Son Cubano

Son Cubano

Infobox Music genre
stylistic_origins=Changui, a mixture of Spanish guitar and canción, mixed with Bantu and Arara percussion
cultural_origins=Late 19th century Oriente and Island Espanola
instruments=Guitar or tres, marímbula or double bass, trumpet, bongo, claves and maracas
popularity=Much in Cuba and elsewhere in Latin America
subgenrelist=List of son genres
subgenres=mambo, rumba, Son Jarocho, Son Huasteco
fusiongenres=Son montuno - Guajira-son - Bolero-son - Guaracha-son - Salsa music
other_topics= Music of Cuba - Anticipated bass - Clave

With roots on the island of Cuba, "Son Cubano" is a style of music that became popular in the second half of the 19th century in the eastern province of Oriente. The earliest known son dates from the late 1500s (the oldest known son is "Son de la Má Teodora", from about the 1570s in Santiago de Cuba). It combines the structure and elements of Spanish canción and the Spanish guitar with African rhythms and percussion instruments of Bantu and Arara origin.

While originally a Cuban music style Son has also become a word used for rural traditional musical styles of Spanish speaking countries and apart from the Cuban variant called "Son Cubano" other son traditions exist in Mexico where for example the Son Jarocho of Veracruz and the Son Huasteca of the Sierra Huasteca constitute distinct popular musical styles where the concept has been historically linked with indigenous musical styles.


The sisters Teodora and Micaela Ginez were black slaves who emigrated to Cuba from Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic and brought with them the new rhythm. "El Son de la Má Teodora" marks the birth of Son which Cubans have made their own and which formed the origin of modern Salsa.

Son is derived from Spanish, African, French Creole and native musical influences, arising first in Oriente province, reaching Havana around the 1880s. The most influential group from this period was the Trio Oriental, who stabilized the sextet format that soon came to dominate son bands. In 1912, recording began with groups like Sexteto Habanero (a re-named Trio Oriental) and Sexteto Boloña, and popularization began in earnest with the arrival of radio broadcasting in 1922, which came at the same time as Havana's reputation as an attraction for Americans evading Prohibition laws and the city became a haven for the Mafia, prostitution and gambling, and also became a second home for trendy and influential bands from New York City. A few years later, in the late 1920s, son sextets became septets and son's popularity continued to grow with artists like Septeto Nacional and its leader, Ignacio Piñeiro. Piñeiro experimented and by fusing son with other genres of music, formed guajira-son, bolero-son and guaracha-son. In 1928, Rita Montaner's "El Manicero" became the first Cuban song to be a major hit in Paris and elsewhere in Europe. In 1930, the Havana Orchestra took the song to the United States, where it also became a big hit.

on montuno

In the 1940s Arsenio Rodríguez became the most influential player of son, creating the modern Afro-Cuban sound, the "son montuno". Later Beny Moré and others helped develop salsa music. Arsenio Rodríguez was especially influential, incorporating improvised solos, toques, congas and extra trumpets, percussion and pianos. Beny Moré (known as the El Bárbaro del Ritmo, "The Master of Rhythm") further evolved the genre, adding guaracha, bolero and mambo influences, helping make him extraordinarily popular. He is now cited as perhaps the greatest sonero.


With the arrival of chachachá and mambo in the United States, son also became extremely popular but was usually called "rumba", which more properly refers to a specific genre of music. Son, mambo and rumba, along with other forms of Afro-Cuban music contributed to the development of salsa music, which quickly became perhaps the most popular form of Afro-Cuban music ever.



External links

* [ Video of "son" performed by Cutumba]
* [ History of cuban music, with section about son (in Spanish)]

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