Home 9 Volume 2 9 Cuba: A Quasi-Historical Sketch


Malena Kuss

CUBA STANDS ALONE as the only Caribbean island ruled as a one-party socialist state since 1959. By comparison with the commanding majority of blacks in other nation-states and dependencies in the region, whites constitute approximately one-half of the total population, estimated at over 11 million in 2004. The largest of the Greater Antilles, Cuba also has one of the highest literacy rates in the world, calculated at 96 percent according to 1999 figures and surpassed only by slightly higher rates in the former British colonies of St. Kitts and Nevis and Trinidad and Tobago. Cuba was “discovered” by Columbus on his first voyage (1492) and colonized by Spain since 1512. It remained a Spanish stronghold in the Caribbean until 1898, when it became nominally independent under U.S. control for a period of four years. From the establishment of the Republic of Cuba in 1902 until 2006, its history is unambiguously framed by the 1959 Revolution that reversed the overriding capitalism of the first 57 years and redirected sociocultural priorities. The impact of cultural policies on institutionalization and musical production are explored at length in Robin D. Moore’s Music and Revolution: Cultural Change in Socialist Cuba (2006).

In 1998 the distinguished musicologist Zoila Gómez García (1948–98), who was completing several essays for the third volume of this work at the time of her untimely death, argued for the use of the term “Cuban” instead of “Afro-Cuban” to subsume the deep African roots—or, for some, rhizomes—subtending the island’s inexhaustible supply of musical wealth. By substituting “Cuban” for “Afro-Cuban” the African legacy is not only legitimized but appropriated, embraced while also relegated to the role of “antecedents” in discursive representations consolidated in the writings of Argeliers León (1918–91) and his distinguished students. As an unambiguous certitude, it privileges the contributions of Cubans in the creation of musical discourses built on such antecedents, transcending remote origins without undermining the significance of other cultural tributaries converging on Cuba’s particular “crucible of historical coordinates” (Carpentier 1977). These antecedents are set forth in “Music in the Life of Africans and Their Descendants in the New World” (in this collection of writings). In this essay, León addresses the fundamental role of timbre in a conception of performance organized into monochromic timbric bands, which, unfolding the density (or “mass”) of their respective metric-rhythmic layers in a cyclic disposition of time, project an overall polychromic texture in space. For León (echoing Fernando Ortiz), the African mind does not conceive of a performance in abstract terms, but as an embodiment of interactive locutions that, serving communicative functions, most likely originated from an extension of sounds found in nature. The prominence of timbre linked to specific functions in textural bands unfolding their metric-rhythmic locutions in low, middle, and high registers and thereby temporally extending “sonorous masses” in space, constitutes, for León, the main contribution of Africans to the musics of the Americas.

Africans were brought to Cuba between the early-to-mid-sixteenth century and the cessation of the slave trade by 1867. Among the largest groups were Yoruba peoples from former kingdoms in the area of present-day Nigeria and the Bight of Benin (called Lucumí in Cuba), and Bantu-affiliated Kongo peoples from the former Kingdom of the Kongo in the present-day Republic of the Congo, Angola, and even Mozambique (called Congos in Cuba). Also culturally significant were smaller groups of Ewe-Fon from the former Dahomey, now Benin (called Arará), and the Efík from the Calabar region of southern Nigeria (called Abakuá or ñáñigos and also known as Carabalí) (Fernández Robaina 2003: 56–57). In some cases, the metaethnic denominations by which these groups are known in Cuba reflect the colonial practice of recording arrivals according to the names of ports from which the ships had sailed. The Efík, for instance, are called Carabalíes after the city of Calabar, which was a major slave-trade port in southeastern Nigeria.

Initially, Africans were brought in to supplant a dwindling population of mostly Arawakan-affiliated Taínos forced to work in gold fields and mines. By the 1550s, the extraction of precious metals had been exhausted and an indigenous population estimated conservatively at 112,000 at the time of contact—that included a small percentage of Ciboney—had been reduced to some 3,000 (Guanche Pérez 1999a). According to Alan West (1997: 188–89), the production of sugar was introduced by colonists from the Canary Islands in 1515, and, with cattle raising, it replaced mining as the main economic activity in the 1530s. The number of enslaved Africans remained relatively small up to 1650, when it was estimated at only one-sixth of the population (West 1997: 289). Between 1790 and 1820, and taking advantage of the Haitian revolution (1791–1803) and independence (1804) that ravaged Haiti’s economy, the Spanish Crown sought to seize the French monopoly of coffee in the world market—and also sugar—by strengthening its plantations in Cuba. Approximately 227,000 African slaves were brought to Cuba between 1790 and 1820 to work on plantations. This demographic influx coincided with a migration of coffee planters who, fleeing unrest in Haiti, settled in eastern Cuba with their entourage of slaves and contributed to an economic development of major proportions that transformed a largely dependent economy into a major producer, capable of imposing prices and generating considerable revenues for the Spanish Crown. In his Historia económica de Cuba (1974), Julio Le Riverend quantifies this growth in terms of coffee plants, which increased from 108,000 to 1,100,000 between 1803 and 1807 (Alén Rodríguez 1986: 11). (See also Zobeyda Ramos Venereo, “Haitian Traditions in Cuba,” in this volume.)

If coffee can be traced to the highlands of Ethiopia and reached Europe from the Muslim world, tobacco is indigenous to the Americas. According to B. J. Barickman (1996: 245),

Archaeological evidence indicates that it had been domesticated by 3500 B.C.E., if not earlier. Many pre-Columbian societies smoked tobacco, often as part of religious ceremonies or in the context of ritual healing—practices that have survived not only among Indian groups but also in [African-based syncretic religions such as] candomblé, Umbanda, and Santería. Early European explorers commented on the strange habit of smoking leaves and carried samples of tobacco back across the Atlantic. The commercial potential of the plant became apparent only from the end of the sixteenth century onward, when snuff and pipe smoking gained widespread popularity in Europe and then in Asia and Africa. Thereafter, tobacco quickly became a major staple in the colonial export trade.

The land needed to expand the sugar plantations in the nineteenth century was obtained at the expense of smaller tobacco farms, which were pushed to the western and eastern areas of the island. For Fernando Ortiz (1881–1969), the prolific polymath of Cuban culture, a socioeconomic history of the two staples that defined Cuba required the mediation of literature (1940a in 1983: 13):

En el azúcar no hay rebeldía ni desafío, ni resquemor insatisfecho, ni suspicacia cavilosa, sino goce humilde, callado, tranquilo y aquietador. El tabaco es audacia soñadora e individualista hasta la anarquía. El azúcar es prudencia pragmática y socialmente integrativa. El tabaco es atrevido como una blasfemia; el azúcar es humilde como una oración. Debió de fumar tabacos el burlador don juan, y de chupar alfeñiques la monjita doña inés. También saborearía su pipa fausto, el inconforme sabio, y sus grageas margarita, la dulce devota.

In the translation by Harriet de Onís (Ortiz 1940a in 1947: 16),

There is no rebellion or challenge in sugar, nor resentment, nor brooding suspicion, but humble pleasure, quiet, calm, and soothing. Tobacco is boldly imaginative and individualistic to the point of anarchy. Sugar is on the side of sensible pragmatism and social integration. Tobacco is as daring as blasphemy; sugar as humble as a prayer. Don Juan, the scoffer and seducer, probably smoked tobacco. Faust, that discontented philosopher, probably puffed at a pipe, while the gentle, devout marguerite nibbled at sugar wafers.

Poeticizing reality as only Cubans can, Ortiz summons the image of a controversia—the entrenched Hispanic tradition of improvised duels between folk bards—to weave his web of dialectical relationships on “the two real protagonists in the history of Cuba” (1940a in 1983: 2). If sugar tempted the merchants’ greed, tobacco aroused their senses and challenged their virtue. Tobacco is male, sugar female; tobacco is black, sugar is white; tobacco grows, sugar has to be manufactured; tobacco is an unnecessary passion, sugar an indispensable carbohydrate. And, of course, from sugar comes rum. The antithesis unfolds an infinite number of possibilities. Sharing climate and soil, their differences are mirrored in the history of the Cuban people, from their ethnic configuration and social matrix to their political vicissitudes and international relations. In this text Ortiz also made ethnomusicological history when he introduced his counterpoint to the term “acculturation,” into which he read an insufficiency of implications. Challenging the prefix, he proposed “transculturation” to build process, reciprocity, and more radical transformation into a concept that could account for many types and levels of cultural contact and confrontations. The significance of this early attempt at decolonizing discourse was not lost to Polish anthropologist Bronislaw Malinowski (1884–1942), who had met Ortiz in 1929 and wrote the preface to the first edition of Contrapunteo cubano del tabaco y el azúcar (1940a). The English edition, in a masterful translation by Harriet de Onís entitled Cuban Counterpoint: Tobacco and Sugar, was published in 1947. (See also Kartomi 1981 and Kuss 1992a: 331–32, fn. 7.)

