The Caribbean, claims Cuban writer Antonio Benitez-Rojo, is a meta-archipelago: a giant sponge spiraling out from the Caribbean Sea to Europe, Africa, Asia, the Middle East, the Americas, the universe, endlessly repeating. The Caribbean, in short, is the rhythmic center of the world. And so the Afro-Polyphonic World Orchestra, an ambitious sixteen-piece multicultural mélange, is a Caribbean band in the most expansive sense -- the polyrhythmic pulse of the universe. Founded by Dominican-born Cuban-American José Elias Mateo and featuring musicians and guest composers from all points converging on and emerging from the Caribbean, the Afro-Polyphonic World Orchestra plays every deep dark beautiful sound ever heard all at once. If the inspiration is diasporic -- the scattering of peoples like seeds -- the resulting concerts are multiculturalism in full bloom.
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