The batá drums are the sacred instruments of Cuban Santería. They are made up of three hourglass-shaped drums of different sizes that perform specific musical functions. Their main religious function is that of establishing a medium between the believers of Santería and the God, or Orishas, that they beckon. The batá drums are of African (currently the territory of Nigeria) origin. Additionally, these drums are connected to the worship of the Orishas professed by the Yoruba that still inhabit that land today.
The Yoruba slaves, brought to Cuba during the latter end of the 18th century, recreated many forms of life, traditions and customs in this part of the New World just as they had been observed previously on the African continent. One of the most important cultural aspects that these slaves brought was that of the religious system of the Orishas, professed in Africa by the Yorubas people.
The Marimbula belongs to sansa family of that originated from the Bantu cultures of sub-Saharan Africa. The sansa instruments create sound by plucking or striking the metal fingers. Sansas also include the Kalimba or African thumb piano. Unlike the Kalimba, the Marímbula can be easily tuned and therefore used harmonically as well as rhythmically.
The term Afrocuban-Music includes music of ritual, festive-religious as well as secular events. These are directly tied to the musical cultures of Africa. These African musical traditions were all included in one form or another when Cuban music was in its development. Four major influences are the musical culture of the Yoruba (including theIyesá), the Arará, the Congo, and the Carabalí (generically used to identify the Ibibio slaves).
Casino Rueda (Rueda de Casino) is a group dance and features two or more couples who exchange partners based on someone calling the turns. Rueda means wheel in Spanish and Casino is the term in Cuba for what we call in the US, “Salsa”. There are several core steps that are danced the same all over the world, although some variations exist. On top of that, there are localized steps that many times mock popular culture icons.

Arsenio Rodríguez is arguably one of the most influential composers and musicians of popular Cuban music, is being commemorated for his 100th birthday.

Even though many people aren't familiar with trova, and particularly nueva trova, it is a very diverse genre of music. Nueva trova, part of  the "song" genre, generally talks about the politics of everyday life and is a rebirth of the old troubadour movement which spread news by way of song.

Most people know what is arguably the most famous Cuban song ever written, but do they know the composer?

The song is Guantanamera, and the composer was Joseito Fernandez. Ask just about any Cuban and they will not only know the verses, but most consider that the song represents the spirit of Cubans everywhere.

I finally moved all of the free gigasamples to their own domain! You can find all the .gig files from both Worra's Place and the Cuban samples from this site on Giga Samples. I also plan on adding some conversions to other formats as I get time.