Afro-Cuban Lecture Educates Musical and Spiritual Roots Here at FIU

By Genesis Rodriguez

The Cuban community in Miami take the icing on the cake when it comes to deep culture. Cuban roots, just ninety miles away, make ties here on campus. The Cuban Research Institute here at FIU will be holding a free lecture by Dr. Alan West-Duran entailing the spiritual roots inside Afro-Cuban music on March 14. “Don’t Mess with the Saints” will run from 7:00pm to 8:30pm inside the Green Library; room 220.

This event is open to FIU students and the general public. The Cuban Research Institute (CRI) have invited Dr. West-Duran from Northeastern University in Boston. He is an associate professor of Latin American studies in the department of cultures. “Cuba: A Cultural History” is his latest book, which has just been published and is now available. It is encouraged to attend if you want to get more of an inside look on Afro-Cuban culture and its influence in Cuban daily life. This lecture is organized a part of a two-day event. You can also attend Dr. West-Duran’s book presentation which will be taking place at Books & Books in Coral Gables, the day after the lecture.

Director and professor from the CRI, Jorge Duany, spoke on the importance of the topic and Dr. West-Duran’s credibility as the chosen presenter. The CRI wanted a “wide ranging scholar on Cuban studies who could share ideas on Afro-Cuban film, literature, music and religion” specified Duany. The Afro-Cuban religion impact on music from the country is an “innovative idea shared by Dr. West-Duran that not only will attract students and faculty but as well as members of the Miami Cuban Community with an appreciation for the topic.” Duany also touches on Dr. West-Duran’s contribution to Afro-Cuban literature on his new book as spectacular work.

Duany mentions that the Afro-Cuban side of Cuban culture has not been recently discussed or researched systematically as much as it should. He emphasizes the vital importance of engaging in unknown culture and learning to appreciate the various aspects that deep culture holds. Most especially by one of the leading critiques of Cuban literature, West-Duran, who also just recently was an editor in a Cuban encyclopedia.

Members of the Cuban Research Institute here at FIU encourage students from various departments and backgrounds to attend and learn something unique in Cuban music and culture. Members of the community beyond FIU who would like to attend “Don’t Mess with the Saints” lecture are more than welcome to. To confirm your attendance and for more information, please call (305)-348-1991 or email

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