Erik Iglesias Rodriguez, aka Cimafunk, is not afraid of borders. The first half of his stage name comes from “cimarron,” Spanish for wild or untamed. The term has come to stand for a freewheeling, untamable lifestyle. It’s fitting for Rodriguez, whose music mixes Afro-Cuban rhythms and elements of old-school and modern funk. The fusion creates an explosive sound, equal parts George Clinton and Los Van Van, though not overly derivative of either. His link to these giants lies less in any particular phrasing or harmony than in an undying allegiance to the groove.
Rodriguez’s 2017 debut “Terapia” was a smash hit in his native Cuba, paving the way for headlining gigs at Havana’s top venues and a European tour. Now he’s touring stateside in collaboration with Cuban Educational Travel’s U.S. Cultural Exchange, visiting schools and neighborhood programs along the way. He’s in New Orleans to headline a show at Tipitina’s, in which he’ll share the stage for part of a set with the Soul Rebels. He’ll also sit in with the brass band for a few songs at its show at d.b.a. Friday. Cimafunk and The Soul Rebels will record together while he’s in town, and Rodriguez will run a workshop with students from the Trombone Shorty Music Academy, sharing his genre-bending vision with the next generation of musicians.