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Carlos Caro is the Epitome of Afro-Cuban Evolution

28th Oct 2014

Playing a variety of world drums and other percussion instruments,

Carlos Caro's diverse sounds range from traditional Cuban to modern

timba rhythms to Latin jazz. Photo from DRUM! Magazine.

Cuban musicians in San Francisco have been contributing to the Latin music scene since the ‘50s. Percussionist, composer, and bandleader Carlos Caro is the epitome of the evolution of Afro-Cuban music in San Francisco and its continued contributions to the Latin music genre. DRUM! Magazine recently published an in-depth article on Caro, his music background, and how he became “a prime example of the Cuban cross-pollination that continues to enrich the Bay Area,” as described in the article.

Described by Rita Hargrave, director of The Last Mambo, as an adventurous and collaborative musician with strong Afro-Cuban roots and an “infectious tempo” when playing percussion, Caro exudes the traditional Cuban music that filled the streets of the small Cuban town in which he grew up. Caro was also influenced by his parents and grandfather, who sang and played instruments. His mom listened to a wide variety of music, from jazz to American pop to Afro-Cuban music, perhaps sparking Caro’s interest in combining various world percussion instruments in his setup. Caro plays various world drums, from bongos to timbales to cajons, as well as cowbells, cymbals, guiros, maracas, and various other percussion instruments

Caro refined his rhythm by playing in various merengue bands in Mexico City and even played with the Mexico City Philharmonic. By 2002, Caro was playing with several bands and ensembles and teaching percussion in California. It was around this time that Vission Latina, an impromptu band Caro put together for a music festival, was born. Despite being created on a whim, Caro loved the band’s sound and even brought on professional musicians who could best play his compositions. Vission Latina remains one of Caro’s most popular bands and best displays his diverse musical sounds.