Priest, in santería.


String instrument looking like a lute, used in accompaniment in guajira music. In the past, it was provided with 3 strings, but today the instrument is used with 12 strings, grouped by 2.


Columbian popular dance, also in use in other West Indies and Central America countries.


People of Bantú origin, that is to say, Congo. As they say in Cuba : "Que no tiene de Congo tiene de Carabalí" (the one that not have Congo blood, this one have Carabali blood).
Musically, they traditionaly used the three yuka drums. Macuta is a Bantú profane ceremony.


The batá drums are the sacred drums of santería. As such, they are the most important for Afro-Cubans. They are three : Okónkolo, or Omelé (the little) ; Itótele (middle size) ; and Iyá (the largest), the leader.

They have two skins, and are played by the two sides, with the hands. The world batá means drum, in yoruba language.

Special article HOT SALSA in prevision.


Afro-Cuban dances and ceremony dedicated to the orishas.


Spell put by a sorcerer... and also the name of a well-known song, in which Spanish language is mixed with Bantú language (Kiriribú Mandinga, kiriribú Mandiga...).


Abakua drum. It is an element of a three drums ensemble, named Enkómo.


Drum with one skin, used in Cuba, in particular during the Santiago Carnival.


The Cuban bolero, a musical and dance style, keeps no much likenesses with its old ancestor, the Spanish bolero.

Romantic, sometimes too much sentimental, it takes its inspiration in opera tunes, French romances and Napolitan songs. Ponctuated by a 2/4 time, it developes classical and sophisticated melodies, immediately familiar for Occidental ears, with poetic lyrics talking about nostalgia, charm of women, and thwarted love.

Amalgam of diverse influences, this style becomes stabilized near 1880 in Oriente, region in the East of Cuba, popularized by the trova singers. In their boleros, they plays guitar in a special way, with syncopation, called rayado.

Tristeza, maybe the first bolero, was composed in 1885 by José "Pepe" Sanchéz, singer and self-taught guitarist. In the begining of the 20th century, bolero style really reaches Havana, and established itself in peñas and bars, because of musicians arrived from Oriente, like Sindo Garay.

During the ‘20ties, the bolero crossbreeds with the son, and gives birth to the bolero-son, popularized at this time by the trios and the septetos. Today, a modern bolero-son style is sometimes called balada, or salsa romantica. By our time, the style, like a young man, is in great form : each salsa record contains one or two boleros, where the public judges the singer’s quality ; his interpretation must be faultless.


Big drum used in Puerto Rico. Name of an African dance and song.


Drum originating from Europe, and from military use. Its diameter measures about 50 centimeters, and it have two skins.

This portable instrument is used during carnivals and played with bass drumsticks.


Traditional abakua drum, about 1 meter size ; in its top, the diameter is about 20 centimeters.


Well-known percussion, frequently used. The little drums, fixed by two, are hold between the knees of the percussionist (bongocero) ; he plays in sitting position.


Bongos player. In a salsa band, generally, he plays also campana (cow-bell) ; during the piece, he alternates bongos and campana.


In the middle of the 60ties, in the USA, Latin music is in crisis. Pachanga, that shakes dancers from few years, begins to run out of steam from 1965. With its big bands, pachanga is not adapted to the brand new times, getting excited about the sound of the Beatles (came from England), about twist (a degradation of rock’n’roll), and about the nervous rhythm’n’blues, seriously subdued by the Motown’s commercial soul music.

The swing of the Latin big bands seems like an old timer in the young Latinos’eyes born in New York ; they don’t care about their roots, and more and more they identify with Black Americans : both of them know what hard living conditions are, and both of them visit every day the bad side of the American dream.

From this fusion -Latin music, twist, rhythm’n’blues- the boogaloo rises. The new fashion, generally using English for the lyrics, looks for commercial success. Sometimes it succeeds, with hits like I like it like that by Pete Rodriguez, who is sacred “ king of boogaloo ”.
Affected by the virus, all the Latin musicians are converted to the new fashion, and try to take advantage of the commercial effects.

The lyrics of boogaloo are generally devoid of interest, but the musical impact is powerful. Some people think that boogaloo is only a degradation of Latin music ; but it’s also an adaptation to the change of time, that prefers a more agressive and nervous sound.

Sign of times : hundreds of little groups grow like mushrooms after a summer rain ; the line-up - more compact and more adaptable than old big bands - make easier their formation and expression.

The silly but effective boogaloo (and its few variants like shing a ling, and afroloo) reach its highest point in 1967 ; it regns on Latin music till the early ‘70ties, before to be dethroned by salsa, for which it prepared the ground. Following in its wake, salsa is going to win a bet : to overflow the restricted Latin audience, and be established to last in the White market.


When you blow into this pitcher, you get a deep and low sound : in the past, son bands used a botija, for want of bass.

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