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Marisa Arbona-Ruiz

Pianist, composer and bandleader Arturo O'Farrill was born into Afro-Cuban jazz royalty but growing up he rejected his famous musical heritage. Now, he travels the world sharing his late father Chico O'Farrill's legacy as a principal architect of the mash up of jazz and Afro-Cuban music in the late 1940s.

Colombian band Bomba Estéreo has a hit on its hands, and the story behind its success is a testament to fan demand and the power of a great song.

For two glorious weeks this month, the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. exploded with the vibrant sound, color and culture of the historic festival Artes de Cuba: From the Island to the World.

At 87 years young, the legendary Cuban Diva of the Buena Vista Social Club, Omara Portuondo, brought gasps of delight, then rapturous applause, just by walking out on the stage in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday night. She graciously acknowledged the love in the room then continued with her rendition of beloved classic "Veinte Años," backed by just a pianist.

Colombia's Monsieur Periné is at that sweet spot of a band's maturation process wherein they've solidified what they know, but are unafraid to venture towards what they don't.

Consider that the group's last album, Caja de Musica, flowed with French-inspired swing-jazz feel-goodness, leading to a breakout 2015 Latin Grammy win for best new artist.

As the humanitarian and political crisis continued to mount in her native Venezuela, Ane Diaz turned to the folk songs that shaped her early life and put her own spin on them, as a way to protect what she considers national treasures.

One of the bands I'm thrilled to catch at SXSW is Balún, who will be part of a showcase of Latin bands this week. When I first met the Brooklyn-based band at NuevoFest in Philadelphia last summer, they really stood out for their exciting, genre-morphing explorations into alternative rock, electronic pop and Puerto Rican folkloric grooves.

Colombian vocalist J Balvin is still riding the huge wave created by last year's Latin music explosion.

There is another revolution happening in Cuba these days.

A group of young female musicians — including Daymé Arocena, Danay Suárez and the all-female band Jane Bunnett and Maqueque — are challenging both musical and cultural conventions, creating innovative Afro-Cuban music fused with a variety of genres like R&B, hip-hop, reggae, electronica and jazz.

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