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Cuban Music & Dance

June 27, 2018

Cuban Music & Dance

The music of Cuba encompasses a myriad of styles and genres and has a long, colourful history. While influences from Africa and Spain were predominant, Cuban music has also been shaped by the music of Europe, Latin-America and American pop music and jazz.

Son: the most influential genre in Latin–American music. It originates from Eastern Cuba’s working classes as a simple guitar and African percussion combination. It infiltrated the repertoire of classic big band sound. Its most famous exponent was Beny More “El Barbaro Del Ritmo” – the wild man of rhythm.

Mambo: The Mambo dance originated in Cuba where there were substantial settlements of Haitians. In the back country of Haiti, the "Mambo" is a voodoo priestess, who serves the villagers as counselor, healer, exorcist, soothsayer, spiritual advisor, and organizer of public entertainment. The fusion of Swing and Cuban music produced this fascinating rhythm and in turn created a new sensational dance. The style was popularised in the 40’s and 50’s and is enjoying a renewed popularity today.

Cha-Cha-Cha: In the slow Mambo tempo there was a distinct sound in the music that people began dancing to. This sound was called the Triple Mambo or Cha-Cha-Cha.

Bolero: A slow, smooth, sentimental ballad, performed to enhance the feeling of romance. The pain and pleasures of love are the subject of bolero. In Cuba there is no love without a bolero (love song).

Rumba: The rumba is a slow, sensuous, romantic dance with much flirtation. The dance have a "tease and run" theme in which the lady first flirts with and then rejects her partner. Unlike the Cha-Cha which is a happy carefree dance expression, the rumba effects a more serious and intense style. There are two sources of the dances: one Spanish and the other African. Cuba brought the two styles together.

Salsa: Is a catchall name for contemporary Latin-American Music.

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