Miguel “Angá” Díaz (1961-2006) was a valuable and prolific Cuban percussionist. With his explosive solos and the creation of five conga toques, “Angá” was widely acclaimed as one of the world’s great congueros.
One of the mainstays of Afro-Cuban rhythm in recent times, Angá played with a multitude of jazz stars, from Chucho Valdés, Chick Corea or Steve Coleman, to Roy Hargrove, Minino Garay, Chano Domínguez and Herbie Hancock, among others.
The claim that he was one of the best percussionists in the world is backed up by the Grammy awards he won, his participation in such important projects as Buena Vista Social Club and the Afro-Cuban All Stars, and his status as sideman of geniuses like Tito Puente, Herbie Hancock, Carlos Santana or Danilo Pérez, as well as his membership in legendary groups like Irakere, according to Más i Más, the organizer of his concerts in Barcelona.
Father of three daughters – the eldest living in Cuba and the two younger ones in Paris – Angá never stopped searching for new forms of musical expression, experimenting with the fusion of different styles, such as jazz, African sounds, rock and hip-hop.
He was committed to the development of the conga, breaking the traditional barriers of percussion, to introduce them into classic Latin rhythms while preserving their distinctly Cuban roots.
He played with several Cuban artists, including Irakere, Afro-Cuban All Stars, Buena Vista Social Club, Omar Sosa, Omara Portuondo, Tata Güines, Rubén González and Orishas.
At that time he recorded and toured frequently with international musicians such as Steve Coleman, Roy Hargrove, Baba Sissoko, Ry Cooder, Pascal Coulon, Mezzadri Malik, Montgomery Buddy, Pascal Coulon and John Patitucci. Angá’s musical journey was a personal quest to investigate and create new sounds and rhythmic fusions.
More than just an artist, Angá demonstrated his commitment to the development of his instrument, teaching master classes at various schools and universities in North America and throughout Europe.
For Paris-based Argentine percussionist Minino Garay.
“He is indisputably one of the great percussionists of his generation; the greatest of all. His death causes me enormous sadness, as if it were a story that did not end,” lamented Garay, who will not attend the funeral this Friday, due to the fact that on that day he will give a concert in Vance, in the south of France. “I will certainly dedicate it to him,” he added.
Angá Díaz received his formal education at the Escuela Nacional de Arte in Havana, Cuba, and after joining the Latin jazz groups Opus 13 and Irakere, where he perfected his conga playing technique, he moved to Europe, where he devoted himself to exploring the fusion of styles, bringing Cuban music closer to other musics and thoroughly investigating the relationship between Afro-Cuban polyrhythms and technology.
In the summer of 2005, Angá released his first solo album EChu Mingua, which the musician himself described as “a musical religious mass. Spiritual music is when the spirits are invoked to come down to earth, inviting them to a party or to talk to them”, and that is “the whole concept of the album”.
Transgressor of conventions, Angá emerged as an independent, free and committed musician with a wide variety of projects, from experimental jazz with Steve Coleman and Roy Hargrove, and hip-hop with the Orishas, to his participation in Omar Sosa’s tours, in addition to participating in numerous alternative projects with musicians from all over the world.
Angá’s musical trajectory was a tireless search, whose main purpose was to explore and create new sounds, as well as rhythmic fusions.
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