Cuban rock

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Rock and roll in Cuba began in the late 1950s, with many Cuban artists of the time covering American songs translated into Spanish, as was occurring in Mexico at the same time. "The Batista police never looked kindly on Rock and Roll, and much less after the screening of films like Rebel Without a Cause and The Bad Seed, among others. After 1959, Rock and Roll followed the same path, although artists like Argentinean Luis Aguile emerged."[1]

When Cuba and the United States broke relations, some people considered rock "the music of the enemy, the language of the enemy". Then, there was the time of the Cold War, the Bay of Pigs, the Missile Crisis and the uprising of armed bands throughout the country. Nevertheless, rock continued to be played. And though it didn’t have a good reputation, it was tolerated. And though somehow its performers were considered to have a deviant ideology, many groups continued playing the genre. Among these were included Los Vampiros and Los Satélites. These bands were composed of black people and had a style similar to that of Limbo Rock in the United States. This was the origin of street rock. And the situation continued like that until 1965.[1]

The merit of Salvador Terry’s Los Vampiros and Los Satélites is unquestionable. They kept rock alive. In truth, they prevented the death of Cuban Rock and Roll and showed that black and mixed race people also loved it. From 1961 to 1964, they made people put aside the old quarrels and misunderstandings that rock was the music of high life of the white majority.[1]

Cuba, in a manner of speaking, is a genuinely musical country. An example of this is that today all the manifestations and subgenres of rock are performed, no matter how atypical they are.[1]

History of rock in Cuba[edit]

The fifties[edit]

The sixties[edit]

The development of Cuban Rock was disrupted by the Cuban Revolution. As Joseph Stalin had interfered culturally in the Soviet Union years before, Fidel Castro banned rock music in 1961 as being a corrupting American influence that had no place in the new Communist Cuba (ironically at odds with Marx's own liberal views on art and culture, not to mention the fact that many rock groups have espoused "left-wing" ideas). The ban was eventually lifted in 1966, but rock music adherents were still marginalized by the Communist establishment and looked upon with suspicion as "counter-revolutionaries".[2]

While the ban was eventually lifted, one group called Los Pacificos attempted a rock concert which lasted two hours. They borrowed instruments and performed their concert without previous rehearsal. The concert lasted two hours and was recorded. Los Pacificos paid a heavy price for their performance with one of the performers Carlos Davila dying in Angola in the 1970s. The recording was smuggled out of Cuba in the 1990s and was remixed into an album. The story of Los Pacificos earned the cover for an entry call in the John Lennon Songwriting Contest in New York.[3]

The Castro government's attitude towards rock until recently was quite negative, although it has varied greatly in severity throughout the regime's existence. During the 1960s and 1970s rock was prohibited, although nueva cancion/nueva trova artists like Silvio Rodríguez and Carlos Varela would sometimes perform rock material. In more recent years, with the re-transition to a tourism-based economy, attitudes of the Castro regime towards rock have softened somewhat, not only towards domestic and Latin American artists but also towards foreign Anglophone artists.

The seventies[edit]

Near to the end of 70s Jorge Martinez Guitar Player and singer create RED a heavy metal band from Municipio Playa even before Venus, and make his own music mixed with covers, the singer Dionisio recognizes as an inspiration, for his late became a singer in the 80s this band put some hits on the radio like Murcielagos, Mako, La nueva historia, Burocracia and in TV with home records taped by Jorge this band was co-founder of a legendary Maria Patio in the lates 80s till 1990 when the band stopped.

The eighties[edit]

In the 80's, a heavy metal band from Municipio Playa were formed by Roberto Armada called Venus with Dionisio as a singer. They generated much success and created a headbanger following among Cuban youth the 80's. Punk Rock was introduced in Cuba in the late 1980s and gained a cult-type following among a minority of the youth.

A rock scene in Cuba is usually seen as small and underground due to official disapproval. However since the late 1990s, groups such as Burbles, Moneda Dura and Los Kent with Jorge Martinez gain a new dimension with his great guitar performance, sound and a musical lead put in a radar of new public. These bands performed rock music on Cuban TV, and the profile of rock music has risen, with concerts and festivals.

The 21st century[edit]

In 2001, the Welsh rock group Manic Street Preachers were invited to perform in Cuba.[4] Their concert was attended by Fidel Castro and others in authority. In 2004, Castro made a speech honouring the birthday of John Lennon (whose music, both with The Beatles and as a solo artist had been banned in Cuba). A bronze statue of John Lennon has been placed in a Havana park. The statue became notorious for being a constant target of vandalism by citizens who would detach and steal the statue's bronze glasses. Rick Wakeman, Sepultura and Audioslave played in Havana.[5]

Cuban rock cands[edit]


See also[edit]


External links[edit]