Analysis of Traditional Cuban Music

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Music has always been a part of our lives. Even before we were born, we have actually “heard” the rhythms when our mothers used to sing and caress their wombs; and after they gave birth, lullabies were often played to help us sleep. The history of music spanned from humming, singing using the human voice itself to classical plays of the ancient civilizations of India, China, Greece, and up to the modern days where disco, pop, rock, metal, and many other genres have gained a great popularity. Hence, this paper is aimed at delving deeper into the music of the West and providing a detailed analysis of the traditional Afro-Cuban tunes.

Iré Elese Abure in Afro-Cuban Music

Folk music in Cuban culture has its roots in African heritage. These sounds were often heard in the Cabildos, a social club founded by African slaves brought to the Caribbean island of Cuba. One example of a modern group performing traditional Afro-Cuban music is Iré Elese Abure, which has Yoruba roots meaning “goodness from the hands of our brothers and sisters”. The musicians are a Chicago-based group steeped in the dance, song, and drumming customs and traditions of Afro-Cuban folklore.

The artists have played Candela (Palo Quimbombo) at the Myron R. Szold Music and Dance Hall on the December 9th

2016. The performance of the music band had a guagancó style that is a combination of percussion where three conga drummers, claves, which are usually played by the singer, and a maraca or a chekeré are providing the main beats. The voices of the vocalist and the backup singers are the essential components of the play. The dancing part in the live concert was presented by a couple dance of a sexual competition where the male attempts to “catch” his partner in an erotic movement called the “vacunao”.


The performance has a lively and energetic mood. The percussion triad began the tune by tapping the hands as the singer started the first few lyrics of the song. The rhythm of a melody was turning from moderate, slightly moderate, to a fast-paced tempo until it reached the last few choruses of the song. The voices of the backup helped the main vocalist attain the beautiful ring of the lively singing. When the dancing began, one could feel the wonderful groove of the song. Such emotions are naturally evoking a spiritual experience even if the person is only listening to the song in a video, and so much more if the one is witnessing the live performance.


According to the principles of the music band, the artists try to inspire others to appreciate and celebrate this kind of their tradition. Musicians have also admitted that the music they play on the stage reflects the practices they invoke in spiritual settings, and by intersecting the sacred and the secular, they hope that their collective talents and knowledge will make others share their own experiences and support their evolution. Apparently, music is not only a simple beating of the hands to an instrument, nor it is the singing of the human voice itself. Therefore, Iré Elese Abure meant to imply that music is the heart and soul of matters that make us humans and connect us to each other.

October 05, 2023

Entertainment Music

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