Although, many argue that salsa originated in Cuba, Puerto Rico also played an enormous role in the orgin of salsa music. The Puerto Rican plena which can be found in salsa is a tropical sound accompanied by percussion, the plena is a uniquely Puerto Rican style that deals with contemporary events, it is often referred to as "el periodico cantado" (the sung newspaper.) It is composed of an alternating, call-and-response scheme between the soloist and the chorus. As time progressed and immigrants from Cuba began to migrate to the United States due to the Cuban embargo, salsa became a blend of many genres; hybrid that it is today. Salsa played an important role for these new immigrants living in the barrios of the South Bronx and Brooklyn at a time where there was violence, illicit drugs, and political and economic disparities among its community.
However, under the guidance and the Buena Vista Club album project of Juan de Marcos Gonzalez and Ry Coder, these veteran Cuban musicians were able to bring their music to the world and have it remembered by many people. The Buena Vista Social Club film also contributed to the spread of the Afro-Cuban music from these veteran musicians by giving a brief history of the musicians and showing their performances. The focus of this paper will be on one of the performances shown in the film, the song “Chan Chan” to be specific. “Chan Chan” is the first song to be performed in the film (5:10-9:04) after the film’s introduction. This song is performed in Le Carre, Amsterdam on the eleventh and twelfth of April of 1998.
The history of bachata Bachata is popular guitar music from the Dominican Republic. Now overwhelmingly successful among Latinos in the United States, bachata took shape over a period of about forty years in the bars and brothels of Santo Domingo, not gaining acceptance in its native land until about ten years ago. Young groups like Aventura have a similar relationship to original bachata as rock and rollers do to the blues, which has languished in the shadow of its more commercially viable descendant. In fact, the parallel between bachata and the blues is marked. Although bachata developed out of, and bachateros play, a variety of different rhythms, notably including merengue, the music which is specifically called bachata is a variant of the bolero.
Cuba was Spain’s stepping stone to the new world. It wasn’t long before it became a key trade route. It was used as a stop for any Spanish ships passing through carrying gold, silver, and other valuables. Around 1520 slaves began being shipped there from Africa and as a result, at one time Cuba was the worlds lead supplier of sugar. “Slavery in Cuba on the whole was a rural phenomenon.
As a leading producer of sugar, coffee, nickel, and tobacco, Cuba was attractive to entrepreneurs who contributed to a diverse cultural mix by bringing workers from Africa and Asia. Cuba was dominated as a Spanish colony until it’s independence from Spain in 1902. The migration of Cuban artists to Europe and various parts of the Americas such as Mexico and the United States has contributed another level of influence on the development of Cuban art and culture. Among the most important émigré artists is Wifredo Lam (1902-1982), who brought to Cuba from his long period of residence in Europe the influences of Pablo Picasso’s Cubism and Andre Breton’s Surrealism. The influence of these two movements with the emphasis of Surrealism on automatism and revealing the unconscious through visual and literary images, brought the new artistic developments of Europe into the Cuban artistic community.
Many characteristics of African dance have contributed to the dances and styles in America. This started when Africans were sent to North America starting in the 1600’s to work as slaves. The slave trade did not allow Africans to bring possessions, so all that they brought with them was their culture. Once the Africans arrived in America, and settled on the plantations, dance was one of the ways they were able to remember their home, family, and where they came from. Dance became a form of entertainment for themselves and their masters.
Latin music Latin music imported from Cuba (chachachá, mambo, rumba) and Mexico (ranchera and mariachi) had brief periods of popularity during the 50s. The earliest popular Latin music in the United States came with rumba in the early 1930s, and was followed by calypso in the mid-40s, mambo in the late 40s and early 50s, chachachá and charanga in the mid-50s, bolero in the late 50s and finally boogaloo in the mid-60s, while Latin music mixed with jazz during the same period, resulting in Latin jazz and the bossa nova fusion cool jazz. The first Mexican-Texan pop star was Lydia Mendoza, who began recording in 1934. It was not until the 40s, however, that musica norteña became popularized by female duets like Carmen y Laura and Las Hermanas Mendoza, who had a string of regional hits. The following decade saw the rise of Chelo Silva, known as the "Queen of the (Mexican) Bolero", who sang romantic pop songs.
Puerto Rico, an island in the Caribbean, off the coast of the United States was discovered in 1493 by Christopher Columbus and his entourage, who claimed the small island for Spain. Unlike any other nation in the Western hemisphere that was involved in the slave trade, Puerto Rico initially began with the African freemen who came with the Spanish conquistadors. Originally populated by about sixty thousand Taino Indigenous people, benign diseases and attempted sucides soon decreased the population. As a result, African peoples were forced into slavery to help build fortifications, work the fields, and carryout slave owner’s domestic work thus entering Puerto Rico in the Transatlantic Slave Trade. However, the enslaved African peoples didn’t just contribute to the development of this new island; their traditions are what inspired the culture that Puerto Rico is built upon today.
In the 20’s this music was Jazz. In the 80’s America saw the same urban African American culture embrace the hip hop movement. Similar in many respects with their secular themes, improvisation, polyrhythm, and use of call-and-response, hip hop became the new way to express the struggles while carrying on the tradition style of African American music. One of the most visible examples of hip hop’s roots in jazz is the basis of the art form, the beat. Hip hop originated when New York DJ’s began isolating the percussion breaks on funk and rock records.
Cuba is west of Hispaniola (Haiti and Dominican Republic), south of Key West, Florida, at the entrance of the Gulf of Mexico (Cuban Culture, 2012). Cuban Culture Cuba is known for its cultural diversity, built from Spanish, African, Chinese, North American, and others cultures influences (Cuban Culture, 2013). Cuban culture is rich in parts due to its racial mix that put together traditions, food, religions, music, and sports. The ethnic mix that took place in Cuba from the time of the Spanish colonization when Spaniards mixed with natives of the island and later with black slaves brought from Africa, gave place to a new individual , the mulatto which is known as the offspring of a black and a white individual (Cuban Culture, 2013 ) . Additionally, Cuba is unique for the people that live on this beautiful island.