Columbus appears to have carried the first tobacco leaves to Europe, and, according to Franklin W. Knight (1978: 84), the first sugarcane plants from the Spanish Canary Islands to Hispaniola on his second voyage in 1493, completing the duo’s “roundtrip.” Echoing Ortiz, Knight traces the beginning of the sugar industry in Cuba to the last decade of the sixteenth century. Production faltered, despite a measure of support from the Spanish Crown, which, for instance, loaned producers 40,000 ducats in 1595. The capital, slave labor, and large supply of cane needed to support sugar mills “were beyond the individual means of most early colonists” (1978: 84–85). In the French and English Caribbean colonies, the sugar industry thrived during the eighteenth century. When France lost its lucrative colony of Saint-Domingue to Haitian independence, European demand for sugar increased, and, as in the case of coffee, the Spanish Crown seized the opportunity to capture that market by invigorating plantations in Cuba, apparently the last Caribbean island to develop the industry. By the late 1820s there were about 1,000 plantations covering some 500,000 acres located mostly in western Cuba and spectacular increases in production led to the construction of a railroad system in 1837 (Kit 1996: 187). This full-fledged and booming plantation system depended on the regular replenishment of slave labor, but, by 1808, the British had abolished the slave trade and were forcing Spain to sign a treaty in 1817 that went into effect in 1820. Although outlawed, traffic continued illicitly until 1867, increasing the influx of slaves while intensifying a climate of rebellion that brought together enslaved and free blacks supported by pro-independence white abolitionists. One of the most notorious uprisings was the 1844 Conspiracy of La Escalera, which implicated three influential figures in Cuban history. The poet Gabriel de la Concepción Valdés (1809-44), known as “Plácido,” was accused of complicity without evidence and executed in Matanzas; he is remembered as a martyr and as a symbol of freedom whose verses live on in the oral tradition. Domingo del Monte (1804–53), the most important literary critic in 19th-century Cuba, died in exile after being falsely accused of involvement, and José de la Luz y Caballero (1810–62), a liberal thinker and influential teacher, stirred ardent polemics when Spanish authorities also linked him to La Escalera conspiracy (Hernández 1996: 476). Only when the growth and resistance of the black population posed a threat to the security of plantocrats was the cessation of the slave trade considered. The cause found its “most brilliant voice” in José Antonio Saco (1797–1879), a Bayamés who taught philosophy in Havana, and, using the power of the pen on the island and from exile, wrote a monumental Historia de la esclavitud de la raza africana (1875–1879 in 1937) (Iglesias García 1996: 309; Powelson 1996: 6). As the slave trade began to lose ground, contracted laborers from Spain and the Canary Islands, as well as Chinese indentured workers, were brought in to replace slaves on plantations. The first wave of Chinese immigrants arrived in 1847. In “The Chinese Presence in Cuba” (in this volume), María Teresa Linares—the doyenne of folk music studies and former director of Havana’s Museo Nacional de la Música—captures the tenacity with which mostly Cantonese immigrants retained their traditions within a basically incompatible cultural environment.

The road to independence was fraught with failed attempts that began in 1810. As the creole plantocracy opposed independence because it was linked to abolition and the loss of slave labor, the impulse came from a breed of young intellectuals who were journalists, poets, philosophers, and educators. The poet José María Heredia (1803–39), for instance, a major figure in the transition to romantic literature, was forced into permanent exile in 1824 for his involvement in revolutionary activities. “Exile of course is not an uncommon fate in the long era of political turmoil from the wars of independence to the close of the twentieth century” (Bush 1996: I, 393). When José Martí (1853–95), in an address he delivered at New York’s Hardman Hall in 1880, recalls an excursion of pan-Americanists to the site that inspired Heredia’s most famous poem (“Niágara,” 1824) and they raise their voices to summon his image, what they are singling out is “neither poetic achievement nor political resistance, but the reaffirmation of the trope of the poet as exile, whose distant perspective can comprehend a visionary American unity” (Bush 1996: I, 394). The figure of the brilliant writer and mesmerizing speaker shaping an independent Cuba from exile and thinking about Spanish-American hemispheric unity in Bolivarian terms is embodied in Martí, who spent 23 of his 42 years of life abroad and lived in New York for 14 of those 23 years. Envisioning a nation ruled by “civil supremacy,” he rejected autonomy under Spain as well as annexation to the United States while fending off “the threat of U.S. expansionism and the authoritarian proclivities of the veteran [Cuban] generals of the Ten Years’ War” (1868–78) (Hernández 1996: 535). His stance would prove to be prophetic.

Martí was a fifteen-year-old high school student in Havana when the Ten Years’ War (1868–78) erupted in the former Province of Oriente. Landowners seeking more profitable trade practices and modernized technologies in their expanding sugar mills organized the Reformist Party in 1865 and sought concessions from Spain, which convened the Board of Information on Reforms in 1866–67. The changes proposed by Cuban reformists included “gradual abolition with compensation, cessation of the slave trade, an immigration plan, free commercial exchange, and assimilation giving Cuba the character of a Spanish province” (Iglesias García 1996: 310). Spain not only refused to grant concessions but imposed an additional tax, igniting a separatist uprising led by Carlos Manuel de Céspedes (1819–74) on October 10, 1868. A member of the plantocracy who owned La Demajagua sugar mill near Manzanillo in the present-day Granma Province, Céspedes freed his slaves, and, invoking the Venezuelan Simón Bolívar and the Argentinian José de San Martín as predecessors, declared Cuba’s independence from Spain with the “Grito de Yara” that launched the Ten Years’ War (Kit 1996: 67).

Pedro Figueredo (1819–70), a lawyer and composer known as “Perucho” and born in Bayamo, had joined the conspirators and was asked in 1867 to provide the Cuban Marseillaise in advance of the rebellion. The revolutionaries failed to take Yara but succeeded in Bayamo, where Figueredo’s “La Bayamesa: Himno patriótico cubano,” which was to become Cuba’s national anthem, was sung for the first time to celebrate the victory on October 20, 1868. In the present-day Cuban calendar, this event is commemorated as “Día de la Cultura Cubana.” Figueredo had written the music for piano and sought the help of the Bayamo bandmaster Manuel Muñoz Cerdeño to orchestrate it in May of 1868. The text, which originally consisted of six four-line strophes of decasyllabic verses, famously was jotted down by the composer on horseback, as he was urged by exalted crowds to rush patriotic words for his music. In 1870, and after reaching the rank of general in the Cuban Liberation Army, Figueredo was taken prisoner and executed by Spanish troops in Santiago de Cuba. Identified with the idea of Cuban independence, his original music and text survived in an ever-changing oral tradition after the manuscript score disappeared in the chaos of war. As summarized by the distinguished historian and musicologist Jesús Guanche Pérez (1999b: 129–30; 2000: 318–19), the story of “La Bayamesa” unravels a labyrinth of appropriations and changes, even to a pasodoble, while patriots urged restorations and dozens of spurious editions surfaced during the Republican period (1902–58). In 1976 the second article of the Cuban Constitution reaffirmed the value of national symbols and two musicians, Cuca Rivero and Mario Romeu, undertook an analytical study of the song’s history, which they published with a new version by Romeu as “Himno Nacional de la República de Cuba.” By then, Ángel Figueredo, the composer’s youngest son, had brought into the fray the recovered original manuscript. According to Cuban scholars, the music reproduced below, with the anthem’s two most familiar strophes, should be attributed exclusively to Perucho Figueredo (Ex. 1).

Ex. 1: “Himno Nacional de la República de Cuba,” whose music and text were written in 1868 by Pedro (“Perucho”) Figueredo (1819–70). Originally called “La Bayamesa: Himno patriótico cubano,” this revolutionary anthem was composed for the insurrection that launched the Ten Years’ War (1868–78).

The second war of independence (1895–98) ushered in U.S. intervention (1898). The protracted Ten Years’ War had ravaged plantations, reducing their number to about half and forcing bankruptcies that made Cuban assets vulnerable to foreign investment, mainly from the United States. According to historian Wade A. Kit (1996: 187), some scholars have suggested that these interests played a role in the outcome of the second armed struggle, which was defined by the Spanish-American War of 1898. The architect of the second war was Martí, who had been living in New York since 1881. He formed the New York-based Cuban Revolutionary Party in 1892, assumed its leadership, and allied himself with the Cubans Calixto García (1839–98) and Antonio Maceo (1845–96), and with the Dominican-born Máximo Gómez y Báez (1836–1905), three military commanders who had fought in the Ten Years’ War. Calixto García, who was deported to Spain after also fighting the so-called Little War (1878–80), returned to Cuba to join the uprising of February 24, 1895. Antonio Maceo lives on as “a symbol of tenacity and unwavering patriotism” who saw the revolutionary wars as color blind and stubbornly rejected foreign help to win independence from Spain. He also stands as “one of the greatest guerrilla fighters of the nineteenth century and certainly the most daring soldier ever born on Cuban soil” (Hernández 1996: 480). When he was killed in 1896, after leading a successful invasion of western Cuba, he was second in command of the army headed by Máximo Gómez y Báez. A great military strategist, Gómez had joined Carlos Manuel de Céspedes’ “Grito de Yara” in 1868, went into exile after the Cuban defeat in 1878, and was entrusted by Martí with the military command of the Cuban Revolutionary Party in 1893. When Martí lost his life in Dos Ríos on May 19, 1895, Gómez assumed his leadership role in the revolutionary movement. He extended the war to the western provinces, issued a moratorium on sugar production instead of ravaging plantations, and, by 1897, the revolutionary forces had taken control of Matanzas and Havana (Fleming 1996: 60). The catalytic event that defined the outcome was the attack on the U.S. battleship Maine at the Havana harbor. The United States blamed Spain, which denied responsibility, and by April of 1898 both nations were at war. With the Cuban rebels still in a vulnerable position, the United States sent troops to Santiago de Cuba in May of 1898. Richly textured by history, Santiago is the place where Spanish domination began and ended in Cuba. Founded by Diego Velásquez in 1514, it was the seat of colonial government until 1553 and its cathedral, built in 1528, is associated with the creative journey of Esteban Salas (1725–1803), Cuba’s most distinguished colonial composer. The capital of the former Province of Oriente was the last Spanish stronghold in 1898 and also the symbolic site of Fidel Castro’s early attack on the Moncada Barracks, which he launched on July 26, 1953, during the celebration of Santiago’s famous carnival. When the Spaniards surrendered to U.S. troops on July 16, 1898, however, Cuban fighters led by Calixto García were not allowed to march into Santiago. “On this occasion García sent the U.S. military commander a letter of protest that is one of the high points of Cuban nationalism” (Hernández 1996: 23). The Cuban generals were all but ignored when the United States entered into the Spanish-American War that thwarted Puerto Rico’s political fate and kept Cuba under overt U.S. control for four years. After the Republic of Cuba was established on May 20, 1902, Gómez was considered for the presidency but he declined with a famous remark that echoed Martí’s commitment to “civil supremacy”: “Men of war for war, and men of peace for peace” (Fleming 1996: 80).

