Road to Afro Roots Begins in Jupiter on January 25-26


The Road to Afro Roots Fest 21 Begins at Guanabanas in Jupiter on January 25-26

Colombia’s Grupo Barrio Abajo, Cuba’s Cortadito and the Republic of Congo’s Toto Omana open the third decade of one of South Florida’s longest-running music festivals

Jupiter, FL – November 27, 2018 – The 21st iteration of the Afro Roots Fest will pick up right where it left off – taking the music directly to the people, instead of having them travel to one signature event as in year’s past. The kickoff event will again take place at Guanabanas Island Restaurant & Bar (960 N Highway A1A, Jupiter, Florida 33477) over the span of two days. Grupo Barrio Abajo opens the festivities Friday, January 25, 2018 with a 21 and over performance beginning at 9 p.m. The following day, Saturday, January 26, Cortadito (4 to 7 p.m., all ages welcome) and Toto Omana (9 p.m., 21 and over) round out the Road to Afro Roots lineup.

“It gives me great joy to start the journey to the Afro Roots Fest by presenting these three diverse groups at what is Palm Beach’s premiere live music venue,” says Jose Elias, founder and executive director of Community Arts and Culture (CAC). “We are excited to bring the Jupiter music-loving community a slice of the Caribbean and some amazing sounds from the Democratic Republic of Congo. Fans will love the brilliant crossover artist that is Toto Omana.” Elias is a guitarist / tres player who performs with the Spam Allstars, and his own groups Cortadito and the Nag Champayons. He is also a producer and Grammy-nominated musician and recording artist.

Group Barrio Abajo’s aim is to raise international awareness of the folkloric musical heritage of the Caribbean Colombia. They present styles such as cumbia, bullerengue, porro, chandé and more than thirty other unparalleled musical rhythms. Globally, their home country is known for cumbia and vallenato, but these are just two pieces from their puzzle of musical heritage. Barrio Abajo’s professional musicians intend to change this perception. Learn more about them here:

Cortadito’s specialty is performing Cuban music from the early 20th century, which transports listeners to a time when Trio Matamoros and Ignacio Piniero ruled the Cuban music world.  The band, who recently released a new EP of music called Canciones de Julio, faithfully performs standards in the traditional stylings called Son MontunoGuarachaBoleroNengon, and Bolero Son. Cortadito is occasionally is backed by a variety of guest musicians, which gives the group a sound reminiscent of the Buena Vista Social Club. Learn more at

The singer / songwriter / guitarist from Kinshasa, Republic of Congo Omana is primarily influenced by Franco and OK Jazz. His music combines African Soukous with American R&B, funk, and soul. Toto speaks more than 12 languages, and also sings in Swahili, Mandingo, English, Spanish, and French, and appeared as a guest on the Grammy-nominated group, Conjunto Progreso’s record Master Sessions Descarga & Son. He is set to release a full-length set on Afro Roots Recordings in 2019, which is being produced by Elias.

“We’re happy to able to continue building on this wonderful musical relationship with Guanabanas and Roots Music, Inc., and continue to make the festival accessible to world music fans in Palm Beach,” adds Elias. The festival will also feature a variety of local and international acts, and is being held at venues throughout South Florida. For more information, please visit or call 561.747.8878.



Incorporated in September 2002, Community Arts and Culture, Inc. (CAC) is a Miami-based non-profit organization that fosters an appreciation and understanding of a vast assortment of arts and cultures through workshops, lectures and artistic performances in local communities for individuals of all ages and social backgrounds.

In addition to the joint venture with the Little Haiti Community Center called Let the Children Have Music, and the ongoing World Music Tuesdays series at the Wynwood Yard, CAC co-produces the Roots in the Schools program, which brings music to Miami-area schools.

For more information, please visit

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Michael Mut