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In the last blog we talked about the guaguancó and other types of Cuban rhythms.
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The sound of Son.
Son is the predominant musical force in Cuba and the symbol of the island. Structurally, there are two parts: an opening verse followed by a section of montuno in which the improvisation singer is answered by a choir. The sounds focus on a key rhythm.
Francophone immigrants brought new elements to the African and Spanish mix of Cuba, forging a son in the 1880 decade. Its success is attributed to the arrival of the Cuban radio in 1922 and the transmission of live bands. At the end of the 1920 decade, a trumpet was added and Son began to play.
One of the most significant sets, Septeto Nacional, began in 1927. The son, "El Manicero" (1928) was the first Cuban in Europe. By the 1940 decade, the Cuban son had become part of the mainstream popular music in North and South America, as well as in the Caribbean.
Two instrumentalists boosted the sound, Arsenio Rodríguez and Félix Chappotín. Rodriguez expanded his group with congas and more trumpet and percussion. Chappotín added tight horn arrangements. Another influential musician, Beny Moré, was based on a spectrum of styles, including guaracha, boleros and mambo.
The music and the revolution
After Castro's revolution in 1959, radio stations and record companies became state institutions. Many musicians left the country. For the Cubans who stayed, the US boycott meant a desperate struggle for economic survival. The post-revolution music scene changed to more local music centered on a system of musicians employed by the state.
The promising young musicians received a conservatory training and the professionals earned a state salary. In the middle of the decade of 1990 brought a change very well received. Musicians could work freely inside and outside the country. Successful musicians are among the highest paid professionals on the island.
The son goes on and on ..
All the best-known contemporary Cuban bands and musicians have evolved from the tradition of son. Two important types of music that have influences are rural peasant music and changuí. The most important sound group of the 20th century was Los Van Van. Adding a trombone, a synthesizer and a drum, they developed a sono variant called songo.
The Irakere group, the first major contemporary Cuban jazz group, was made in a jazz-oriented direction. The NG La Banda group set out to "search for Cuban music of the future", creating a new generation of son. NG The Band is still very popular and innovative, mixing rap and jazz. In the 1990 decade high profile soloists emerged who are key figures of the timba, a contemporary with influences of hip-hop and salsa.
Currently, the Cuban music scene is now more open than at any time since the decade of 1950, which allows continuous development.
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