For Martí, the poet-warrior, “creating a free nation meant you had to act like a soldier and imagine as a writer” (West 1997: 3). The complicity of literature with political philosophy had been prefigured in the writings of Father Félix Varela y Morales (1787–1853), José Antonio Saco, and José de la Luz y Caballero, among others, but the breadth of Martí’s literary legacy and his freedom from self-colonization, cloaked in his rhapsodic and ambiguous metaphorical style, elicited multiple interpretations and galvanized political action. As Martin S. Stabb writes (1996: I, 601–602),

A wide range of themes is found in this unwieldy corpus of writings: the Cuban question, the broad issue of Hispanic American identity, foreign cultures (especially the rich comment on the united states), and a host of social, economic, and philosophical concerns. Yet Martí wrote no extensive integrated essay as did his south American counterparts Domingo Faustino Sarmiento (1811–88) or José Enrique Rodó (1871–1917). Martí’s position as a thinker and sociopolitical observer presents interesting problems. Though he wrote at a time when positivism and social organicism were dominant forces in Latin America, he demonstrated remarkable independence of thought in the face of these powerful trends. Recent polemics surrounding his ideological kinship to the ideas and ideals of the cuban revolution of 1959 have raised additional questions. For intellectuals supporting the Castro regime Martí was clearly a precursor of the revolution. Others, however, view him as much less radical than the castristas would have us believe, and in support they point to his espousal of the ideas of Simón Bolívar, Henry George, and Herbert Spencer—hardly leftists by any count. They also point to his basic affection for north America, despite his frequent censure of Yankee society. The truth may well be somewhere between these two contrasting views. What must be remembered is that Martí was not an ideologue; rather, he was a perceptive observer whose occasional critical darts were characteristically tempered by a remarkable spirit of generosity. In short, he could point out the evil in people or the injustice in institutions while still seeking the good: he seemed incapable of hatred.

From a plethora of essays, pamphlets, and journalistic reports, “Nuestra América” (1891) emerges as the clearest example of Martí’s “fervent Americanism,” predating the famous Ariel (1900) by the Uruguayan José Enrique Rodó by almost a decade (Stabb 1996: I, 603). The following excerpts from “Nuestra América,” an essay published almost simultaneously in New York and Mexico City (La Revista Ilustrada de New York, January 10, 1891; and El Partido Liberal, January 30, 1891), have not lost their relevance to postcolonial studies in the early years of the twenty-first century:

El gobierno ha de nacer del país. El espiritu del gobierno ha de ser el del país. La forma de gobierno ha de avenirse a la constitución propia del país. El gobierno no es más que el equilibrio de los elementos naturales del país. Por eso el libro importado ha sido vencido en américa por el hombre natural. Los hombres naturales han vencido a los letrados artificiales. El mestizo autóctono ha vencido al criollo exótico. No hay batalla entre la civilización y la barbarie [a reference to sarmiento], sino entre la falsa erudición y la naturaleza …. La Universidad Europea ha de ceder a la Universidad Americana. La historia de América, de los incas acá, ha de enseñarse al dedillo, aunque no se enseñe la de los arcontes de grecia. Nuestra grecia es preferible a la grecia que no es nuestra …. La colonia continuó viviendo en la república; y nuestra américa se está salvando de sus grandes yerros—de la soberbia de las ciudades capitales, del triunfo ciego de los campesinos desdeñados, de la importación excesiva de las ideas y fórmulas ajenas, del desdén inicuo e impolítico de la raza aborigen—por la virtud superior, abonada con sangre necesaria, de la república que lucha contra la colonia …. Ni el libro europeo, ni el libro yanqui, daban la clave del enigma hispanoamericano …. El lujo venenoso, enemigo de la libertad, pudre al hombre liviano y abre la puerta al extranjero …. El desdén del vecino formidable [the united states], que no la conoce, es el peligro mayor de nuestra América; y urge, porque el día de la visita está próximo, que el vecino la conozca, la conozca pronto, para que no la desdeñe. Por el respeto, luego que la conociese, sacaría de ella las manos …. No hay odio de razas, porque no hay razas …. Peca contra la humanidad el que fomente y propague la oposición y el odio de las razas ….

Government has to stem from within a nation. The spirit of government has to conform to the spirit of the nation. The form of government has to be shaped by the character of a nation. Government should be nothing more than the balance between elements organic to the nation. This is why the ordinary folk in [our] América have defeated the imported book, the artificially lettered. The common people have prevailed over pretentious erudition. The American mestizo has conquered the self-exoticized criollo. There is no conflict between civilization and barbarism [a reference to Sarmiento], but rather between false erudition and nature ….

The European university must give way to our American university. The history of América, from the Incas to the present, must be taught in depth, even at the expense of Athenian magistrates. Our Greece is preferable to the Greece that is not ours ….

The colony [however], held its grip on the republics; and our America is beginning to amend the errors of its ways—from the arrogance of its capital cities and aggressive advances of blind campesinados, to the excessive reliance on foreign ideas or formulas and the unjust or iniquitous disdain for native Americans—in a type of republic that struggles against colonization through a superior brand of virtue birthed from bloodshed …. Neither the European nor the Yankee text could decipher the Hispanic-American enigma ….

The poisonous love of luxury, the enemy of freedom, corrupts the weak and opens the gate to foreign intrusions …. [our America’s] formidable neighbor [the united states] holds her in contempt because it does not know her, and this contempt poses the greatest danger to our America; it is imperative for our neighbor to get to know her better, and soon, because the [neighborly] visit is imminent, and only knowledge can mitigate that disdain. Respect, based on deeper knowledge, would keep the neighbor safely at bay …. There should be no racially motivated hatred because there are no races …. Those who propagate and encourage racism commit a sin against humanity.

The power of the pact with literature in Martí’s posthumous canonization was captured by Alan West in his brilliant introduction to Tropics of History: Cuba Imagined (1997: 3):

Martí’s greatness derived from his ability to offer an image or dream of nationhood that wholly embraced a complex, multidimensional people and body politic. His death (1895) before the nominal achievement of independence (1902) no doubt helped make his subsequent iconization an even more potent rallying point. By welding together an empowering political discourse with an imaginative poetics, Martí founded a unique kind of subjectivity, as well as a more inclusive definition of nationhood. Martí viewed politics as an art form, poetry as a kind of Edenic adventure naming / creating the world. His generosity of spirit viewed the human subject as a crossroads engaged in an Emersonian cosmic dialogue. Poetry as an aesthetic creative language is a nonmanipulative corrective to the desiring, acquisitive, pragmatic exhortation of politics and science. Poetry’s way of thinking avails itself of relatedness, ethical questioning with no ready-made answers, and a knowledge derived from wonder, and steers away from the realm of utility, moral certitude, and narrow cognition …. Martí’s quest for sovereignty at every level was inclusive. His nationalism embraced an internationalist perspective which artfully mixed in the ideas, cosmologies, religions, science, and art of Latin America, Europe, North America, Africa, and Asia. In his vivid poetic parlance, he has set a standard for all Cuban writers, the poet-warrior, one which will probably never again be embodied in one person.

Martí did not live to see his fears materialized. Cuban-U.S. relations dominated the Republican period (1902–59), from the reluctant addition of the Platt Amendment to the Cuban Constitution in 1901, to January 1, 1959, when General Fulgencio Batista y Zaldívar (1901–73) fled to the Dominican Republic and Castro marched into Havana. The Platt Amendment (1901–34), according to which the United States had the right to intervene in Cuban affairs whenever it deemed it necessary, was accepted by Cubans by a narrow margin in exchange for the withdrawal of U.S. troops, and Cuba ceded its naval base in Guantánamo Bay, which is still under U.S. control. Batista, who ruled constitutionally from 1940 to 1944 and largely unconstitutionally from 1952 to the end of 1958, rose to political power in 1933, after the promising presidency of Gerardo Machado y Morales (1925–33) turned into a repressive dictatorship (1929–33) and was overthrown. West (1997: 192) has characterized the Republican era as “relatively democratic, plagued with periods of tight control (1929–33 and 1952–59), [and], despite [the] progressive constitution [of] 1940 …, marked by corruption, inefficiency, and nepotism, undergirded by dramatic social and economic injustice.” Independence, however nominal, always is followed by constructions of the idea of nation.

