Spanish colonists, who participated in the discovery and conquest of Cuba, came mainly from Castilla, León, Asturias, Andalusia and Extremadura, where they lived in very poor conditions. The immigration from Canary Islands is very important, because they form part of the background of the peasant culture.
In the nineteenth century Cuban peasants developed singing and dancing style called zapateo cubano, which has its origin in Spain, to its Cuban form. It was accompanied with tiple and the singer improvised in décima, ten-line stanza of poetry. Tiple had five double strings and very sharp sound.
The bandurria is with tiple and laúd (lute) part of the same family of instruments. Nowadays laúd is the most popular of this family.
In the actual groups of música campesina (peasant music) laúd is accompanied with other cord instruments in different combinations like: laúd, tres and guitar, laúd and two guitars, laúd and tres. Other instruments which may be part of the group are: claves, güíro (or guayo) bongó, tumbadora and bass (or marímbula). Sometimes they have also other instruments like trumpets in the group.
In the Cuban música campesina called Punto there are two stylistic areas: one is the western regions of the Cuba: Pinar del Río, Havana and Matanzas, and the other is the provinces of Camagüey and Las Villas.
In the western regions style the rhythm is free following the singer’s improvisation of décimas. The style is called Punto Libre. video
In the provinces of Camagüey y Las Villas Punto is called Punto Fijo. In this style the singer intones his tonadas with a regular and constant rhythm.
French immigrants came to Cuba, mainly from Haiti since the last decade of the eighteenth century to the early nineteenth century. They moved mostly to the eastern part of Cuba. One of the reasons for the migration toward Cuba was the slave insurrections in Haiti.
The total number of French immigrants and French of Haiti both slaves and owners was approximately 30 000. Majority of them were located in eastern part of Cuba: especially in Santiago de Cuba, Baracoa and Guantánamo. The immigrants of Louisiana and New Orleans also participated in the incorporation of French influence in Cuban culture.
Contradanza spread in the late 1700s from Santiago de Cuba to whole Cuba. Contradanza received African influences already in Haiti and in Cuba it evolved with more Afro-Cuban influences from improvising musicians, who mostly were black or mulattos. Contradanza were performed with orquesta tipica Cubana, which included cornet, trumpet, ophicleide, two clarinets, two violins, double bass, timbales and güíro. In the early 1900s orquesta típica developed to charanga francesa, which originally included flute, violin, piano, bass, timbal or paila. Later was added tumbadora (conga), two violins and three singers. video
Tumba Francesa is a musical and dance expression of slave or free blacks, who arrived in Cuba from Haiti. It has elements of African and European antecedents, specifically from Arará, Bantu and French background.
Percussion instruments to accompany songs and dances of Tumba Francesa are called: redublé or premier, secónd, bulá or bebé, catá and tambora. The names of the dances are: Babú, Grasimá, Jubá and Masón.
Nowadays Tumba Francesa can be heard only in Santiago de Cuba and Guantanamo. video
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