As the city’s Latino population continues to rise, accounting for some 27 percent of the total populace, new unions have emerged between the various nationalities. The Afro-Caribbean musical group, Alma Moyó, resulted in a group of friends from the Caribbean islands of Haiti, Cuba, the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico who felt that their historic commonalities outweighed their differences. The group’s director, Alex LaSalle and his wife Manuela Arciniegas who is also in the group, are a prime example of the union. LaSalle is Puerto Rican and Arciniegas is Dominican, both agree that it was their similar Latino upbringing and their islands’ comparable cultures that helped bring them together.
“We saw that we had a lot more in common because of our African ancestry and so we started sharing and learning the different musical traditions from the islands”, said Arciniegas, member and manager of the group. “And that helped us find the connections that all of these traditions share.”
In support of a non-profit organization, The Legacy Circle, which aims to connect the younger generation with traditional music, Alma Moyó teamed with other Afro-Caribbean groups from Haiti and the Dominican Republic. They have joined the groups through weekly community workshops where they teach Bomba, a traditional Puerto Rican folk music . They train children and adults the dance, drums and beat of their African ancestors, whose melody inspired the the island’s modern day music.