In Cuba, the ideal of Indo-Afro-Hispanic unity was prefigured in the foundational legend of the apparition of the Virgen de la Caridad del Cobre, patron of Cuba. The legend surfaced in a pamphlet by presbyter Bernardo Ramírez written in 1782, which, published in Santiago de Cuba in 1829, refers to a lost manuscript by D. Onofre de Fonseca dated 1703 and to historical records of 1688. According to the legend, the Virgin appeared ca. 1604–1605 in the Bay of Nipe to three fishermen caught in a storm. The fishermen, who eventually came to be called Juan Indio (an Indian), Juan Odio (a Spaniard), and Juan Esclavo (an African), are the three Juanes of Indo-Afro-Hispanic Cuba. When the fishermen caught in a tempest invoke the Virgin, she appears and calms the seas, protecting the three races navigating in the same canoe (Arrom 1971; Kuss 1992b). This blissful equanimity also implied submission to the Catholic Church, the religion of the dominant culture, which Indians and Africans respectively subverted by worshiping the Virgen de la Caridad del Cobre as Atabex, the Indian Mother of the Waters, and as Ochún, the African “goddess of the waters, love and fertility, rains and harvests,” according to Ortiz (cited in Arrom 1971: 211–14, fn. 49). The imaginaire surrounding the cult of the Virgin Mary, however, is a uniquely Cuban creation. In the words of José Juan Arrom (1971: 214),

Neither the icon brought by a Spaniard from Toledo, nor the beliefs contributed by the vanquished Taíno’s, or the beliefs retained by Africans torn from their homelands can be said to be Cuban. Uniquely Cuban, however, are the intimate unions of all these elements, the different meanings assigned to the apparition, the new feelings the virgin elicited, and the significance of the canoe portrayed at her feet that forever joins the three juanes …. The soul of the Cuban people thrives in this climate of marvel and miracle, of syntheses of creeds and aspirations. Prodigiously, the essence of our nationhood travels in that canoe.

In history, however, the utopian three Juanes played an unequal role in constructions of identity. During the Republican period, the primacy assigned by one composer to the virtually extinct Taínos belied the complex dynamics of class and race driving the construction of national myths. Coinciding with the emergence of a modernist and anti-establishment Afro-Cubanism that engaged powerful iconoclasts in literature and music between the mid-1920s and 1930s, the composer Eduardo Sánchez de Fuentes (1874–1944) turned to the first inhabitants in ironic complicity with the hispanophilic elites, themselves allied with the officialdom of which he was a part, as a rejection of the African legacy suppressed by governments and demeaned by the bourgeoisie during the first forty years of the Republic. In “El areíto de Anacaona,” an essay included in Folklorismo (1928: 7–18), Sánchez de Fuentes adduced the authenticity of a melody transcribed in Cuba primitiva (1883) by Antonio Bachiller y Morales (1812–89), who, by the way, did not vouch for its authenticity, as a point of departure to structure a theory in support of Taíno retentions in Cuban music. (For transcriptions of this melody, with different texts, see Sánchez de Fuentes 1928: 11 and Ortiz 1950 in 1965: 77.) Sánchez de Fuentes also attributed the creation of this “areíto” to Anacaona, the legendary Indian queen, a poetess and the wife of Caonabo, a powerful Taíno chieftain in Hispaniola during the governorship of Nicolás de Ovando (1502–1508). As part of Sánchez de Fuentes’ efforts to rescue an extinct culture of which there are archaeological sites of major importance in Cuba, but clearly no actual music and only a few instruments (the guamo, a conch shell; simple stone whistles; the mayohuacán, a wooden struck idiophone similar to the teponaztli, the Aztec slit drum; and the omnipresent maracas), he composed Anacaona (1928), a cantata imaged as “typically Cuban” in which he used this melody, and also reinforced his arguments in La música aborigen de América (1938). In addition, two of his nine operas, Yumurí (1898) and Doreya (1918), are based on indigenous legends. In the interpretation of Gómez García (2002: 678),

Although he did not venture into innovative terrain, we can assert that Sánchez de Fuente’s was the musician who best represents the artistic climate of the republican period’s first forty years. Within the same framework, two of his contemporaries, Amadeo Roldán and Alejandro Garcia Caturla, were the atypical ones traveling through unexplored paths who shocked the establishment with their works and remained largely misunderstood during their lifetime. By contrast, Sánchez de Fuente’s was successful, enjoyed the comforts of wealth, and represented officially the positions of governments and the dominant class, whose values he never challenged. He moved comfortably between the popular and academic domains, displaying in both fields a sophisticated command of artistic elaboration. His habanera “tú” [1892] has become a symbol of nationhood. Amidst contradictions, his writings and the quality and scope of his compositions defined a rich phase in the history of Cuban music.

In a different cultural climate, Sánchez de Fuentes’ resurrection of the Taínos would have been aligned with benign and earlier Indianisms, which were prefigured in 19th-century romantic literature—as in O guarani (1857) by the Brazilian José Martiniano de Alençar (1829–77) on which the composer Carlos Gomes (1836–96) based his most famous opera (Il Guarany, 1870)—and took different shapes across the continent. Other composers had claimed “authenticity” of spurious or imagined indigenous sources with more impunity in other contexts, as in the case of the opera Huemac (1916) by the Argentinian Pascual de Rogatis (1880–1980), whose Indianism was sparked by the writings of Ricardo Rojas (1882–1957), beginning with El país de la selva (1907), a collection of indigenous traditions from the province of Santiago del Estero. Pitted against Ortiz, the ideologue of Afro-Cubanism who, in fact, had coined the prefix “Afro” and also founded the Sociedad de Estudios Afrocubanos in 1937 (García-Carranza 1970: 29), however, the authenticity that Sánchez de Fuentes claimed for this apocryphal areíto melody did not have a prayer and took on racial undertones. “It is neither by Anacaona, nor is it even an areíto,” wrote Ortiz in Africanía de la música folklórica de Cuba (1950 in 1965: 77); rather, “it is a couplet creolized by the black practitioners of Vodou in Haiti which they summoned in their wars against whites” (1950 in 1965: 61). Ortiz had published similar thoughts in Los factores humanos de la cubanidad (1940b: 19) and elsewhere (see García-Carranza 1970), while the polemic that polarized Cuban intellectuals also raged in the press. In Africanía, Ortiz exhausts the possibilities of the topic. He devotes the first lengthy chapter to the Taínos, tracing references to this Arawakan-affiliated group in Spanish chronicles, and, in particular, to the elusive areíto, which he defines as “the most characteristic ritual of Antillean Indians who performed beliefs, commemorated their epic history, and expressed their collective will through the union of music, dancing, singing, and gesture” (1950 in 1965: 26; see also Thompson 1993). (Incidentally, the term areíto denotes an entire ritual event, rather than any single melody or part of the event.) For poets, playwrights, and musicians of the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries, the areíto acquired significance precisely because it could only be imagined, given the impossibility of reconstructing praxis with any degree of precision. Most importantly, Ortiz addresses every point in Sánchez de Fuentes’ writings, refuting the purported Indianness of this melody and analyzing its texts through the labyrinthine paths they traveled in a vast array of sources.

The Afro-Cubanist impulse (or negrismo) of the same period was prefigured in the writings of pro-independence abolitionists in the nineteenth century, as Vera M. Kutzinski reminds us in a penetrating survey of Afro-Hispanic literature (1996). Let us remember that, in Nuestra América (1891), cited above, Martí had envisioned a color-blind society: “Those who propagate and encourage racism commit a sin against Humanity.” He also issued a call for racial integration in “Mi raza” (1893), another famous text. The existing racial tensions were exacerbated during the U.S. occupation (1898–1902), “when military units were segregated for the first time in Cuban history,” and class trumped race when discrimination stemmed also from university-educated blacks, who “successfully petitioned the government of Tomás Estrada Palma [1902–1906] to ban comparsas and other forms of Afro-American public performance” (Kutzinski 1996: 169). Until the Platt Amendment was abrogated in 1934, after the presidency of Gerardo Machado y Morales (1925–33) turned into a dictatorship and was overthrown, Cuban governments also feared and took measures to avert U.S. intervention. According to Kutzinski (loc. cit.),

The Partido Independiente de color (pic) was founded in response to the 1908 elections when, despite both parties’ promises to end racial inequality, not a single black politician was elected to office. Ironically, the pic was outlawed in i910, mainly due to the efforts of Martín Morúa Delgado, the only person of color ever to become president of the cuban senate. However, by far the worst confrontation occurred two years later: the government of José Miguel Gómez brutally crushed race riots in Oriente and Havana when faced with the threat of U.S. military intervention. It also banned the secret society of the ñáñigos [abakuá or carabalí].

In Afro-Cubanism converged the writings of Ortiz, who set out to document the African legacy in a plethora of publications (see García-Carranza 1970), as well as those of the influential historian Ramiro Guerra y Sánchez (1880–1970), whose Azúcar y población en las Antillas was published in 1927; “a preoccupation with the avant-garde”; and a politically driven, anti-establishment identification with a discriminated sector of Cuban society whose cultural practices could be idealized by complicity with the European primitivistic utopianism of which Africanism was a part (González Echevarría 1977 in 1990: 42). Centered in Paris, the modernist crisis was reading abstract shapes into African functional artifacts displayed in museums and objectified as art. In Cuba “the black became an alluring other, who was nevertheless there, close at hand and nominally a part of Cuban nationhood [that] could be claimed as the point of departure in establishing a radical new beginning” (González Echevarría 1977 in 1990: 44). The identification of a minority of artists and intellectuals with Cuba’s African legacy was as much a reaction to racism and to U.S. imperialism as it was a reaction to aesthetic convention. If social engagement subverted the objectification—or cultural distance—of European modernism, Afro-Cubanists also channeled their voices in modernist languages. The poetry of Nicolás Guillén (1902–89) challenged conventional rhyme schemes with prescribed syllabic count, capturing instead the “tone and rhythm” of black Cuban speech. In his iconoclastic Motivos de son, published in the Diario de la Marina on April 30, 1930, eight characters speak in the first person “without mediation or contextual setting on the page. No scene is described: these are actually performances that use the black rhythmic idioms of [the] son in order to expand the parameters of what was socially accepted conventional representation” (Quiroga 1996: 336). Guillén also summons reiteration “to construct according to the laws of rhythm …. The unfettered sensuality of language and tone in Motivos de son strikes the reader immediately. Nothing happens in these poems except their own happening” (loc. cit.). One year later, in 1931, Amadeo Roldán (1900–1939) set Guillén’s initial eight Motivos de son for voice and eleven instruments—two clarinets and trumpet; violin, viola, cello, and string bass; and bongó, maracas, clave, and cencerro—in a style that, “essentializing rhythms and timbric combinations characteristic of son ensembles,” also calls for vocal virtuosity (Gómez García 2002: 349). The work was premiered in New York on April 15, 1934, and in Havana on March 28, 1937, conducted by the composer. The score, which Henry Cowell brought out in his New Music Edition, was the only work that Roldán saw published during his lifetime. The “performativity” of these poems (“Negro bembón,” “Mi chiquita,” “Mulata,” “Búcate plata,” “Ayé me dijeron negro,” “Tú no sabe inglé,” “Si tú supiera,” and “Sigue”) marked a turning point in literature and attracted other composers. According to Gómez García, the undisputed authority on Roldán’s music (2002: 344–50), Alejandro García Caturla (1906–40) abandoned the composition of his own Motivos de son when he learned that Roldán had completed the cycle, but “Mulata” stands as “an anthological page by Caturla” (2002: 349).

