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History of Cuban Music

In the Caribbean island of Cuba, people in the lineage of Europeans mostly Spaniards arrived in the early 1500 along with slaves from Africa and other freed slaves from other countries.

As time passed, different aspects of music and dance of Spanish and African groups blended together. It was when these Spaniards came to colonize Cuba European art music arrived in the country.

The history of Danzon, Son and Cha-cha-cha, the categories of Cuban Popular music are the most influential strains in cuban music history. The history of Danzon began in Cuba when the Haitians and French colonists fled to cuba in the late 1700's after the Haitian revolution.

They introduced Contradanza, a European based popular dance music which later evolved into Danza, out of which Danzon was created

Son music which originated in eastern region of Cuba laid the foundation of Salsa. Spanish and African influences are also observed in Salsa music. Son was earlier considered as a vocal music accompanied by Tres, Guitar and Maracas.

Son in Cuban music history is dated back to 19th century when the members of Permanente or the Army carried it out as they were sent out of their areas of origin as a matter of policy.

African music which stimulated Cuban music led to the formation of rumba music and dance style. Mambo, which arose in the late 1930's and early 1940's also uses african rhythms.

Cha-cha-cha is a slower version of Mambo which became popular in 1950. The afro-cuban religious music had created waves among the African in Cuba especially among santeria, a religion that mixes spirituality and Catholicism.

Cuban life was creolized and influenced by many countries like Spain, Africa, France and United States. Cuban music has in turn influenced and led to development of music forms like jazz, tango in Argentina, High life in Ghana, flamenco in Spain, afro beats in West Africa, cambia of Columbia and Dominican bachata and meringue.

Music from the rural areas of western and eastern Cuba developed into a style known as Cuban cancion or song. Cuban Cancion represented the country music of Cuba and was referred to as peasant music or farmer's music.

The lyrics of these songs are centred on life in the country, love, humorous topics. They are specially designed for events where dancing is involved and was mainly influenced by Spanish style.

The world loves salsa music and ballroom dance music which Cuban music created but many are not aware of the fact that the music they love was originally played through wooden and conch shell trumpets, hollow wooden drums, flutes and shakers.

When African influence contributed polyrhythmic percussion instruments and others like drums (bongos, congas, Bata), claves and cajone, breathtaking Cuban music was created by the Spanish guitar. Exhilarating Cuban music would not have been born without these instruments.

Article about: History of Cuban music

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