Updated November 8 2022

Talking with Olavo Alén Rodríguez, it seems that kiribá is a song, rather than a true music style. Researchers haven’t found any other songs than the traditional kiribá, with some minor modifications of lyrics.


Kiriba is a style of Cuban Son from a different area of Cuba. It mostly originated in the Baracoa area, which is also where the Changüi was created. In fact where the fusion of Kiriba and Nengon takes place is where Changüi is invented. And where Nengon evolved, it evolved into Son.

Like Nengón, the Kiriba’s identifying feature is the constant alternation of improvisational verses sung by a soloist and a chorus. Generally Kiribá is played with tres, bongós, maracas, güiro, and marímbula, (this ensemble is similar to the changüi). Nengón and Kiribá are practiced in the mountain regions of Santiago de Cuba and Guantánamo.

In my book Cuban Masters Series - Cuban Tres, I show in detail examples of the tres parts in both Nengon and Kiriba. I also have examples of both played in a modern ensemble context.

Music Notation Examples#

Kiriba Ensemble Example image

Kiriba Ensemble Example (© Jon Griffin)

Videos#

Audio#

Kiribá Demo

Instruments#

Cuban tres

Marimbula

Bongos

Cuban Masters Series - Cuban Tres

Essentials of Cuban Hand Percussion