Popular Cuban Rhythms

First of all, its required to mention the Son, which it is defined according to the lyrics of a song (Suavecito by Ignacio Piñeiro)as ” the most delightful thing to rejoice the souls”. It is one of the basic forms of the Cuban music.

Its rhythm suggests the dance in couple following the cadence of the congas and the guitar. The bis is known as montuno. Bands as The Septeto Habanero and The Septeto Nacional Ignacio Piñeiro, made it popular among the common people because at the beginning the elites rejected this music and hypocritically considered it ” indecent”. Some classic authors are Miguel Matamoros and Arsenio Rodríguez, and other singers as Benny Moré, Miguelito Cuní and Félix Chapotín Unfortunately the Son is not frequently mentioned , but its commercial name is: Salsa. Celia Cruz definition of Salsa is perhaps the most complete: “It is a commercial name to gather Cuban rhythms”.

Salsas got its name in New York in 1973 by Johnny Pacheco and Jerry Mazucci, managers of the Fania Records. One of the first players in Cuba was Juan Formell and his band Van Van, created in 1969. New salsa bands have emerged in the Island nowadays, with contagious lyrics which are repeated everywhere. On the other hand, the salsa dance its called Casino.

In Cuba the “final test” of a Casino dancer is to participate in a Rueda. In order to dance in a Rueda it is required at least two couples, but the number could go up to twenty or thirty couples. Men should know the steps which are graciously commanded by one of them known as “the leader”.

The steps are called : “hit her”… she was a bad girl, “give me another one”… I dont like the one I have…, which give a spicy sense to the dance. However, the wide range of rhythms in the Cuban music includes many others as the Danzón, the Guaguanco, born in the rumbas in the slums and the modest neighbourhoods; the Mambo, the Sucu sucu and the Cha cha cha.

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