Cuba is a fascinating island, and for many, the forbidden island. Salsa Blanca has been teaching about Cuba for over 15 years, and we hope that you enjoy our articles on Cuba and Cuban music.

Whether you are interested in taking a trip to Cuba and want to know what “the real Cuba” is, or love Cuban music. There is plenty to see on this site. For the musicians, we have extensive information and musical examples of classic Cuban music styles as well as modern Cuban music.

You can’t understand Cuba without understanding Cuban culture so we have included several articles on Cuban Santeria and Cuban dance.

We specialize in music from Cuba as well as Cuban culture, Cuban Dance, and Cuban travel and are adding more articles all the time. Please support the site and consider buying one of our  DVD’s, CD’s and Books on CubaCuban musicCuban Culture, and playing Cuban music.

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A sad day for Cuban music

Juan Formell

Most of you probably heard, but in case you didn’t, Juan Formell died yesterday. He was the founder of Los Van Van and an innovator in Cuban music with the formation of Songo with Blas Egües and Changuito.

Here is a taste of what he created with Los Van Van. This is the start of what now is called timba (and that is a debate in itself) Read more »

Enid Rosales – and the Cuban tres

I read an interesting article on cubanow.net interviewing Enid Rosales, one of the new wave of tres players in Cuba.

She talks about using the Cuban tres in areas beyond traditional Cuban son and popular music.

Rosales graduated from Instituto Superior de Artes (ISA) where she is also a professor now. She is also known for her work in the nueva trova genre as well as classical and foreign genres.

Tumba Francesa presentation

I just ran across a very interesting presentation on Tumba Francesa. It was given by Mirta Gomez at the beginning of the year for the Library of Congress. It was from the beginning of 2012 and I don’t know how I missed it.

I have to say, I only know a little about Tumba Francesa and am glad to know more.

Tumba Francesa is a musical style as well as a mutual aid societies created for the influx of Haitian refugees to Cuba after the Haitian revolution in 1791. It derives from slaves originally from the Congo, but also other influences including Western classical music. This is the transculturation that Don Fernando Ortiz, the  famous Cuban ethnomusicologist.

It is a secular dance and music, that Gomez says is from the slaves watching the landowners dance minuets. It is thought that the slaves were making fun of the landowners and were playing the minuet parts not on Western instruments, but on tumbas (congas).

It must also be noted that this is the first known link from Haitians who fled to Cuba during the late 1700’s and Africa. This is not Afro-Cuban music, it is Afro-Haitian music blended with Afro-Cuban music.

Gomez states in the presentation, “When we talk about Tumbas Francesa, we think that most people think that it’s French. Tumba Francesa is not French; Tumba Francesa is Africa — is Congo, okay? And it is French because where it was developed, which actually developed in Cuba when these people had was the dances, they’re rhythms of when they came to Cuba, that’s when they really gave the name of ‘Tumba Francesas'; so they developed this in Cuba, not in Haiti. So Tumbas Francesas is actually what they call to the French ‘drums,’ but if not that is from France, if I show it from Africa; but if the circumstances in the situation of the time because there were the slave for French people, and because they’re dancing to the music of the minuet and the French court.”

There is also a transcript available for those who like to read. Here is the link to the presentation. http://www.loc.gov/today/cyberlc/feature_wdesc.php?rec=5562

If you are in Cuba or want to see some modern versions of Tumba Francesa, check out Ballet Folklórico Cutumba from Santiago de Cuba. http://www.cubanfolkloricdance.com/cutumba.php

Please leave comments.

A happy Cuba!

I love that you can now watch long videos on YouTube. There is a video I just ran across called “Cuba Feliz” that is awesome.

It was made in 2000 and follows a sonero nick-named Gallo on a journey to Santiago. He sings where ever he ends up, and there is some great Cuban music played along the way.

If you love classic son and bolero, you should watch this move. It is awesome if only from a historical perspective. This is the Cuba that I first knew and while not completely different, it has certainly changed. This was during the height of the “Special Period,” and shows that with music, food and friends, you can still be happy.

They show Cubans playing dominoes and dancing. Just watch it. It is fun. It won’t hurt.