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INTRODUCTION Argentinian tango and Brazilian samba may have provided strong competition, but it’s the sounds of Cuba that have dominated the Latin music world throughout the twentieth century and seem set to continue to do so well into the twenty-first.
Cuban music has proved influential in two distinct ways. The great richness of traditional forms still preserved on the island continues to fascinate new generations – witness the Buena Vista Social Club phenomenon. At the same time, much pan-Latin dance music, notably salsa, has developed from Cuban music more than any other ingredient.
The Rough Guide to Cuban Music describes the full range of this thriving musical melee, from its historic origins to its very latest hit manifestations in Havana, Miami, Paris and London. Each chapter highlights a particular aspect of the story – son, trova, boleros, etc – and culminates in a series of profiles of the most significant performers and the pick of their available recordings.
The primary aim in writing this book was to focus on popular music of a Cuban style played by artists of Cuban origin. Thus, purely classical or totally folkloric musics are described only to the extent to which they overlap with popular styles, or when they have exercised a traceable influence on the development of popular musics: Ernesto Lecuona, for example, features quite prominently as his work comprised both classical and popular. In the area of traditional music, the range of African-origin percussion is sketched in concisely as background, but the emphasis is on its wider popular developments, like rumba.
Limitations of space have meant the exclusion of some performers, while occasionally a relatively minor artist has been profiled, in order not to neglect a noteworthy but peripheral style or trend. Comments, favourable or otherwise, will be gratefully received and may well influence future editions – if Cuban musical and political development continues as dynamically as it has for the last decade, a new and fascinating chapter is even now in the making.
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Cuba is home to some of the world's most vibrant popular music in the world, from son and rumba to salsa and chachacha. The Rough Guide to Cuban Music introduces the full range of Cuba's varied musical traditions and tells the story of their greatest performers, legends like Beny More, Celina Gonzalea alongside more recent stars such as Carlos Varela. Includes features on the origins and development of the various musical genres, a biographical directory of over 100 key artists, with dozens of photographs. Also draws up some critical discographies, recommending the pick of each artist's output.About the Author:
Phil Sweeney is a writer and broadcaster with a special interest in Latin American music. He is an experienced interviewer who has met with hundreds of the key players in the Cuban music scene.
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