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The danzón

Published: 2016.05.11 - 18:18:44   /  /  Translated by Luis E. Amador Dominguez

The danzónIt is a musical genre that is part of traditional Cuban music. Its name is augmentative and comes from criollo dance that was, as we were told by the renowned Cuban musicologist and journalist HelioOrovio, "it is a collective figure dance. This is made up of pairs that are provided with bows and branches of flowers, which was very usual in the second half of the nineteenth century".

It seems that young people or the time required a more personal, intimate dance ... and so the danzón emerged; it is the kind of music that ''people dance close".

The creator of the rhythmic danzón was a Matanzas mulatto called Miguel Failde, who composed the first one entitled ''Las Alturas de Simpson'', which was released on January 1, 1879 at the Liceo de Matanzas that is currently the Sala White.

From that moment, and given the popular acceptance of the new rhythm, the Failde orchestra in Matanzas and that of Valenzuela in Havana versioned rumbas, boleros, guarachas, guajiras, operas and well-known pieces in the rhythmic danzón tempo.

The contest, which was hosted by the "Centro de Cocheros, Cocineros y Reposteros de la raza de color'', was the final impetus that led to the rhythmic danzón to become the favorite among dancers and people in general. For several years it has been considered to be the national dance of Cuba as an expression of Cuban identity.

Among the most famous danzones we recall "Almendra" by Abelardito Valdés; "El Bombín de Barreto" by José Urfe, which incorporated the voice at the end of the danzón; and "Lindas Cubanas" by Antonio María Romeo.

Today the tradition continues in Matanzas with the Miguel Failde Youth Orchestra, which is conducted by the talented flutist Ethiel Failde and the celebration of the International Danzón Encounter Miguel Failde in Memoriam. (By Juan Blas Rodríguez)

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