The Son de la Ma Teodora

Wednesday, January 10th 2024. | Cultural Traditions

A great mystery is around the popular Son de la Ma Teodora (Mum Teodoras Son). Some researchers affirm there is no document to testify its real existence and origin, and some others support the idea that it is a functional piece of the popular Cuban music.

Nevertheless, it has been accepted as the most ancient musical piece in Cuba, perhaps due to the desire to preserve the myth, despite the prevailing questions about its existence. The piece is supported by the story of two sisters named Teodora and Micaela Ginés, originally form Santo Domingo.

They established in Cuba and made one of the most popular bands at that time.

The band was formed by Pascual Ochoa from Seville, Pedro Amanza from Malaga and the Portuguese Jácome Viceira, along with the Ginés sisters. The well known novelist Alejo Carpentier discovered in the Son de la Ma Teodora valuable elements of the history of the Cuban music and the process of cultural assimilation, were Spanish melodies and instruments mixed with reminiscences of the ancient oral African traditions.

The son was performed in popular parties where its rhythm was well accepted. ¿Dónde está la Ma Teodora?/ Rajando la leña está/ ¿Dónde está que no la veo? / Rajando la leña está. Ma Teodora had assimilated the rhythms of the eastern part of the island reproducing them with a mixture of the Spanish couplet.

A curious detail is the fact that the bandore this woman played was the bridge instrument between the Spanish guitar and the Cuban tres, essential instrument to play the son and other Cuban rhythms.

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