Music has been an important element in the culture of Cuba for decades. Because of the country’s history and because of its location, the local music has been greatly influenced by the rhythms and tunes of other countries, namely Africa, the United States and the South American Hispanic countries.
This does not mean, however, that the people of Cuba have not created their own unique style of music. In fact, by combining a variety of styles and genres, a number of types of music specific to the island country have arisen through the years. In conjunction with this unique music, there have been a number of famous singers who have garnered regard throughout the world.
Unique Styles of Cuban Music
A number of music styles have been greatly influenced by Africa. As slaves were brought to work on sugar plantations hundreds of years ago, more and more people from Africa became permanent residents of the island. Because of this, African rhythms can be found in Cuban music through the centuries.
Four specific styles of local music that have themes and origins from African types include Mozambique, Rumba, Bolero, and Yoruba. The music of Cuba has also been directly influenced by European countries and the United States. A combination of European style and South American tone has brought about such unique styles as Cha-Cha music and a style called Zapeteo. A direct influence of the United States can be seen in Cuban Jazz. This style of music, which continues to be popular in modern times, combines a unique style from Cuba along with American Jazz.
Famous Cuban Singers
As more and more Cuban music became noticed in other parts of the world, a number of famous singers have arisen throughout history. Many of these singers went on to have a successful career, and several gained world renowned.
One singer, more known in the United States for his acting career, is Desi Arnaz. Well-known for marrying Lucille Ball and becoming the actor on the show “I Love Lucy” and co-owner of Desilu productions, Arnaz was born in Santiago de Cuba and was, for many years, the leader of a Cuban style band.
Another well-known singer, Ibrahim Ferrer, also born in Santiago de Cuba, began singing at a very early age as he worked to earn money for his destitute family. Performing in a mix of Cuban music with African influence, Ibrahim Ferrer released a number of albums and even took part in quite a few successful worldwide tours.
Born in Pinar del Rio province, he worked as a farmer and gathered a music band of family and friends. His major success was the CD "Guajiro Natural" and the song "Un montón de Estrellas". He died in a car accident in 2002.
Female Cuban Singers
Several Cuban female singers have also become quite well know throughout the world. Perhaps the most well-known of these is
Celia Cruz. Born in Havana during the mid-1920’s Celia Cruz was actually discovered as a child during a singing contest. She went on to gain world recognition as one of the only successful female Salsa singers.
In fact, in order to continue singing when Communism swept her home country, Cruz had to leave with her tour group and did not returned. Throughout her career, Cruz earned more than 20 gold records, making her, perhaps, one of the most successful musicians to have roots in Cuba.
Another famous contemporary female Cuban singer is Haila Maria Mompie.
Because of the unique nature of the musical styles that have been born in Cuba, the sounds and rhythms have continued to influence the musical styles of other countries. Cuban undertones can often be found in modern music in the United States, and many singers from the island have found success in the North American country as well.
Haila is born in Las Tunas Cuba (1974) and is one of the best Cuban singers of her generation. In her youth Mompie already felt a strong passion for singing and dancing. At the age of twenty she joined the music band "Bamboleo" as leadsinger.
In 1998 she joined the group "Azúcar Negra" and made successful international tours. After "Azúcar Negra" she started a well accepted solo career and produced several successful CD's.
She married to the Charanga Habanera singer Aned Mota.
Best of Haila Mompie
Andar Andando 3:51 No Me Parezco A Nadie 5:44 Tratado De Timba Con Salsa 4:57 Bemba Colorá 4:18 Quimbará 3:20 Qué Te Pedí 5:04 Solita 3:34 Cómo Voy A Decirte 4:47 Quién Fué 4:06 Esto Si Sabe A 4:15
Wise Quotes from Haila Mompie: "Keep your head up because you have every right to do so. Tell yourself that you are a great individual and believe, if you believe in yourself nobody else will either.
Create your own life, find it and then live it ... Do not forget that God has a wonderful plan for each of us, and we must learn to find out."
"A true friend is someone who knows you as you are, understands where you've been, accompanies you on your achievements and your failures, celebrate your joys, share your pain and never judge you by your mistakes"