Music came to Cuba with the ocean breezes, with the
fusion of different African rhythms and European
influences, but it germinated with the natural seeds
of the island.
Son, one of
the most important Cuban music styles, was born in an
area of southeast Cuba, based on elements derived from
Bantu African music, already totally fused with native
Cuban sounds, generating a melodious rhythm of
refrains, beats, intonations and the sonorities of the
Cuban Son has numerous variants, among them "Son
Montuno", the "Guaganco", the "Son
Habanero", the "Bolero Son" and the
eastern "Bachata". But the element that
brings them all together and given them a common
identity is the rhythm that sinks into your soul and
makes you take to the dance floor waist-to-waist with
your partner, cheeks almost touching.
The Cuban government ended up prohibiting this musical
genre in 1990s, considering it immoral, and therefore
it was initially danced in out-of-the-way places,
neighborhood courtyards, and dance academies only
frequented by the lower classes, and then almost
However, the rhythm was so melodious that the ban gave
way to passions. Its rhythm filled the dance halls of
Havana and the most important cities in Cuba, while in
the 1950s record stores spread this musical style far
Thus, classical song writers emerged, such as
Bienvenido Julian Gutierrez and Ignacio Pineiro, and interpreters
like trumpet player Felix Chapottin, and the singer
transformed into legend.
The mambo is danced,
left, and sung. It first had its root in the new
rhythm imposed by the Orquesta de Arcano y sus
Maravillas, which functioned as a type of stylistic
guideline for Prestes Lopez to compose his
"Mambo" danzon (1938), a Latin dance
In Mambo, the metal section achieves extra-ordinary
feats with melody, harmony and rhythm, with the
support of the saxophones, while the Cuban percussion
provides the necessary base to make the mambos that
would inaugurate the style worldwide, systematically
arise, such as "Rico Mambo", in 1951, which
was the first to popularize the rhythm.
Thus, with elements extracted from Son, variations in
the use of flute, and jazz orchestra arrangements,
Damaso Perez Prado, "King of the Mambo",
also known as "Seal Face", experimented
around, creating a rhythm that ended up spurring a
true musical revolution in the dance halls.
Between Perez Prado's flavorful moans and groans and
his speedy and well coordinated foot and arm
movements, the stage was set for men and women to move
in for the conquest, raising to the challenge of
translating the best of the voices, the voices of
mambo, with their body.
(dance of the jet set)
Danzon was born as a
result of the customs inherited from Haitian and
French migrations that took place during the second
half of the 18th century.
Its name is a play on the word dance and refers to a
collective dance of figures, formed by couples with
bouquets and other floral arrangements, which was very
common in the second half of the 19th century.
Miguel Failde was the creator of the first-known
danzon, "Las alturas de Simpson", performed
for the first time in the Cuban city of Matanzas, in
Danzon has maintained its statues through time as the
music of sensual elegance par excellence, featuring
the raised elbow, two-tone shoes, and fan in hand,
while the clarinet's role is to echo the genre's
sounds throughout the hall, where it is performed.
The rumba was born in
19th century on the outskirt of different cities in
western Cuba, possibly between Havana and Maranzas.
The word "rumba" has Afro-American roots and
it is recognized as a synonym for "party".
Rumba is accompanied by songs and ballads, as well as
the rhythm of different drums that gives spirit to the
On the other hand Conga, Bolero, Chachacha, Guajira,
Criolla and Salsa music are also part of
popular Cuban music.