Several complicities favored the European reception of Roldán and Caturla, which in turn canonized them at home. They abrogated functional tonality, aligning themselves with alternative systems of pitch organization that included octatonicism with modal interaction, which is compatible with block construction. In “Stravinsky: The Progress of a Method” (1962 in 1972), Edward T. Cone examined “the apparent discontinuities that so often interrupt the musical flow” in the Russian master’s music:

From le Sacre du Printemps [1913] onward, Stravinsky’s textures have been subject to sudden breaks affecting almost every musical dimension: instrumental and registral, rhythmic and dynamic, harmonic and modal, linear and motivic …. Such shifts would be noticeable in any context, but they are especially so because of other peculiarities of Stravinsky’s style. A change of chord after a long-continued static harmony comes as a shock; so does a melodic leap interjected into a predominantly conjunct line; so too a new temporal context after a metrically persistent rhythm (1962 in 1972: 155).

Roldán and Caturla appropriated motivic and rhythmic markers mostly from the semantic fields of the danzón, son, and rumba, all of which had been invested with meanings in the popular domain and were regarded as “authentically Cuban” by collective agreement. Whether historically accurate or inaccurate, collective consensus constructs aesthetic truths (Dahlhaus 1974 in 1980: 92). From the mid-1920s until their untimely deaths (1939 and 1940, respectively), these composers identified mostly with semantic fields that would assume symbolic roles in the construction of the idea of nation. The more European but syncopated danzón acquired the status of a national symbol in the 1920s and 1930s; the son that displaced it was represented as the quintessence of fusion; and rumba, whose character is unabashedly “African,” would come to signify the reversal of social hierarchies after Castro’s Revolution. Popular music was integral to Roldán’s and Caturla’s experience; they themselves performed it in various contexts, assimilating it at subconscious levels that enabled them to distill explicit and recurrent traits as well as principles of construction, especially the variation principle inherent to many forms of popular music. From African-based traditional practices, they assimilated precisely the concept of spatial projection of timbric bands unfolding in reiterative time cycles that León addresses in “Music in the Life of Africans and Their Descendants in the New World” (in this volume). As Ortiz set out to document these practices, rhythmically interactive membranophonic and idiophonic timbric bands already were defining the timbric identity of popular music ensembles. Roldán and Caturla, however, splintered what were “continuous” utterances in traditional and popular musics, reassembling and juxtaposing melorhythmic motifs and timbric blocks as abstract shapes, in the manner of Cubist art and Stravinsky’s early neoclassic works. They decontextualized, and thereby dehistoricized, materials culled from sources with which they identified.

Both composers expanded their timbric canvases by incorporating Cuban instruments into the conventional academic arsenal and stressed the role of percussion, itself a link to the radical experimentation of Edgard Varèse (1883–1965), whose Ionisation (1931) for 13 percussion players was preceded by Roldán’s Rítmicas V (“En tiempo de son”) and VI (“En tiempo de rumba”) (1930) for Cuban percussion. Nicolas Slonimsky, to whom Varèse dedicated Ionisation, conducted its premiere in New York on March 6, 1933. After his first visit to Havana in March of 1931, where he conducted Roldán’s Rítmicas and Caturla’s Bembé (1929) on March 17, Slonimsky introduced Roldán’s suite from the ballet La Rebambaramba (1928)—whose idiophones include the quijada de burro that Slonimsky called a “polydental glissando on the jawbone of an ass”—and Bembé—“an Afro-Cuban movement in powerfully asymmetrical rhythms and discordant harmonies by the 25-year-old Alejandro [García] Caturla”—to Paris audiences on June 6 and 11, 1931 (Slonimsky 1971: 532–33). Although “the concept of ‘authenticity’ is a questionable aesthetic category” (Dahlhaus 1974 in 1980: 100), the composers’ identification with materials from their own culture should have precluded the possibility of “exotic” reception. In Roldán’s and Caturla’s Afro-Cubanist works, the complicity with European modernism elicited multiple readings. Their richly textured quilts can be read as constructions in sound, interpellate cultural insiders with their fleeting allusions to familiar motifs, and also feed the eurocentric appetite for exotic exuberance. Parisians welcomed these works as refreshingly and spontaneously modern, but ultimately “exotic” (Slonimsky 1971: 532), while Cubans eventually canonized Roldán and Caturla as founders of their modern music. For Latin Americans, moreover, Caturla was to become the composers’ composer.

Alejo Carpentier (1904–80) was one of the founders of the Grupo Minorista that energized Afro-Cubanism and united artists and intellectuals in their opposition to official corruption during the “critical decade” (1923–33). The group met at the Lafayette, a Havana restaurant where Roldán was playing violin in a duo and where he met Carpentier (Gómez García 2002: 345). The writer’s friendship with Caturla dates from 1924 (Eli Rodríguez 1999: 432). Carpentier—“whose passion for music was only second to his passion for literature” in the words of Juan Marinello, another renowned member of the group—saw Stravinsky as the beacon of a modernism capable of reconciling subliminal culture with an avant-garde language. As the tale goes, he used to greet both Roldán and Caturla by whistling the opening high bassoon melody from Le Sacre du printemps. Carpentier summoned this famous musical signature in the epigraph of La consagración de la primavera (The Rite of Spring, 1978), the late novel in which “a Marxist model of history” frames “the march of humanity toward a better world” through “a series of revolutions” (González Echevarría 1977 in 1990: 278), and for which he borrowed the title of Stravinsky’s paradigmatic ballet. Stravinsky’s spirit also is summoned in Carpentier’s Concierto barroco (1974), set mostly during carnival time in 18th-century Venice. When Handel, Vivaldi, the Indiano dressed as “Montezuma,” and the witty Filomeno stumble upon Stravinsky’s tombstone at the Venice cemetery where he was buried in 1971, Carpentier seizes an opportunity for Handel to muse about neoclassicism: “These masters who are called progressive worry too much about what musicians did in the past and occasionally try to renew their styles. In this regard, we are more modern. I don’t give a damn about operas or concertos of a hundred years ago. I do my own thing, from what I know and understand, and that’s it.” And to taunt Vivaldi comes a famous joke: “Stravinsky said that you wrote the same concerto 6oo times”; “Maybe so,” responds Vivaldi, “but I never composed a circus polka for Barnum’s elephants” (Carpentier 1974: 52–55).

In 1925, however, when Roldán and Caturla began producing a steady flow of works and Carpentier had yet to write his first novel, all of them were mere youngsters. Roldán, born on July 12, 1900, was 25; Carpentier, born on December 26, 1904, was 20 or 21; and Caturla, born on March 7, 1906, was 19. By the mid-1920s, “ñañiguismo had been revived, the Cuban Communist Party and the National Workers’ Union had been founded, and Machado had ascended to power” (Kutzinski 1996: 169). In 1924, Ortiz published his Glosario de afronegrismos: Estudio de lingüística, lexicología, etimología y semántica. According to Araceli García-Carranza (1970: 26),

Ortiz figured prominently in the activities of the leftist Grupo Minorista. The members of this group denounced the false values [of the establishment] and committed themselves to nothing short of a radical renewal of the arts and letters, also assuming a position toward sociopolitical problems in Cuba, the Americas, and humanity in general. The Grupo Minorista organized the first collective protest against the tyranny of Gerardo Machado [1925–33] and also held demonstrations against U.S. imperialism in Nicaragua, Santo Domingo, Haiti, and Mexico. The group also defended the rights of artists and intellectuals who had been victimized by dictatorial regimes in Hispanic America and Spain.

The earliest Afro-Cubanist poems appeared, starting with “Elogio de la negra” (1925) by Alfonso Camín. Between 1926 and 1928, the “notes of social protest that began to sound in the poetry of Agustín Acosta, Felipe Pichardo Moya, Lino Novas Calvo, Regino Pedrozo, Félix Pita Rodríguez, and others …, prepared the ground for ‘Afro-Cubanism’ at a time when the mulatto middle class distanced itself from the ‘uncultured’ masses of black laborers whom they perceived as an insult to Cuban civilization” (Kutzinski 1996: 169–70). Roberto González Echevarría, in his masterful exegesis of Carpentier’s work (1977 in 1990: 43), subsumes the movement’s significance: “Afro-Cubanism did not discover the presence of blacks in Cuba; the movement was instead a radical shift in the position they were assigned in shaping Cuban culture.” As meanings were being redefined, artists and intellectuals sought the experience of witnessing traditional practices of African descendants firsthand, even if they could do so only as observers. Caturla attended toques de bembé during his early years in Remedios (Eli Rodríguez 1999: 432); for La Rebambaramba (1928), based on a scenario that Carpentier wrote for him, Roldán is known to have attended secret Abakuá ceremonies and been asked to leave, after taking notes that antagonized participants (Gómez García 2002: 347); and, in La música en Cuba (1946: 236), Carpentier recalls the spirit of rebellion subtending their interest in ñáñigo practices:

Fernando Ortiz, in spite of differences in age, used to mingle with the boys. His books were read. Folklore was acclaimed. Suddenly the black man became the focal point of all glances. Precisely because it displeased intellectuals of the old school, one went with reverence to ñáñigo initiations and praised the diablito dance (cited in González Echevarria 1977 in 1990: 47–48).

