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Roman Diaz

Upon his arrival to New York City in 1999, Díaz was cast in the film Calle 54 by acclaimed Spanish director Fernando Trueba alongside legendary percussionists Orlando “Puntilla” Rios and Carlos “Patato” Valdez, both infamous for their command of Afro Cuban traditional music and the innovations they contributed to Afro Cuban jazz. The film literally documented the passing of the torch to Díaz and Pedrito Martínez as the filming marked the last time these four great artists would appear together. Only Díaz and Martínez could carry on the legacy of innovation rooted in tradition that has made New York City a vital locale in the history of Afro Cuban music. As a member of Cuba’s groundbreaking Rumba group Yoruba Andabo, Díaz aided in the creation of the sound that has defined rumba since the 1980s and performed and/or recorded with legends including Merceditas Valdes. Díaz has participated in notable projects by Jane Bunnett, Michele Rosewoman, Danilo Pérez, Omar Sosa, David Virelles and Henry Threadgill among others. Díaz has been featured on compilations including the Calle 54 soundtrack; the Grammy-nominated Raíces Habaneras project; and rumba compilations with Martínez including The Routes of Rumba (1999) and Rumba de la Isla (2013). In 2009 Díaz, Martinez and Angel Guerrero created the Afro Cuban classic Enyenison Enkama (Africa Speaks), hailed as “a masterpiece of Afro Cuban music…” by Diaz and Martinez also figure prominently in the documentary Rumba Clave Blen-Blen by Arístides Falcon. Díaz is featured on the sophomore release by The Pedrito Martínez Group coming in spring 2016. 

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