The Garland Handbook of Latin American Music

The Garland Handbook
of Latin American Music
Part Three: Nations and Musical
Traditions, Caribbean Latin
America, Cuba
Cultural Heritage
Three geo-cultural influences
• Taíno (Arawak)
• Minimal influence on contemporary Cuban culture/music
• Spanish (1492-)
• Introduced: instruments (i.e., laúd, bandurria, and guitar), military
bands, metered performed poetry (decíma), dances, and balladry
• Slaves brought primarily from West-African: Yoruba, Bantu, Carabalí
(Dahomey, i.e., Ewe and Fon), Hunguedde
• Cultural traditions and belief systems adapted to New World despite
• Significant influence on contemporary Cuban music culture
Development of Contemporary
Cuban Music
Three major phases:
• Musical genres distinctly Cuban emerge
i.e., Punto campesino, son, habanera, contradanza, rumba, comparsas
• Various influences
1902-1959 (The Republican period)
Importation of European genres and musicians
Social and political climate
Conscious development of a national musical culture
Dissemination and influence of Cuban traditions beyond Cuba
Development of concert music and professional popular music
Impact of media, recording industry, and tourism on Cuban musical traditions
Post 1959
• Transition to socialist government
• State sponsorship and oversight of Cuban musical traditions (preservation,
documentation, education, and dissemination)
Five main complexes
Punto Cubano
• Encompasses various rural genres of western and central Cuba (i.e., tonadas, puntos
fijos, puntos libres, and seguidillas)
• Afro-Cuban genre
• Instrumentation, musical structure exhibits African influences
• Most important musical genre (includes son montuno)
• Origins in eastern, rural Cuba
• Blends European and African influences in instrumentation, musical structure
• Embodied in Afro-Cuban forms and styles of singing
• Linked with European dance traditions (Late 1700s, French contredanses)
• Instrumentation and style encompasses various dance forms (i.e., mambo, and chacha-cha)
Developed in relation to development of specific genres
Music, Acculturation, and Stylistic
New World African Continuities
African influence prevalent in contemporary Cuban musical traditions
Formal musical elements
Approaches to, and uses of music
Examples for discussion: santería, rumba, and son
Consider the following questions:
• In what ways do santería, rumba, and son exhibit a continuity with African
musical traditions?
• Which might be considered the most African derived? Least? And Why?
• How were such traditions able to survive?
• In what ways do these genres reflect the confluence of African and
European traditions and beliefs?
• How might addressing such questions help us to understand processes of
cultural contact and change/adaptation [see Musical Dynamics]?