Imprisoned by the Machado regime for his political activism in 1927, Carpentier spent forty days in the same Havana jail that ñáñigos had assailed in 1871 to liberate medical students incarcerated after eight others had been executed by colonial authorities for defiling the tomb of a Spanish Loyalist. In that jail he wrote Ecue-Yamba-O (“Lord, Praised Be Thou,” 1927, revised in Paris and published in 1933). He fled to Paris in 1928, where he remained in self-imposed exile for eleven years. Integral to ñañiguismo which by then had assumed connotations of political defiance, is the sacred Ékue friction drum that carries the mystery and power of Abakuá beliefs. The fundamento lodged in this drum suggested to Carpentier the title of his first novel, which he later dismissed as “the scales and arpeggios of a beginner.” For González Echevarría, Ecue-Yamba-O is “a heterogeneous text, where a series of contradictory forces meet and remain unresolved” (1977 in 1990: 67). In Tientos y diferencias (1967: 15), Carpentier situates this text in the tradition of a European primitivism—later reincarnated in the neocolonialist “shopping-mall variety” of cultural theory practiced in the late twentieth century (Lodge 2004)—wherein “a writer believes that, by spending fifteen days in a mining town, [he/she] has understood everything there is to know about that mining town, or believes that, just by attending a folk celebration, [he/she] has understood the remote motivations driving such a celebration” (Carpentier 1967: 13). He sees the “weakness of this method” in his own Ecue-Yamba-O:

In a time characterized by its great interest in afro-Cuban folklore, recently “discovered” then by the intellectuals of my generation, i wrote a novel—¡ecue-yamba-o!—whose characters are blacks of the rural classes of the period. I must explain that i was brought up in the Cuban countryside, in contact with rural blacks and their children, and that later, very interested in Santería and Ñañiguismo, I attended innumerable religious ceremonies. With this “documentation” I wrote a novel published in Madrid in 1932 [sic], during the apotheosis of European “nativism.” Well, twenty years of research about the syncretic realities of Cuba made me realize that everything profound and real, everything universal about the world that I had pretended to portray in my novel had remained outside my field of observation (Carpentier 1967: 15 cited in González Echeverria 1977 in 1990: 63).

Carpentier’s assessment of his only libretto and its marriage to music in Caturla’s setting was radically different. In Manita en el Suelo (1931), a “mitología bufa afrocubana” for narrator and puppets in one act and five scenes (1931), he conjured up some of the same characters that populate Ecue-Yamba-O “to bring together on a single stage, for the first time in Cuba, all the characters from popular mythology. Among them, “Manita en el Suelo” really lived in the nineteenth century. The others are characters from songs, rituals, and legends …” (Carpentier 1931). The protagonist, whose real name was Manuel Cañamazo, was a ñañigo power who had lost his life liberating medical students in the riots of 1871. The libretto, which Carpentier promised Caturla during the composer’s 1928 sojourn in Paris, where he took composition lessons with Nadia Boulanger, was written under the spell of Manuel de Falla’s El retablo de Maese Pedro (Master Peter’s Puppet Show, 1919–1922) d’après Cervantes, commissioned by the Princesse Edmond de Polignac for her marionette theater and premiered at her Paris home in 1923. More than characters, what Carpentier brings together in his intricate tapestry of popular tales are traditions of different origins: the Ibero-Christian legend of the apparition of the Virgen de la Caridad del Cobre with her three fishermen, the three “Juanes” of Indo-Afro-Hispanic Cuba; the beliefs and rituals of ñañiguismo and Santería practiced by African descendants in the suburbs of Havana: the Chinese charade, a cryptic lottery played with riddles that Gastón Baquero described as “a cartography of dreams” (1977); and symbols of colonial authority in the figures of the Spanish Captain General and his guard. Most of the characters Carpentier summons are alive in relics, match-boxes, cigar wrappings, popular poetry, and songs. One of them, the legendary Papá Montero—described in a poem (“La Habana”) by the Mexican Alfonso Reyes (1889–1959) as “ñáñigo de bastón y canalla rumbero”’—is the only live character in the cast, and, like the Trujamán in Falla’s Retablo de Maese Pedro, narrates the plot. Rumberos and poets even mourned Papá Montero’s fictional death, as in Guillén’s “Velorio de Papá Montero” and in the classic “Rumbita de Papá Montero.” The only historical character, “Manita en el Suelo,” was a potencia ñáñiga, nicknamed after his long arms and “hands that could touch the floor.” According to local lore, Manita defeated a rival ñáñigo power in a brawl by predicting a lunar eclipse that occurred seconds later, earning him the reputation of “a ñáñigo who could dim the moon with his will.” The Moon, already prominent in Pierrot lunaire and Wozzeck, plays here a luminous role instead, articulating the action at two pivotal points. These traditions, and the characters associated with them, coexist and often overlap in the minds of Cubans, but Carpentier needed a more tangible nexus “to bring them together on a single stage.” That role was assigned to the omnipresent Black Rooster, the Gallo Motoriongo or Enkiko that supplies the indispensable meat with which ñáñigos prepare their ritual meals. Imperious (“In Guinea I am King”), the Rooster takes on a life of his own, sings, protests, demands reparation when cooked by the three fishermen caught hungry at sea (“If the rooster is a heretic, rooster we shall eat”), and appears in situations that tradition would not have foreseen.

In a letter to Caturla dated July 6, 1931, Carpentier promises to send him “a piece for puppets, with only one live character—Papá Montero—who … sitting on the big stage … narrates the story of Manita en el Suelo.” He was only halfway through writing it, but could anticipate that “Manita, a ñáñigo power from colonial times (“Iyamba de los ñáñigos en tiempos de España’), enraged when he learns that the three fishermen caught hungry at sea have eaten his sacred rooster, punches the moon with his fist and creates darkness in the world” (Henríquez 1978: 362–63). Next to Papá Montero is a small stage for the puppets, where the action he narrates is reenacted. Manita then resorts to a baile de santo, prefigured in “Nochebuena” from Ecue-Yamba-O, to summon the saints and reveal, through possession induced by drumming and dancing, the identity of the perpetrators of the death of the rooster. Once their identities are revealed, Manita invokes supernatural powers to bring disaster to the fishermen. Disaster befalls them in the form of a tempest, which is when they invoke the Virgin, and she appears—as in the legend—to calm the seas, protecting all races in an Indo-Afro-Hispanic Cuba. Threatening to kill the fishermen if they come ashore or “punch the moon if it comes down,” Manita does the latter and creates general perplexity in a dark world without moon (“la luna nula”). This, Carpentier laments with quotations from popular sones and sentimental poetry (“Mil cromos agonizan en la faz de la tierra” / A thousand chromes agonize on the face of the earth). Destroying the poets’ muse, however, is a crime for which Manita faces imprisonment and death at the hands of the Captain General of Spain and his guards. At this crucial juncture, the Chino de la Charada appears in his handsome Mandarin suit as a deus ex machina to contrive a merry ending. In a symmetrical arrangement that recalls the disposition of the Toccata and Moresca from Monteverdi’s Orfeo (1607), the Chino de la Charada opens and closes the little farce with two riddles: the first one sets the plot in motion, and the second resolves the conflict when its answer (Moon) produces a new, huge and luminous balloon, saving Manita and the world from a darker fate. For each of these situations, Carpentier summons the cadence of popular refrains, typical locutions, religious invocations, and celebrated sones, as if he were archiving a repertoire of interpellations shared by Cubans and not unfamiliar to Latin Americans.

In a subsequent letter of August 16, 1931, which Carpentier sent to Caturla from Paris with the completed libretto, he essentially suggests a separation of traditions for the musical setting: “Use the ñáñigo [“African”] element for Manita, the pentatonic mode for the Chino, the guajiro and criollo element [of Iberian roots] for the Virgin and the Juanes …. Most of all, and this is very important, do not let Papá Montero sing! Use for him various forms of declamation” (Henríquez 1978: 364–65). Disregarding these instructions, Caturla created his own synthesis by unifying the work motivically while differentiating traditions through their metric, rhythmic, timbric, and textural characteristics. Central to Caturla’s conception is precisely the pivotal point at which Papá Montero sings, not unlike the Trujamán in Falla’s Retablo, who breaks out of his monotonic delivery when he is drawn into the story he is telling. Papá Montero narrates the action as a coryphaeus solfegging in a low-middle-high monotonic declamation over a rhythmic accompaniment of claves (Numbers 1, 2, and 3). However, after the three fishermen desecrate the omnipresent Rooster, Papá Montero sings a ballad lamenting his death (No. 6). Positioned at midpoint, as is “Possente spirto” in Monteverdi’s Orfeo, the “Elegía al Enkiko” or “Balada de Papá Montero” is the centerpiece in a symmetrical disposition of eleven short musical numbers (1–5 and 7–11), as well as the work’s dramatic and compositional turning point (see Example 1 in Kuss 1992b: 370). The ballad’s haunting tonal theme summons the style of vocal delivery of a popular rumbero (certainly not that of an academically trained lyric tenor) within the timbric framework of a “dissonant” wind ensemble (of flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, 2 trumpets, and timpani) that recalls the neoclassical angularity of Stravinsky’s Octet (1923). The compositional conception follows a masterful scheme: if in the preceding numbers (1–5) Caturla relies on motifs whose transformations reach their full melodic formulation in the theme of the ballad (No. 6), each of the following numbers (7–11) are variations on the ballad’s already formulated theme (Kuss 1992b and 2005). The variation process is not only integral to Cuban popular music but also present in Carpentier’s literature. In an interview with César Leante entitled “Confesiones sencillas de un escritor barroco” (1964), he acknowledges that El acoso (1956 in 1983) is structured in “sonata form: first part, exposition, three themes, seventeen variations, and conclusion and coda” (Leante 1970: 26–27).

