Cuban Music

Overview Music
  • Various different types of music
  • Famous musicians and bands
  • Cuban “country songs” are called “música guajira o campesina”
  • Salsa, son, rumba, mambo, pachanga,...

Cuba’s music is one of the aspects of this culture and society in which the coming together of other earlier cultures can be clearly seen. Not much is known about the folk music of the Indians who inhabited the island before the arrival of the Spanish. However, ever since the Spaniards have set foot in Cuba, bringing along African slaves with them, the music and dance in Cuba began evolving, combining distinctive elements from both roots.

African rhythms are evident particularly in the Afro-Cuban music used in the Santeria religion, a popular religion, resulting from the combination of the yoruba spirituality and Catholicism. On the other hand, it is in western and central Cuban “country songs” called “música guajira o campesina” that the Spanish element of musical influence can be found.

Instruments used in Cuban music include the claves, maracas, guiro, thumb piano, the cowbell, and other percussion instruments such as the bongos and conga drums. Some European-style instruments such as the guitar are also used.

The music and dance styles that are most popular in Cuba today include rhythms such as the salsa, son, rumba, mambo, pachanga, timba and cha-cha-cha.