PAX Miami's Tumbao Fridays Brings Afro-Caribbean Music to Calle Ocho

Up until a few months ago, Miami felt empty.

The shortage of Afro-Caribbean rhythms in a city built by Afro-Caribbean immigrants was downright shameful. We had become the Big Mango tree without roots.

But then Tumbao happened, and Afro-Caribbean beats found a permanent home at the intersection of I-95 and Calle Ocho.

"My partner Danny and I are part Cuban, and we wanted to celebrate our heritage," says Roxanne Scalia, owner of PAX, New Times' 2012 pick for Best Venue for Local Acts. "Hence Noches Tumbao."

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With help from Fabrika CEO and co-founder Toto González (AKA Mr. Pauer), Scalia turned Friday nights at PAX into a who's who of roots rhythm.

"Our Tumbao Fridays series is an Afro-Caribbean beats series featuring the likes of Luis Bofill, Los Herederos, and Palo!" Scalia says. "It differs from our other nights because it focuses on Miami's authentic Cuban talent."

Bofill, for instance, is a longtime local favorite who began his illustrious career in Cuba during the island's Nueva Trova movement of the late 1970s.

In 2001, New Times honored him with the Best Musical Rejuvenation award. And 12 years later, he's still one of the most sought after crooners in town, and a regular at PAX.

However, January 25's installment of Tumbao at PAX belongs to Los Herederos, a group Scalia describes as "authentic Guaguanco and rumba."

We simply call it awesome.

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