In his musical language, Caturla skillfully combines the type of symmetrical octatonicism with asymmetrical diatonic interaction that characterizes pitch organization in Stravinsky’s neoclassical works (as formulated by Pieter C. van den Toorn in 1983), with the melodic simplicity of tunes in the popular vein, unified throughout the opera by the generative function of a central motif (E – G – B – A – B) (see Examples 2 through 4f in Kuss 1992b: 371–74). Caturla already had used this motif, widespread in many forms of Cuban music—and the popular “Rumbita de Papá Montero” is no exception—as a formative element in “Motivos de danza” from his Tres danzas cubanas for twelve instruments (1928). In more subtle ways than Carpentier had suggested in his letter, Caturla unifies the work through the generative role of this familiar motif, while differentiating musical traditions through the metric and rhythmic patterns with which they are associated. Thus, for the opening three-part madrigal of Manita, Capitán, and Chino (No. 2), which relies on the imagery of Abakuá rituals and extolls the Rooster, he uses duple simple meter and the syncopated rhythmic polyphony associated with Afro-Cuban music. By contrast, for the “Guajira de los tres Juanes,” a three-part madrigal (No. 4), and the “Interlude” that follows it (No. 5), he uses the duple compound meter associated with rural folk music of Iberian roots, or guajiro tradition. In the “Baile de santo” (No. 7), a syncretic ritual, he juxtaposes syncopated rhythmic patterns for the responsorial chorus of “negras y negros” to ternary patterns for Candita la Loca, who summons the saints. Most of all, he reserves the Cuban son, a symbol of fusion, for the Virgin who protects all races (No. 9). The overture is—predictably—a danzón, because custom dictated the performance of danzones to open any type of representation at Havana’s old Teatro Alhambra. Moreover, the differences between traditions must be understood in terms of centuries of integration. This means that the elements Caturla processes compositionally are already residual strands of multicultural extraction. From Carpentier’s idea of “bringing together all the characters from popular mythology,” Caturla creates a paradigm of fusion (Kuss 1992b and 2005).

Manita en el Suelo also incorporates buffo elements that both composer and librettist intended as parodies of the European canon. For instance, Papá Montero’s melodrama (No. 8) in which he describes the tempest that endangers the fishermen (“the raging horses of Santa Bárbara”) is set over a symphonic development that parodies the Ride of the Valkyries, following Carpentier’s suggestion. By December of 1934 Caturla had finished the orchestration of the overture, the interlude, and the ballad. Published in a 1934 issue of the revista Social as “Elegía al Enkiko,” the ballad was the only fragment known until the complete work was premiered in Havana, with dancers instead of puppets, on February 15, 1985. The ballad’s theme, however, was popular enough to inspire a set of piano variations by the Cuban Sergio Fernández Barroso (b. 1946) entitled Variaciones del Motoriongo. When Caturla, who was a judge, was assassinated at age 34, he had completed a short score indicating the orchestration of the remaining numbers. The reconstruction for the 1985 premiere was undertaken by the distinguished composer and musicologist Hilario González (1920–96)—Carpentier’s close friend—with the collaboration of Carmelina Muñoz. However, the work has yet to reach the stage with marionettes, as Carpentier envisioned it (Kuss 1992b and 2005). If Ecue-Yamba-O seemed shallow to Carpentier after he delved into the deep worlds of religious ritual in later years, Manita en el Suelo (1931–34) was “perfect” in his judgment, according to Hilario González. On one occasion in which a performance was being considered during Carpentier’s lifetime, several changes were suggested and Carpentier’s reaction—roughly “Don’t touch it; if you don’t want to mount it as is, forget it”—contains two untranslatable expletives: “Esta obra es una gran coña y si no quieren montarla como está, que no monten un carajo” (personal communication from Carpentier to Hilario González, and from him to Malena Kuss, August 1982).

According to Fernando Alegría (1970), Carpentier perceived America as a repository of primeval forces that lie, at times dormant, underneath a layer of superficial occidentalism. In the arts, these mythological forces activate systems of symbols that Europeans only can grasp at abstract levels, objectifying or exoticizing them through mechanisms of distance that rule out the mediation of faith. In Manita en el Suelo, these symbols are historical events and characters from interfacing religious systems that feed an inexhaustible capacity to poeticize reality. “The marvelous real,” more than an aesthetic category lacking “a viable theoretical foundation” (González Echevarría 1977 in 1990: 108; 107–29), is a way of being-in-the-world (Friedson 1996) when African demigods can take on shapes of Catholic saints and descend upon humans to heal, speak, and guide practitioners through the paths of self-realization. In animistic religions such as Cuban Santería and Haitian Vodou, spirits are not distant mystical beings but demigods embodied in humans who partake from the indispensable infrastructure of reality (see Juan Mesa Díaz, “The Religious System of Ocha-Ifá,” and Gerdès Fleurant, “Haitian Vodou and Its Music,” in this volume). Through the mediation of energy, generated mostly by drumming and dancing but also by prayer, faith collapses the distance between supernaturals and humans. In Carpentier’s literature, faith differentiates the “magical realism” of early writings from the late 1920s and 1930s from “the marvelous real” he inaugurates in El reino de este mundo (The Kingdom of This World, 1949). In Carpentier’s “American marvelous real,” faith subverts the objectification and “distance” in the European “magical realism” of Franz Roh (1925). González Echevarría situates magical realism as phenomenological and the American marvelous real as ontological, of Surrealist background. European magical realism lacks the “transcendental and religious impulse … [or] tendency toward faith” found in the marvelous real, “the ontological one, which is the one to have enjoyed the most favor in Latin America” (1977 in 1990: 113, 115–17). In the propitious 1940s, Carpentier “seeks to ground the transcendental principle that narrative demands on the faith offered by the culture and history of Latin America, in the wealth of mythologies and beliefs that he considers still to be in force in the New World” (ibid., 126). If literature inherently generates distance, from a theoretical standpoint the marvelous real also depends on alterity for its existence, as in the “incongruous” coexistence of Petwo and Rada drumming and memories of Pauline Bonaparte that Carpentier experienced during his visit to Haiti in 1943 and would exorcise in The Kingdom of This World (1949), completing that “peculiarly Latin American round-trip” (ibid., 128) to perfection from the other side of the Atlantic when he juxtaposes Italian Baroque opera to African drumming in Concierto barroco (1974). In theory, Manita en el Suelo—conspicuously absent in González Echevarría’s unsurpassed exegesis of Carpentier’s work (1977 in 1990)—remains closer to the European brand of magical realism than to the American marvelous real because the interfacing faiths animating culturally significant characters lack in transcendence and only serve to craft an exquisitely playful farce. The poeticized realities in the libretto appear reorganized by an artificer who, as Marinello put it in reference to Carpentier’s Ecue-Yamba-O, “spaces the imagery at artistically measured intervals and organizes the myths in an unequivocally surrealist order to capture their transcendence: the art looms in the disposition of elements” (Marinello cited in Alegría 1970: 44). The “magical realism” of Carpentier’s poetic plot is mirrored in the structural symmetry and thematic organicism of Caturla’s setting, likewise an artificer who reorders and subsumes popular and academic invention. Rather than the heterogeneity that Carpentier celebrates in Concierto barroco (1974), where he “demonstrates the dialectics of dependence and independence that subtend any effort at cultural definition” (González Echevarría 1977 in 1990: 266, 274), the prescriptive aesthetics of fusion in the early Manita en el Suelo (1931) prefigure “the autonomy of Latin American culture that Carpentier pursued in earlier writings.”

The marvelous real is as much a perception of disjunction—the reason why Mario Vargas Llosa called the chroniclers “the first magical realists” (1990: 46)—as it is a suspension of disbelief when realities surpass fiction (Kuss 2004: xiii–xv). Reality intersects with fiction when an experience conjures up what Werner Herzog of Fitzcarraldo fame has called “ecstatic truths.” In “Problemática de la actual novela latinoamericana” (1964 in 1987: 17), Carpentier credits animism for feeding a capacity to link “cultural incongruities”:

Supervivencias de animismo, creencias, prácticas, muy antiguas, a veces de un origen cultural sumamente respetable, que nos ayudan a enlazar ciertas realidades presentes con esencias culturales remotas, cuya existencia nos vincula con lo universal-sin-tiempo.

Remnants of animism, beliefs, ancient practices, often of very respectable cultural ancestry, help us connect certain realities in the present with remote cultural essences whose existence links us to a timeless universality.

