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A Transnational Approach to the Tumba Francesa, University of Wisconsin, 9/22/07

The Missing Cuban Musicians
, a 34 page report, Cuba Research & Analysis Group, 6/24/04

Cuba and Its Music: From the First Drums to the Mambo
, 6/04: Ned's powerful book on the history of Cuban music to 1952.

From the Habanera to "Louie Louie":
The Other Great Tradition
, 5/19/04

Ned: March  2004
: NY and National, Cuban Music

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Ned on Rykodisc site
(audio files)


Ned Sublette

A co-founder of Qbadisc, Ned is an artist in his own right and created the cowboy rumba style, a fusion of rumba and country & western. He is a University of New Mexico graduate and a 2003-2004 fellow at the Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library, as well as a 2004-2005 Tulane Rockefeller Humanities Fellow in New Orleans. He has led a number of music and culture seminars for Americans in Cuba and is the producer of the 18 part Cuba Connection series on PRI's Afropop Worldwide as well as the co-creator of the current APWW "Hip Deep" series.

Ned will always be remembered among los Muñequitos fans for his stellar role in getting them well known and on tour.

Cowboy Rumba was #1 on a number of latin stations and is currently (8/9) #11 in New Mexico at From Rykodisc:

Ned Sublette was born in 1951 in Lubbock, Texas.  Bilingual in English and Spanish since childhood, he grew up in Louisiana, Texas and New Mexico and moved to New York in 1976. His range of musical experience is unusually broad, ranging from original musicological field work in New Mexico, to conservatory study in classical guitar and composition, to aggressive loud-guitar bands, to cutting-edge Latin music.  In the downtown New York new music scene of the 70s and 80s, he worked with artists ranging from John Cage to La Monte Young to Glenn Branca to Peter Gordon's Love of Life Orchestra.  In 1982, he started The Ned Sublette Band ("It wasn't country punk," he recalls, "because all the musicians could really play") with a gig at CBGBs. He became a fixture on the downtown New York club circuit, playing hundreds of gigs with a rotating cast of New York's best players at such notorious and legendary nightspots as Danceteria, the Pyramid Cocktail Lounge, Tramps (the old one) and the Lone Star Cafe.  

By the mid-80s he gravitated toward the salsa scene ("It was the best music in town," he says) and his inspirations grew increasingly Latin.  In January 1990, he traveled to Cuba for the first time and was inspired to co-found Qbadisc, the first American record label dedicated to marketing contemporary Cuban music in the U.S. He was soon recognized as a major U.S. advocate for Cuban music, introducing American audiences to Cuban artists as diverse as Los Muñequitos De Matanzas and NG La Banda as well as Celina González, Issac Delgado, Carlos Varela and Orlando "Maraca" Valle.  In 1998,he also produced the outstanding debut album by the New York-based Puerto Rican group Viento De Agua, and for seven years, he served as senior co-producer of Afropop Worldwide, heard over Public Radio International. He is currently working on a book about Cuban music.

Singer-songwriter-guitarist-bandleader-producer, Ned Sublette is one of the most original figures on the New York music scene, and COWBOY RUMBA (PALMCD2020-2), his debut solo album on Palm Pictures, is equally, and exquisitely, unique.  COWBOY RUMBA is just what the name implies: Ned's lyrics, compositions and vocals combine with a dream team of all-star musicians from Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, the New York salsa scene and . . . Texas, for an utterly danceable ride.

University of Wisconsin, Sep 22, 2007

Afro-Cuba at the Crossroads: Arts, Culture, History, conference/demos  with numerous participants. University of Wisconsin at Madison. Free and open to the public. Sep 16 - Nov 30, 2007

"A Transnational Approach to the Tumba Francesa"
2:30-3:30 - Ned Sublette, independent scholar and author, Cuba and Its Music: From the First Drums to the Mambo and The World That Made New Orleans: From Spanish Silver to Congo Square (forthcoming)
Though largely ignored by historians until the 20th century, the Haitian Revolution has belatedly come to be understood as one of the major events in hemispheric history. Less frequently noted is the generative impact that its three castes of refugees had on the course of popular music in the hemisphere. In eastern Cuba, the groups known as tumbas francesas, while correctly considered as a part of Afro-Cuban folklore, can also be seen as a link in a musical chain that reached from Guadeloupe to Louisiana. Discussant - Ricardo Gonzalez

Ned Sublette: March - June 2004

(1) I will be speaking this coming Wednesday, March 3, at the Celeste Bartos Forum of the New York Public Library, at 6:30 p.m. The title of my talk will be "Cuban Music: The Other Great Tradition." General admission is $10.

(2) I have just produced an hour-long episode (with three more to come) for Afropop Worldwide's new "Hip Deep" series: "Cuba and Its Music: The Liberation of the Drum, 1937-45." The program uplinks tomorrow and will presumably air this next week in most markets. It airs at a different time on each of the public radio stations that carries it (and unfortunately is not carried on WNYC in New York), so I don't know the exact date and time for your area. The program should also be available in streaming audio, along with a web feature containing text, interviews, and photos, at

(3) The long-awaited (by me, anyway) publication of my book "Cuba and Its Music: From the First Drums to the Mambo" (Chicago Review Press) is now scheduled for June. 

(4) I will be singing at the Bowery Poetry Club on March 19 at 7:30, in a program titled "Songs of Sentiment."

Friday, March 19, 2004
7:30pm - 9:00pm (note early start time: must end at 9:00) 

Ned Sublette: "Songs of Sentiment" $10 
Bowery Poetry Club / Bowery at Bleecker (across from CBGB)

A solo retrospective of songs of true love and creative ferment, including "Feelin' No Pain," "Rhythm and Booze," and -- why not? -- "Cowboys Are Frequently Secretly," as well as oldies but goodies composed by "Blue" Gene Tyranny and Arthur Russell. 

Ned Sublette is a 2003-2004 fellow at the Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library. His book Cuba and its music: From the first drums to the mambo will appear in June 2004 from Chicago Review Press. 


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Review in the Worcester Phoenix

Rykodisc catalog entry for Cowboy Rumba

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