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Roots of Cuban music (II)

Havana, Cuba. – In the previous article, I elaborated on our African and Hispanic musical roots, mainly for those who don’t have enough information. This time, I intend to delve further into the former, mainly as regards to cultures and their musical instruments. Tambores Batá Let us deal with the Yoruba culture first. Like I said before, it was the most developed cult in the African ethnical... 

Roots of Cuban Music (I)

Havana, Cuba. – Cuban music is certainly well-known and enjoyed worldwide. Such fame is very much warranted since our country unquestionably ranks as a world music power, next to Brazil and United States. Obviously, most Cubans are aware, to some extent, of its roots. Others, however, due to very diverse reasons, lack enough data. Therefore, I would like to address the latter, if I may. Conjunto... 

Las maracas

Curious and singular musical instrument Havana, Cuba. – Those who are not precisely scholars, investigators, composers or performers of Cuban music may regard maracas as a minor instrument, compared to piano, violin, harp and so many others. Las maracas es un instrumento esencial en la música cubana However, common sense says it’s not so, because they play an important role in any band. That... 

Sierra Maestra ensemble, faithful to Cuban Son

Havana, Cuba. – “Sierra Maestra” ensemble was born for Cuban music and the whole world on October 20 1976. Jose Antonio Rodriguez and Juan de Marcos Gonzalez, like the rest of its members, were then studying Engineering and they baptized the new group with the name of Cuban highest mountain range. But what they didn’t know then is that they had begun an important chapter of our musical history. Conjunto... 

Havana’s seafront, the assorted stew of Cuban music

Havana, Cuba. – Havana’s seafront is not only a space where lovers nurture their passion under the moonlight or blazing sunbeams. When fishermen finally catch something there, after hours of patience, they show it as a valuable prize along the crowded concrete wall. It is also a space for music. Malecón habanero: El Ajiaco de la música cubana. Foto: ArtForStrangers (Flickr) Wandering minstrels... 

Omara: a life enchanted by Filin

Havana, Cuba. – The diva of Buenavista Social Club is also the symbol of an era in Cuban music that’s still in love with Filin. She was born in a musical neighborhood of Havana. Musicians swarmed Salud St. in 1930, when the beloved voice was born and nurtured from her own environment. Other figures of the Filin movement were born nearby. Concordia, Animas, Virtudes and Zanja were more than... 

Gretel Barreiro in the path of Cuban Music

Havana, Cuba. – Gretel Barreiro is gaining ground in our current musical panorama.  Although she certainly inherited her grandparents Manuel Duchesne-Cuzan and Carlos Fariñas’ talent, she treads her own path, without leaning on illustrious family names. Gretell Barreiro durante concierto en Bellas Artes. Foto tomada de Cubahora “Soy”, her letter of introduction in the record world, bears... 

Radio Cadena Habana: 73 years on the air

Havana, Cuba. – Radio Cadena Habana is the only survivor of a few radio stations founded in Cuba in the first half of last century and used the name “Cadena” (network). Such was the case of Cadena Suaritos and Cadena Oriental de Radio. René González Dussac, locutor de la revista musical en compañía de Yassek Manzano. Foto Yudith Llanio Through the years, the others either changed their... 

Electo Rosell, outstanding Cuban composer, violinist and orchestra conductor

Havana, Cuba. -  The outstanding composer, violinist and orchestra conductor Electo Rosell, known in Cuban musical jargon as Chepin, was born on November 7 1907 in Santiago de Cuba City. Electo Rosell, destacado compositor, violinista y director de orquesta cubano. Foto tomada de Internet He was an exponent of genres as popular as danzon, Son, guaracha, jazz, as well as classic music. At the age of... 

Antonio Gumersindo Garay

Havana, Cuba. – Sindo Garay was a great popular genius. How did he learn music? The answer sounds incredible, but it was through life itself. He created it in his mind, in his throat and with his hands on the guitar, the instrument that never left his side. A lined paper, scrawled with musical notes had no more meaning to him than a mysterious undecipherable hieroglyphic. Only his extraordinary...