Sintesis, X Alfonso & Eme Alfonso Score Latin Grammy Nomination

Critically-hailed, Afro-cuban roots/fusion album Ancestros Sinfónico earns nomination in Best Folk Album category

Twenty years after Sintesis garnered their first Latin GRAMMY® nomination as a group, the acclaimed Afro-Cuban fusion ensemble, along with X Alfonso, and his sister Eme, have collectively snagged a Latin GRAMMY® Award nomination for Ancestros Sinfónico, a tribute album helmed by X Alfonso to the famed band that made NPR’s 36 Favorite Albums of 2022.

Felix Contreras, co-creator and co-host of NPR’s esteemed radio show Alt.Latino, called the album “a masterful reimagining of traditional Afro-Cuban spiritual music commonly referred to as Santería. This music both defies symphonic and West African traditions to create a powerful statement of veneration and devotion; it’s in a class by itself.”

X Alfonso’s gleaming production of the 10 tracks on the album also served as a beloved musical collaboration with his family on this historic project that included his parents and Sintesis founders, Carlos and Ele Alfonso, and his sister Eme, each of whom contributed their considerable vocal talents on all of the album’s songs.

X Alfonso currently is preparing a production rooted in Ancestros Sinfónico whose main objective, he says, is to “present this work as a multi-sensory experience together with orchestras from all over the world.”

The Latin Grammys Awards is set to take place on November 17 in Las Vegas at the Michelob ULTRA Arena at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. Univision will air the ceremony at 8 p.m Eastern.

 About Ancestros Sinfónico

X Alfonso united his family to retrace the trailblazing soundscape of Sintesis and embark a new musical journey. The dazzling result is Ancestros Sinfónico (FACMusic), an arresting opus from Alfonso that is both an homage and a reinvention of the pioneering sounds of Sintesis.


During the pandemic, X Alfonso took advantage of the break to return to the monumental body of work that Sintesis – founded by his parents Carlos and Ele Alfonso – released at the end of the ‘80s. Alfonso’s ambitious labor of family love was to convert 10 Sintesis tracks into a symphonic suite with arrangements inspired by songwriters who were part of the band’s history, including Carlos and Ele, Esteban Puebla, Lucía Huergo, and X himself. Alfonso also bolstered his own production with the sage advice of the legendary Cuban composer Leo Brouwer.

The culmination of this musical round trip – with sessions recorded between Portugal and Havana, and mixed and mastered at El Cerrito Records in San Francisco – is a fascinating invitation to rediscover the legendary legacy of Sintesis. Fans familiar with the band’s musical arc will be able to identify and be surprised by the new sonic destiny in which these classics from the group’s repertoire are embodied. Music enthusiasts unfamiliar with Sintesis will have the luxury of discovering some of the famed band’s most impressive pieces.

In short, Ancestros Sinfónico represents a love story of a son for his parents, as well as a family proud of its legacy and of its ability to reinvent a country through music once again.

About X Alfonso

Instrumentalist, composer, performer and visual artist, Alfonso has developed a multifaceted career that has stamped him as one of the greatest artistic exponents of contemporary Cuba. Graduating from Cuba’s National School of Art, Alfonso’s professional life began in 1990 when he joined the group Sintesis whose music mixed Afro-Cuban sounds with rock.

While a member of Sintesis, Alfonso founded the rock and pop rock group Havana, one of the milestone bands of the alternative Cuban music scene of the ‘90s. From 1993, in parallel to his participation with Sintesis (where he was responsible for arrangements, keyboards and voices, alternating with other roles such as bassist and percussionist), Alfonso developed his solo career until 2004 when he decided to focus totally on his personal project.

Alfonso’s versatility has allowed him to successfully compose music for theater, contemporary dance and soundtracks. He won a Goya Award for Best Original Music for the soundtrack of the film “Habana Blues.” Since 2010, he has overseen Fábrica de Arte Cubano (FAC), a community art landmark in Havana that was recognized by TIME magazine in 2019 as one of the best 100 “Greatest Places” in the world.


About Sintesis

Sintesis is one of the most emblematic ensembles of contemporary Cuban music and is among the most recognized and popular Cuban musical groups around the world. Their standout career has been confirmed by repeated successes inside and outside Cuba.

Led by Carlos Alfonso, Sintesis has created a singular ethno-fusion sound that has aroused the attention of critics and public alike. Sintesis not only boasts a repertoire of Spanish-language material that displays the extraordinary fusion of the rhythms of Cuban music, they also feature songs of Afro-Cuban origin interpreted in their original language.

With more than 60 international tours, Sintesis has been sharing the musical traditions of Yoruba Afro-descendants for many years by merging Yoruba songs and rhythms with Western musical flavors. Several of their 13 albums received awards in Cuba during the EGREM and Cubadisco Awards shows. The collective also received a Latin GRAMMY® nomination.

About Eme Alfonso

Eme Alfonso comes from the famed Alonso musical family who were pioneers in fusing Afro-Cuban music with rock and jazz in the 70s and 80s. She was a member of Sintesis, a critically lauded group helmed by her parents that was nominated for a Latin Grammy in 2002.

Alfonso began her solo career in 2008. She has won the Cubadisco Award (Cuban Music Awards) for Best Fusion Album with her three albums: “Señales” (2009), “Eme” (2012) and “Voy” (2018). She has received glowing reviews from NPR and the BBC, the latter of whom called her “A Promise of Latin Music”.

In 2017 Alfonso was part of the International Jazz Day program organized by UNESCO together with Esperanza Spalding and Melisa Aldana. In 2019 she appeared as an official artist in Womex and SXSW. And in 2021, she was chosen by NPR and its Tiny Desk Home concert to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month with Camila Cabello and Silvana Estrada.

Alfonso also performed on Global Spin, the online world music performance series produced by The Recording Academy® (GRAMMY Awards®). She also has been part of important cultural development projects such as “Para Mestizar” sponsored by UNESCO.

Alfonso currently is the artistic director of the Havana World Music festival with the support of the Department of Culture of Cuba and the “Primera Base” contest for the development of young Cuban artists supported by British Council.

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