Son Cubano

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The Son Cubano (short Son , from Spanish sonido : loud, sound, sound, tone) is a musical style from Cuba . The historical roots of Son Cubano go back to the middle of the 19th century.

Motifs from dance forms of the Spanish colonizers such as minuet , contradanza , bolero or zapateado mixed with the Afro-Cuban rhythms to create an independent musical style. In addition, there was the question and answer song as a further design element. In the improvised interplay between the first voice (mostly tenor ) and segundo ( baritone ), mostly everyday topics are dealt with, which is why the son is often compared with the North American blues .

At the beginning of the 20th century, this style of music came to the capital Havana . The sparse instrumentation of the Son groups - mostly trios with tres , maracas and claves - was quickly topped up with additional instruments ( double bass , guitar , bongos , trumpet ) to form a sextet or septet . In the 1940s they expanded into complete dance orchestras with piano , singers and brass sections , which were commonly called "conjuntos". One example is the Conjunto Chappottín , founded in 1949 .

The etymological derivation makes the Son Cubano's self-image clear: for the Cubans, it is the original sound of music, the mother of all rhythms. And in fact, such important Latin American musical styles as the cha-cha-cha , the rumba and the mambo emerged from it. It is also often referred to as the forerunner of salsa . The rhythm of the clave, which is struck in 32 or 23 time, determines whether it is danced with the beat or against the beat. Contra-tempo you dance Son and Cha-Cha-Cha as well as NY-Style or Mambo.

The Son Cubano also achieved its high status in Cuban music history because after independence from Spain it found its followers among white and black musicians alike. After the revolution , however, it became increasingly less important. The country sealed itself off from Western musical influences such as jazz or blues , which made further development difficult. The son has largely disappeared from public life even in Cuba - it has become "the music of the ancients". Son Cubano experienced a late bloom in 1996 with Ry Coder's world music album Buena Vista Social Club and in 1999 with Wim Wenders ' documentary of the same name , which made it particularly popular abroad in one fell swoop. Since then, there have been an increasing number of newly formed music groups in Cuba dedicated to the Son Cubano.


  • Orozco, Danilo. “Unity in diversity. The different forms of the son in Cuban music ”, in: Eßer, Torsten / Frölicher Patrick (ed.). Everything in my existence is music ... 'Cuban music from rumba to techno , Vervuert, Frankfurt a. M. 2004, pp. 163-184.

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Ned Sublette: Cuba and Its Music: From the First Drums to the Mambo (Engl.) . Chicago Review Press, Chicago, IL 2004, pp. 333-334.
  2. Leymarie, Isabelle. "Cuban Fire: The Story of Salsa and Latin Jazz." New York: Continuum Publishing, 2002. 130. Print.

Web links

Commons : Son Cubano  - collection of images, videos and audio files