String Chamber

DANZAS CUBANOS, piano quartet

For over 200 years the popular music of Cuba has reflected its diverse ethnic and cultural history.  While its primary roots are in Europe (especially Spain) and West Africa, in recent years Cuban music has been a melting pot for even more disparate influences, including American jazz and popular music. Cuban music is a unique and exciting mix of styles.  Each of the three movements of Danzas Cubanos takes a particular dance music and adapts elements of the style for the concert stage.  The Cuban mambo was born from the earlier, more classical danzon.  Mambo came of age during the 1950’s and 60’s with artists such as Tito Puente.  The Cuban bolero--not to be confused with the Spanish dance of the same name--can be traced back to the “trova,” a simple romantic song accompanied by guitar.  As the genre developed it retained its romantic leaning and was popularized by a number of singing groups, including the legendary Trio Matamoros.  Timba is the most recent development in Cuban music.  While still strong on Afro-Cuban heritage, Timba mixes elements of rock, jazz and pop in with the traditional Latin rhythms.  Danzas Cubanos was written for the Atlantic Ensemble--Wei Tsun Chang, violin; Seanad Dunigan Chang, viola; Kirsten Cassel Greer, cello; and Jennifer McGuire, piano.