Cubans celebrate African roots

Edited by Lena Valverde Jordi
2021-05-26 18:58:31


Havana, May 25 (RHC)-- May 25th is Africa Day, and Cubans celebrate Afro-Cuban culture, which refers to the African legacy and its influence on Cuban nationality, our culture, religion, music, language, the arts.

According to experts, Cuban music genres such as son, conga, mambo, and chachachá combined European influences from Cuban Spanish roots with sub-Saharan African elements. They say Cuban music evolved markedly away from the traditional European model towards improvisational African traditions.

Exponents of traditional and contemporary Afro-Cuban culture are found in every artistic discipline from fine arts, to literature, music, dance, etc.

Some notable figures include National Poet Nicolás Guillén, also poet Nancy Morejón, painter Wilfredo Lam, percussionist, bandleader and arranger Federico Arístides Soto Alejo --better known as Tata Güines -- a master of the conga drum, and an influential figure in the development of contemporary Afro-Cuban music, including Afro-Cuban jazz, also singer and bandleader Benny Moré, singer, pianist and actress Rita Montaner, singer and pianist Bola de Nieve, composer and guitarist Leo Brouwer, singers Barbarito Diez, Miguelito Cuní, painters and sculptors Eduardo Roca Salazar (Choco) and Alexis Leiva Machado Kcho.

Other names include, singers Pío Leyva, Ibrahim Ferrer, Francisco Repilado ‘Compay Segundo’ and Omara Portuondo –all four members of the iconic Buena Vista Social Club, pianist Chucho Vldés, guitarist, singer and composer María Teresa Vera, among many, many others.

Among Cuban popular bands, considered great exponents of Afro-Cuban music Irakere, Síntesis, Adalberto Alvarez y su Son, Manolito Simonet y su Trabuco, Arnaldo y su Talismán and Formell y Los Van Van all stand out with a solid, vast repertoire and highly acclaimed in Cuba and around the world.

African Unity Day, also known as Africa day is celebrated annually on May 25th. It commemorates the founding of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) on this day in 1963.

On May 25th 1963, the leaders from 30 of the then 32 independent African states signed a founding charter in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The Organization of African Unity was created to help bring about change, freedom and independence to many African countries.

Since the establishment of the Organization of African Unity, a further 21 states have joined. South Africa became the latest and 53rd member on May 23rd 1994.


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