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Caribbean Studies: Music Selections

A guide for those interested in the literature, culture and history of the Caribbean.

1800s to early 1900s

"Son de la Má Teodora" is considered the oldest Cuban son, performed below by Celia Cruz but intially written in the 1570s. 

Danzón appears in the 1870s and dominates the Cuban music scene until the 1930s.

     

1960s-1980s

African influences can be seen throughout Caribbean music, from Jamaica's calypso rhythms reminiscent of West African and French influences (by way of Trinidad and Tobago) to Celia Cruz's use of words of African origin in her songs. Johnny Ventura's "El pique" discusses the hardships of Haitian workers on Dominican sugar plantations.