Music that belongs to a certain country or culture is interlaced with the history of the land, and there can be no denying the connection that the local people feel towards that particular brand of music. Cuban music is said to be one of the most recognized and well-known all around the world, and the reason for this could lie in its creolized (stemming from different languages) European and African origins. As many different people started passing through Cuba, its culture and its music started evolving from its early Indian roots and became a fusion of various different styles.
Cuban Music Culture
There are various different categories that Cuban music can be placed into, and each of them has its own roots and cultural significance.
This is the music that has been heavily influenced by African beats (and it is also the national folk music of Cuba), and it sounds very similar to Salsa music. The rhythm and the percussion sounds African, whereas the instrument that is plucked is similar to a Spanish guitar. The different types of Son music are Son-Montuno, Afro-Son and Guajira-Son.
The Rumba is a drumbeat based dance specific music that is synonymous with the African culture. This led to the rise of Bolero music in Cuba, which is simply a slower and romantic version of the Rumba.
A clear European influence can be seen in this style of music which incorporates the use of dancing, and eventually led to the birth of the Cha-Cha-Cha. Danzón first appeared in the 19th century, and it also led to Zapateo music which is heard in the Eastern part of Cuba.
The other types of Cuban music that are prevalent are Mozambique (a carnival kind of music), Yoruba (more focused on religious practices), Cuban jazz (Cuban rhythm along with American jazz), Conga (similar to Mozambique), Timba (new age fusion of hip-hop, rap and Salsa) and Changüí (which was an earlier version of Son).
About Cuban Music and Dance
Its study is something that will take years to complete, but here is some information about their music that any interested party should know.
- The countries that have influenced Cuban music are Spain, France, America, China and Puerto Rico.
- The African impact on Cuban music has been felt because of the presence of several African slaves who passed through Cuba in the past. The ancestry of many current residents can also be traced back to those times.
- Cabildos are social gatherings that are organized primarily by the African population where different music groups are invited to come and play their music.
- The most famous Cuban singer was Beny Moré and other important music artists include the likes of Celia Cruz, Chucho Valdez, Tito Puente and Gloria Estephán.
- The first source of that took people by storm in the US was El Manisero (The Peanut Vendor) in 1928. It was composed by Mosiés Simons and performed by Rita Montaner and sold more than a million copies of sheet music.
- Originally, there were around 50 different types of drums that they used. Today only the bongos, the congas and the bata drums are widely used.
Music lovers and aficionados all over the world can recognize Cuban music today with its distinctive fusion of Salsa, Jazz, percussion and several other styles. The unique blend of this music is what makes it so fascinating and steeped in history, and it truly shows the various stages of evolution that Cuban society on a whole has undergone. The country has traditionally been oppressed and suppressed, and music is a key channel through which the people unleash their pent up frustration, and this shows in the passion with which they regard their music.
There is so much more to learn about Cuban music but this will involve studying the details about the history of the land and the various stages of evolution of the music as well. Over time, anyone can develop a fondness for it, and it reinstates its power of bringing people together with magnificent ease.