The Moss Arts center presents a free outdoor concert featuring one of Latin music’s most electrifying new performers. Afro-Cuban music sensation Cimafunk brings an evening of bold sounds — a mix of funk, Cuban music, and African beats — driven by an exuberant rhythm section, backup singers, and horn line, to the Moss Arts Center lawn on Wednesday, Sept. 7, at 6 p.m.

“Imagine the white-hot rhythm of James Brown combined with the irresistible fun of Bruno Mars and you have Cuba’s Cimafunk,” said Margaret Lawrence, director of programming at the Moss Arts Center. “Propelled by his amazing nine-piece band, Cimafunk’s dance party is the perfect way to kick off the Moss Arts Center’s exciting new season. The buzz is real.”

Bringing out the best in Cuban rhythms and traditions and infusing sounds and styles from Africa and the U.S., Cimafunk (Cuban vocalist and composer Erik Alejandro Iglesias Rodriguez) has created something unique and special, redefining contemporary Cuban music as well as Afro-Latin identity and the fusion of Black cultures. Cimafunk’s name refers to his heritage as a cimarrón — Cubans of African descent who resisted and escaped slavery — as well as to the essence of his music that aims to subvert conventional sounds with rhythmic innovation.

Cimafunk became a household name in Cuba with his 2018 hit “Me Voy” from his debut album, “Terapia.” The album generated a frenzy, creating a movement in Havana and throughout the island, selling out venues with thousands of excited fans, and inspiring millennials to replicate Cimafunk’s style, which draws heavily on his African roots and the Black showmen of the 20th century.

Cimafunk’s second album, “El Alimento,” was released in October 2021. Rolling Stone ranked it third on its Best Spanish-Language and Bilingual Albums of 2021 list and No. 23 of the 50 Best Albums of 2021. The album was also among NPR’s Best Latin Music of 2021 and topped Le Monde’s list of Latin music favorites. The dynamic collection masterfully blends Afro-Cuban sounds and rhythms with global funk, hip-hop, and soul, resulting in a progressive, head-bopping celebration of Black music’s power to eclipse borders and cross-pollinate across cultures.

“Cimafunk takes it back there while keeping it in the now," said innovative funk forefather George Clinton (Parliament-Funkadelic), who sings alongside Cimafunk on the opening track “Funk Aspirin.” "It’s what we do, always reinventing the funk to keep it fresh.”

“El Alimento” also includes collaborations with U.S. hip-hop stars Lupe Fiasco and CeeLo Green, Jamaican dancehall singer Stylo G, and Afro-Colombian hip-hop group ChocQuibTown as well as Afro-Cuban jazz icon and '70s funk pioneer Chucho Valdés (who performed at the Moss last season), Afro-Cuban rapper and Reggaetonero El Micha, and Cuban Rumba group Los Papines.

Included on Billboard’s list of Top 10 Latin Artists to Watch, Cimafunk stole the show at the 2019 South by Southwest Music Festival and has toured throughout in the U.S. and Europe. Just prior to the pandemic, Cimafunk and his band received overwhelming praise for a moving performance on NPR’s Tiny Desk Concerts series, which NPR chose as one of the best Tiny Desk Concerts of 2020. 

The concert will take place rain or shine. In case of inclement weather, please check the Moss Arts Center website for updates.

Paid parking is available in the North End Parking Garage on Turner Street. Virginia Tech faculty and staff possessing a valid Virginia Tech parking permit can enter and exit the garage free of charge. Virginia Tech has also partnered with ParkMobile to provide a convenient, contactless electronic payment option for parking, which may be used at any parking meter, campus parking space, or lot with standard F/S, C/G, or R parking.

If you are an individual with a disability and desire an accommodation, please contact Jamie Wiggert at least 10 days prior to the event at 540-231-5300 or during regular business hours.

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