Alejo Carpentier—Cuba’s Unlikely Musical Hero

Cuba is not a particularly large country, but its influence on the world’s music is immense; indeed, it’s hard to imagine a world without the habanera, mambo or salsa. Over the past hundred years, Cuba’s greatest musical heroes have tended to be performers—charismatic musicians like Celia Cruz, Arturo Sandoval or even Ricky Ricardo, who shot to fame and became pop culture icons.

But perhaps the greatest figure in all of Cuban music isn’t a performer at all—he is musicologist-turned-novelist Alejo Carpentier.

In case he is unfamiliar, allow me to introduce him. Continue reading