Facts about Cuban Music

Cuba is a Caribbean island that has imparted a wide spread influence on various musical styles in the last two centuries. The core of many Cuban musical identities lies in the "cabildos," a type of social unification amongst African slaves transported to the island. Cabildos maintained African cultural customs, and this continued following the Emancipation in 1886, which required Cubans to merge with the Roman Catholic Church. Simultaneously, a religion known as Santeria was emerging and has quickly increased all over Cuba, Haiti and other neighboring islands.

Santeria inspired Cuba's music, since percussion is an intrinsic aspect of the religion. Every deity, or orisha, is linked with emotions, vibrant colors; drum sequences; called toques, and Roman Catholic saints. Rudiments of Santeris music had materialized in well-known folk structures by the 20th century. 

Cuban music has its main ancestry in West Africa and Spain; however, through time it has been influenced by various genuses from differing countries. The most influential countries are Jamaica, United States, and France. Equally Cuban music has been enormously influential in various countries as well, adding to not only the growth of salsa and jazz, moreover other influences include West African Afro-Beat, Argentinean Tango, Spanish Nuevo Flamenco, and Ghanaian High-Life. 


The Culture of Cuban Music

Music that is part of a particular culture or country is interlocked with its history. Cuban music is thought to be one of the most popular and well-like music genres in the world. Some believe the reason is due to its creolized European and African genesis. As various people began visiting Cuba, its culture and music began to develop from its initial Indian origins and became a synthesis of numerous styles. 


Cuban music has a number of different classifications and each has its own ancestry and cultural importance:

A drumbeat influenced dance music; the Rumba is tantamount to African tradition. Thus becoming part of the "Bolero" music in Cuba. Bolero music is an easier and more romantic form of Rumba. 

This type of music has been profoundly affected by African rhythms. In addition, it is the Cuban national folk music with heavy tinges of Salsa. The beat and percussion is reminiscent of African sounds, while the instrument that is used is somewhat like a Spanish guitar. The differing kinds of Son music are Afro-Son, Son-Montuno, and Guajira-Son. 

Danzón has a palpable European influence. By utilizing dancing in its musical fervor, it ultimately led to the genesis of the Cha-Cha. It was first recognized in the 19th century, which pioneered the Zapateo music, and is heard in Eastern parts of Cuba. 

Other various types of Cuban music that are widespread are Mozambique, which is a carnival type of music, Cuban jazz together with American jazz, Yoruba is concentrated more on sacred practices, Timba is a new-age fusion of rap, hip-hop, and Salsa, Conga is comparable to Mozambique, and Changü, a previous adaptation of Son. 

Music enthusiast and lovers from around the world can identify with Cuban music today due to its characteristic synthesis of percussion, Salsa, Jazz, and various other styles. The inimitable intermingling of Cuban music is why it is so intriguing and infused with history. Cuban music shows the island's numerous phases of evolution that the Cuban populace as a whole has experienced.

If you would like information on traveling to Cuba and experiencing it's musical culture, check out our Jazz in Havana Tour held in conjunction with Jazz Times or our Cuba Music and Art Tour.