October 27, 2021
Africa News

Descendant of Cuban danzón creator revives genre

africanews– A treasure trove of Cuban Danzon music has been rescued by a group of the 19th century musical genre’s lovers in Matanzas, Cuba.

Musician and band leader Ethiel Faílde, the great-great-nephew of Miguel Faílde, the creator of Cuba’s national dance, worked alongside historical researchers and musicologists to find and restore 16 pieces for future generations.

Among those items discovered in the Matanzas archives were various Danzones and Danzonetes, a hybrid genre that among other novelties incorporate vocal interpretation.

Four of the recovered original musical scores have been resurrected and recorded by Ethiel Faílde’s Failde Orchestra on the new CD “Joyas Inéditas” (“Unpublished Gems”), produced by Cuba’s Egrem label.

The team involved with recovering the music located the various items in several institutions in Matanzas including the Provincial Library, the Concert Band archive and the local museum.

Despite the fact that the Danzón was born there in 1879, there were not many written clues or references to help find the original scores until the first decade of the 20th century.

The precursor of other typically Cuban music such as the mambo or the cha-cha, Danzón also spread to the Dominican Republic and Mexico where it remains very popular today.

Born of old Spanish contradanzas incorporating Afro-descendant musical heritage, the first Danzón was premiered by Miguel Failde and his Matanzas orchestra in 1879 titled “Las Alturas de Simpson” (“Simpson Heights”).

“I can tell you that it is one of the Cuban genres that has lasted the longest in time,” said Ethiel Failde.

“The Danzón is still alive.”

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