Top Ten Songs in Cuban Musical History

Pablo Milanés
Pablo Milanés
(Prensa Latina) Havana, Cuba – Even Cubans are astonished –and happy- with the constant evolution of music in this melodic island. Whenever someone thinks a certain genre, such as salsa, for example, is going to rule over the rest, up come some youngsters doing “Cuban rap”, putting new music to
old lyrics, and naming their bands with quite original titles. Cuban musicologist Helio Orovio considers that Cuba is among the countries which have made great universal contributions to musical genres. He believes the island is currently living “in a musical world of many different forms, which brings us to the postmodern turn-of-the-century concept: everything exists together, everything comes together; there is no hegemonic rhythm like the habanera, the mambo, and the cha cha cha were in their times.”

That is, tradition is present in even the “latest” pieces. And, Orovio himself –poet, bohemian, rationalist and author of the Dictionary of Cuban Music- provided a carefully selected list of ten songs which have reached the 21st century as hymns –and it’s foreseeable that they will become immortal:

1) Tu, by Eduardo Sanchez de Fuentes (Havana, 1874-1944), Habanera. It was the first Cuban song to reach universal category.

2) Almendra, by Abelardo Valdes (Havana, 1911-1958), Danzón.

3) La Tarde, by Sindo Garay (Santiago de Cuba, 1867-1968), Song.

4) Son de la Loma, by Miguel Matamoros (Santiago de Cuba, 1814-1971), Son.

5) Bilongo, by Guillermo Rodriguez Fife (Santiago de Cuba, 1908-1997), Guaracha.

6) Consuelate como yo, by Gonzalo Asensio (Havana, 1919-1991), Rumba.

7) Guantanamera, by Joseito Fernandez (Havana, 1908-1979), Guajira.

8) Que rico el mambo!, by Damaso Perez Prado, (Matanzas, 1916-1989), Mambo.

9) La engañadora, by Enrique Jorrin (Candelaria, Cuba, 1926-1987), Cha cha chá.

10) Yolanda, by Pablo Milanés (Bayamo, 1943), Nueva trova.

Author: Angel Romero

Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music and progressive music for many years. He founded the websites and Angel produced several specials for Metropolis (TVE) and co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for Televisión Española (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music and electronic music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World, Lektronic Soundscapes, and Mindchild Records. Angel is currently based in Durham, North Carolina.