Acceptance or Challenge?
Edited By Izabela Handzlik and Lukasz Sorokowski
African rhythm, Cuban soul: The musical heritage of slavery in Cuba
Abstract: This article discusses the formation of the Afro-Cuban musical tradition – the key element and mode of expression employed by Afro-Cuban culture, closely connected to African traditional beliefs. In light of the fact that black slaves in Cuba worked in large plantation areas, and were often grouped in such a way as to include representatives of the same tribe, their masters could not control their conversations held in African dialects, which, in turn, contributed to the preservation of their culture in an almost original form. Cabildos – secret brotherhoods – also constituted a crucial part of African tradition transplanted into the Cuban reality, based on West African culture groups practicing traditional cults. As a result of the attempts of the Christian Church to attract slaves to Christian religion and their employing altars, accessories of cult and religious images, the phenomenon of religious syncretism took place, whereby African gods blended into a new cult which developed following the transformation of old beliefs and fitting them into the new, Christian mould. The main assumption of this article is to highlight the emergence of the Afro-Cuban culture, with a particular resonance of music, as well as the impact of slavery on the formation of the identity of the oppressed.
Keywords: culture, music, Cuba, slavery, identity, Africa, colonies, religion
The heritage of slavery in Cuba refers to the development of a new identity and new habits, involving the incorporation of new elements: religion, music, handcraft, folklore, and spiritual beliefs. The...
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