Rumba - Essay Sample Dedicated to Ethnic/World Music

Published: 2022-03-14
Rumba - Essay Sample Dedicated to Ethnic/World Music
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Music Culture
Pages: 3
Wordcount: 601 words
6 min read

Rumba music is one of the oldest and most treasured forms of music and dance in Cuba. The music's origin could be traced back to the northern regions of Cuba like Matanzas and Havana. The music borrows significantly from the traditional African and Spanish music; however, the dance is mostly associated with Africa (BAILA Society). Though the music has changed considerably due to the contemporary derivatives made by the current generation, it still possesses the traditional traits identical to the original music and dance. This essay will explore the music and its characteristics.

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Rumba is at the heart of Cuba and is almost synonymous with the majority of Cuban cities. In fact, it is the most significant Cuban musical expression, in addition to being placed in different social places in the country; people simply enjoy dancing along to its rhythms. Additionally, the music is perceived as a major symbol of a marginalized section of the Cuban society (the humble) and is used as a means of expressing self-esteem, as well as enriching the lives of communities (UNESCO). Undeniably, it is also a source of joy for the society. After its creation, the music was a form of folk that kept people (the slaves) together and helped remind them of their ancestors; therefore, it did not have any distinct musicians. However, to date, a number of musicians have come up, and they try to connect with their audiences at an emotional level. Serve as a reminder as to what the songs and dances mean to the people or its intrinsic values to their lives. Therefore, the musicians will always try to evoke grace, sensuality, and joy that people can connect to and connect with one another (UNESCO).

Cuban Rumba is one of the most underrated, and it is slowly rising through the ranks and gaining recognition around the world. However, to the greatest extent, the music is functional and is used to serve a specific purpose for the people. During the pre-colonial and colonial period, it was associated with slaves who mainly sang it after a day's work, and they needed to blow off steam and connect with others (BAILA Society). In fact, the name rumba means dancing. To date, it is still functional and expresses the Cuban cultures showing how different people ought to behave. It is not only enjoyed by the elderly but also the young ones, especially during social occasions.

The music is widely different from the Western Mainstream music to a greater extent. Starting from the rhythm, the wording, the dances and the instrumentation, Cuban Rumba is very different from Western music. For most of it the western music, the words must make sense, and it must follow a certain rhythm that makes it possible to connect with the musicians or even sing along (for example country music). However, rumba starts with 'diana (s)' where the soloist utters meaningless syllables then proceeding to improvise the lyrics or a fixed song (Youtube). However, it goes ahead to create a rhythm that people dance. In terms of instrumentation, western music uses such instruments like guitars, pianos, bells, electric drums, etc.; however, the Rumba uses simple drums or boxes hit with hard objects like sticks, spoons or hands.

Work Cited

"Afro Cuban Rumba Music and Dance-Havana, Cuba." YouTube. Apploaded by Mathmuse, 25 may 2009, Accessed Feb 18, 2018.

"Cuban Rumba." BAILA Society. 2012. Accessed Feb 18, 2018.

"Rumba in Cuba, A Festive Combination of Music and Dances and all the Practices Associated." UNESCO, 2016. Accessed Feb 18, 2018.

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