renewal of US-Cuba diplomatic relations will be. So far from Godso close to Karl Lagerfeld.

But at the very least, as Internet access improves, Cuba’s historically phenomenal pool of musicians will have more opportunities to travel to the ears of new listeners, especially US-based music fans. Let’s hope that as that happens, they will continue to be some of the most unique artists in the region.

Earlier this month, DJ Jigüe made some appearances at a festival that has just that goal in mind: Manana, a non-profit project whose mission is to spotlight the connection between Cuba’s aural heritage and emerging sounds. If Manana was going to pick a theme song, Jigüe’s new track “Rive” could very well be it. On it, the DJ pours Afro-Cuban tumba francesa – a rapid-fire, percussion-based genre created by the island nation’s Haitian slaves – over an electronic blueprint.

Jigüe explained the historic influence behind the mélange for us:

“The tumba francesa is the result of the process of the fusion and mixing of cultures in Cuba with the arrival of African slaves; in this case, with the slaves that came from Haiti. It’s a symbol of the rebellion against colonialism, against slavery, for everything that it means at its roots. Tumba francesa represents one of the iterations of spiritual freedom as expressed by its creators, and it is a representation of traditional Cuban folk culture from the eastern part of the island,” he revealed.

“To maintain this cultural connection with the tumba francesa is to maintain this force and energy in search of equality, of the roots of what really makes us Cuban. I make this music so that coming generations of Cubans know their past and are empowered to construct their future.”

“Rive” will appear on the compilation Turntables on the Caribbean, which drops May 27 via Wonderwheel Recordings. Pre-order the album here.