How the Clave Rhythm Pattern of Afro-Cuban Music Took Over Modern Music

It’s easy to forget how important rhythms can be, but they’re the foundation on top of which music is built, and it doesn’t get much more foundational than the Clave. Born in Africa, brought to the Americas by slaves, and eventually showing up in musical styles all over the world, the Clave is one of the defining rhythms of modern music across cultures. It’s complex but approachable, jagged but smooth, and odds are pretty good that even if you didn’t notice, you’ve heard it somewhere in the past week or so.