Cuba is a small and beautiful communist country in the Caribbean. However they may not have a lot of money and property but Cubans are among the most cheerful, musical and outgoing people on earth. The unique sound of Cuban music traces back to the Yoruban and Congolese cultures in West Africa. (Music in Latin America and the Caribbean) Over thousands of slaves were brought over during the 1880s, and along with them their styles of music. A few of the instruments brought over are still used in Cuban music today such as the bata drums.
After a while, Cubans began to invent their own instruments such as the tres (a small Cuban guitar with three pairs of strings) and bongos. The farmers in the Oriente made many of the instruments, where many immigrants from different ethnic and musical backgrounds had settled. Many people embraced music during this time because it gave them hope and spirit during their time of struggle. Another major influence on Cuban music was the Spanish. They introduced the guitar, which came with dramatic Spanish sounds. (Music in Latin America and the Caribbean) The Spanish influence also accounts for ballad singing.
The tradition of singing ballads and protest songs go back a long way, and was revived in the 1970s. During the 1880s the slaves were usually required to speak the language of their masters, the Spanish farmers, this was when African music began to use Spanish influences. The son is Cuba’s national music and dance, and is the origin of many types of music in Latin America. Son was the first music to mix Spanish lyrics with African rhythm as said on (Latin American Research Review). There are many types of son, a few varieties include: mambo, salsa, and timba.
The rumba, mambo, salsa, and Cuban jazz all have roots in Afro-Cuban son rhythms that originated more than two centuries ago. (Music in Latin America and the Caribbean) Son was a type of folk music sung on plantations in the hills of Oriente during the late 1800s. They sang about love, humor, and patriotism, though nowadays they include political and social views. The radio later popularized son throughout Cuba in the 1920s.
Latin American Research Review Volume 41, Number 3, 2006 pp. 185-200 | 10. 1353/lar. 2006. 0040 Music in Latin America and the Caribbean: An Encyclopedic History, Vol. 2 pp123-150