Musical Road to Womex 2021 – Cimafunk

The second stage of Musical Road to Womex, our new section introducing you to some of the protagonists of the showcases enriching Womex 2021’s programme, is a feast of funky and exciting vibes courtesy of the hottest act coming from the Cuban contemporary music scene. 

Cimafunk, who’s ready to release his new album El Alimento (out on the 8th of October), is a genuine Afro-Cuban funkero. Born in Pinar del Rio, he grew up listening to soul, R&B and funk coming from the US, next to the quintessentially Cuban salsa, trova and timba.

He inescapably fell in love with those sounds coming from the Northern shore of the Gulf of Mexico. So much so, that despite studying to become a doctor, he left the medical profession behind to fully and warmly embrace music.

As we aim to do in this section, we let the musicians themselves do the talking to present their music and invite you to Womex upcoming edition…

Then welcome the “funky word” brought to you by Cimafunk, and have a listen to a very Cimafunk playlist exclusively handpicked for Rhythm Passport. Also check out the latest updates coming from the Womex world like the full Conference Programme and the Official Film Programme which has been recently announced by the organisers.

Can you briefly introduce your music to someone who will listen to it for the first time at Womex?

I make Afro-Cuban music mixed with Funk. The groove is the protagonist. Playing with the percussion and the times of the funk and then adding in the Afro-Cuban flavor with our percussion, our guitar and our clave. It’s music to have fun, dance, get loose and nourish the body.

Who and what are your music influences and where does your sound come from?

In my childhood, the main musical characters were Michael Jackson, Los Van Van, Steve Wonder, Bob Marley, NG la Banda, Habana Abierta, Benny More and Christian music like Jesus Adrian Romero and others. After that, it came James Brown, Funkadelic, O’ Funkillo, Macaco, Marvin Gaye, Ohio Players and a lot of timba music.

As well as a Worldwide Music Expo, Womex is a good and proper global music fun fair. Is there anything you are looking forward to attending/enjoying during those five days?

It’s great be at Womex and have more visibility for my music. But the most important thing is to be on stage and play, that’s the gift. Especially after all of this time without performing. For me, every time that 3, 4, 5 persons listen to the music and feel it that’s perfect.

This Womex edition will happen in Porto. Have you ever been there and is there anything you are looking forward to doing/visiting/eating or drinking in the Portuguese city?

I have never been in Porto, but many friends have talked to me about the city and its flow. I don’t have a plan of what I’m going to do but for sure I would like to see the city, try its food, meet all the people that I can and have some fun.

It goes without saying that Covid-19, lockdowns and regulations have deeply affected the music world in the last 20 months. How do you think the “post-pandemic” music world is going to unfold and what will be the “new normal” in the world music scene?

I don’t know… I think that is difficult to predict. But one thing I perceived in our shows in the past 2 months is that the people are crazy to feel the human contact again.

I think the live shows are going to be more and more important and that is perfect. All this pandemic time proved to us that the live sensation, the music punching your body is a unique thing. And we all need it.

Womex is a unique opportunity to share and showcase your music with new people and let them know about your upcoming projects. Can you reveal to us some of your plans for the future?

Well, there is a new album coming on October 8th, El Alimento (translation: the nutrient). It’s groovy and with a new sound for me. I coproduced it with Jack Splash, an incredible producer. We have different musical upbringings, backgrounds and cultural influences, but we both love the groove and it’s sounding great.

There are some amazing collaborations on the album that came about naturally through friendships, admiration and real synergy. Great musicians like George Clinton, US hip-hop stars Lupe Fiasco and CeeLo Green; Jamaican dancehall singer Stylo G and Afro-Colombian hip-hop group ChocQuibTown; as well as Cuban musicians Chucho Valdés, an Afro-Cuban jazz icon and ’70s funk pioneer, Los Papines, a Cuban rumba group whose career spans six decades, and Afro-Cuban rapper and reggaetonero El Micha

Let’s say that you have to draft an invitation card for our readers to join you at Womex and enjoy your showcase. What would you write in it?

Oye!!! We are gonna lit the stage at Womex. Get ready! Prepare yourself to groove together with the Afro-Cuban funk. Calienta. Cimafunk en la casa pa’ tu cuerpa pa’ tus pasas!


Photo © Arevalo Cuba



– Check out the previous Musical Road to Womex episodes HERE –