Cuban Culture


Cuban music blends Spanish and African influences. The Spanish colonizers introduced instruments such as the guitar and the violin. Africans brought Yoruba songs and rhythms and drumming. These two traditions have come together over time to produce distinctive rhythms and dances, including the bolero, the guaracha, the mambo, the rumba, the cha cha and the salsa. Popular music in Cuba often draws on the tradition of Cuban son. This was originally a dance performed by sugar workers that has been adapted for jazz instruments.

Every December, Havana hosts the New Latin American Film Festival. This is a very important festival for the Spanish-speaking world. Ballet is very popular in Cuba. Prima ballerina Alicia Alonso founded the Ballet Nacional de Cuba in 1948. Later, her husband, Fernando Alonso, founded the Camagüey Ballet.