It is not fortuitous that the epiphany processed by Carpentier into the American marvelous real took place during a 1943 visit to Haiti, the land where he experienced animistic Vodou practices juxtaposed to remembrances of French things past (French was Carpentier’s mother tongue), and for him to have exorcised this experience in The Kingdom of This World (1949), the locus of the marvelous real in the literary journey so masterfully traced by González Echevarría in Alejo Carpentier: The Pilgrim at Home (1977 in 1990: 97–154). In “De lo real maravilloso americano,” an essay that became the preface to The Kingdom of This World, Carpentier writes (1948 in 1967: 113–17):

La enumeración [de hechos absurdos contemplados] podría ser inacabable. Por ello diré que una primera noción de lo real maravilloso me vino a la mente cuando, a fines del año 1943, tuve la suerte de poder visitar el reino de henri christophe—las ruinas tan poéticas, de sans souci …. Mi encuentro con paulina bonaparte, ahí, tan lejos de córcega, fue, para mí, como una revelación. Ví la posibilidad de establecer ciertos sincronismos posibles, americanos, recurrentes, por encima del tiempo, relacionando esto con aquello, el ayer con el presente. Ví la posibilidad de traer ciertas verdades europeas a las latitudes que son nuestras actuando a contrapelo de quienes, viajando contra la trayectoria del sol, quisieron llevar verdades nuestras a donde, hace todavía treinta años, no había capacidad de entendimiento, ni de medida para verlas en su justa dimensión …. Después de sentir el nada mentido sortilegio de las tierras de haití, de haber hallado advertencias mágicas en los caminos rojos de la meseta central, de haber oído los tambores del petro y del rada, me vi llevado a acercar la maravillosa realidad recién vivida a la agotante pretensión de suscitar lo maravilloso que caracterizó ciertas literaturas europeas de estos ultimos treinta años …. Pero es que muchos se olvidan, con disfrazarse de magos a poco costo, que lo maravilloso comienza a serlo de manera inequívoca cuando surge de una inesperada alteración de la realidad (el milagro), de una revelación privilegiada de la realidad, de una iluminación inhabitual o singularmente favorecedora de las inadvertidas riquezas de la realidad, de una ampliación de las escalas y categorías de la realidad, percibidas con particular intensidad en virtud de una exaltación del espiritu que lo conduce a un modo de “estado límite.” Para empezar, la sensación de lo maravilloso presupone una fe.

The enumeration [of contemplated incongruities] could be interminable. For that reason i will say that the first notion of the marvelous real came to me when, toward the end of 1943, i had the good fortune of visiting the kingdom of henri christophe—the poetic ruins of sans souci . . . . My encounter with pauline bonaparte, there, so far from corsica, was, for me, a revelation. I saw the possibility of establishing certain possible [dehistoricized] synchronisms, [inherently] american and recurrent, outside of time, associating this with that, yesteryear with the present. I saw the possibility of bringing certain european truths to our latitudes, acting against the grain of those who, traveling counter to the trajectory of the sun, endeavored to take our truths to a place where, up until thirty years ago, there was still no capacity for understanding, or for using the appropriate measuring rod to grasp them in their proper dimension . . . . After experiencing the well-known sortilege of haitian lands, after having found magical warnings in the red roads of the central plateau and having heard the petwo and rada drums, i was tempted to link the marvelous reality just lived to the exhausting pretension of conjuring up the marvelous that has characterized certain european literature of the last thirty years [surrealism] . . . . But what the many who disguise themselves as magicians at a disengaged distance forget is that the marvelous begins to take shape unequivocally when it springs from an unexpected alteration of reality (the miracle), a particularly privileged revelation of reality, an unusual or singularly attractive illumination of the hidden riches of reality, in sum, from a magnification of the scale and categories of reality perceived with a particular intensity by virtue of an exaltation of the spirit that leads it to a mode of borderline state. To begin with, the sensation of the marvelous presupposes a faith.

In his exegesis of The Kingdom of This World, González Echevarría unravels the strategy of linking or counterposing the apocalyptic story of Haiti’s revolution (1791–1803) and its martyrs to the power of faith in the African-based religion that animated it. In this interpretation, faith becomes a condition for the possibility of situating literature in the marvelous real and thereby collapsing the distance between writer and subject, just as animistic religions collapse the distance between supernaturals and humans.

When Carpentier returned to Cuba in 1939, he had consolidated his reputation as a journalist, writing mostly about culture and music in particular. His elegant and provocative music journalism was collected by Gómez García in an invaluable three-volume set, published in Havana under the title of Ese músico que llevo adentro (That musician I carry within me) the year of his death (Carpentier 1980). In addition to Ecue-Yamba-O (1927–1933), Manita en el Suelo (1931) for Caturla, and other texts, he had written two scenarios for Roldán’s ballets La Rebambaramba (1928) and El milagro de Anaquillé (1929). The 1940s, preceding the publication of The Kingdom of This World in 1949, are characterized by González Echevarría as

A search for origins, the recovery of history and tradition, the foundation of an autonomous American consciousness serving as the basis for a literature faithful to the new world. Like an American Ulysses, Carpentier sets forth in search of this goal through the winding roads and the turbulent rivers of the continent, but also through the labyrinthine filigrees of worm-eaten texts eroded by time and oblivion (1977 in 1990: 107).

In 1944 Carpentier plunged into those “worm-eaten texts” to produce one of the few music histories written by a towering literary figure. If he had not yet achieved notoriety as a writer when Mexico’s Fondo de Cultura Económica commissioned La música en Cuba (1946), the research he undertook to write it spawned a wealth of raw material for literary orchestrations. To recover Cuba’s musical history, he turned to primary sources, such as “cathedral archives (mainly in Santiago and Havana), documents in churches and municipal government buildings, parish cupboards …, manuscripts, private libraries and collections, shelves in bookstores specializing in old books, totally exhausting newspapers, gazettes, and colonial magazines” (1946: 11 in González Echevarría 1977 in 1990: 102). For an epigraph, he turned to Stravinsky: “Une tradition véritable n’est pas le témoignage d’un passé révolu; c’est une force vivante qui anime et informe le présent” (A genuine tradition is not just a testimony of an extinct past, but a living force that animates and informs the present). He also turned to chronicles and, mostly, “to the work of Ramiro Guerra and Fernando Ortiz” (loc. cit.). What he discovered about the colonial composer Esteban Salas elicited some impassionate disparagement of his predecessors’ methods (1946: 59):

We cannot understand how this figure and his work could have been ignored and submerged into the most absolute obscurity until now. He is not mentioned in academic texts …. His name does not appear in any biographical dictionary …. Salcedo, the austere master from Santiago, went as far as to affirm categorically that all the works of this musician had been lost. However, given the role [salas] played in the history of Cuban music, he undoubtedly was the figure who deserved the most diligent scrutiny.

Other histories were written, including two by the distinguished composers José Ardévol (1969) and Edgardo Martín (1971). However, it is difficult to find writings on music in Cuba devoid of references to Carpentier’s resilient text, which in 2001 was published in an English translation by Alan West-Durán. What “the dream team” from the CIDMUC achieved in Instrumentos de la música folclórico-popular de Cuba (Centro de Investigación y Desarrollo de la Música Cubana 1997), researching the island’s organology anew while reading Ortiz’s monumental Los instrumentos de la música afrocubana (1952–55) critically, also applies to the projection of Carpentier’s referential text in the Diccionario de la música española e hispanoamericana’s impressive coverage of Cuba (Gómez García and Eli Rodríguez 1999).

For the impact of Carpentier’s research for La música en Cuba on his literature, we turn—again—to González Echevarría, who traces the trail of musical characters reincarnated in fictions (1977 in 1990: 102–105):

La música en Cuba channels Carpentier’s fiction into a new course, a search for those forgotten texts which will allow him to “finish” the incomplete biographies of obscure historical figures with the aid of rigorous documentation and almost verifiable chronology. All of Carpentier’s stories from the forties stem from historical research carried out while writing la música en cuba, and from this time on Carpenterian fiction will revolve around pseudo-historical biographies of figures whom Carpentier rescues from oblivion (ibid., 103).

Carpentier left Cuba for Venezuela in 1945, where he traveled the Amazon region and wrote Los pasos perdidos (The Lost Steps, 1953), the founding work of “archival fiction” according to the theory of Latin American narrative formulated by González Echevarría in Myth and Archive (1998), itself a towering achievement in literary criticism. After the triumph of Castro’s Revolution in 1959, Carpentier returned to Cuba and was appointed vice president of the Consejo Nacional de Cultura, serving also as vice president of the powerful Unión Nacional de Escritores y Artistas de Cuba (UNEAC), founded in 1961. In 1968 he returned to France as Cultural Officer at the Cuban Embassy in Paris, where he died in 1980.

Castro’s Revolution generated profound changes in the structure of Cuba’s musical life. From the start, the goal of the government’s cultural policy was to “establish a highly creative atmosphere, conducive to progress in all forms of artistic expression …. This aspiration is grounded on the idea that every person who possesses creative abilities should be able to develop them to their fullest potential” and place them at the service of the community (Saruski and Mosquera 1979: 21). Consistent with Cuba’s brand of socialism, it is the State’s responsibility to promote cultural development and allocate funds, a crucial aspect of cultural policy. The Constitution, which guarantees freedom of artistic expression to all citizens, gives the State the authority to guide, finance, and promote education, culture, and science in all of their manifestations.

In the early 1960s, a number of institutions and ensembles were established within a short period of time. Several orchestras emerged, among them the Orquesta del Teatro Nacional, the Orquesta Sinfónica, and the Orquesta de Cámara. Several chamber music groups evolved from these larger ensembles, notably the Cuarteto Nacional, the Trío Pro-Música, and the Cuarteto “Amadeo Roldán.” The Coro Polifónico, later renamed Coro Nacional, also was founded during this period. Between 1961 and 1962, the symphony orchestras of the provinces of Matanzas, Santa Clara, Camagüey, and Santiago were reorganized, as were the municipal bands, which fulfill an important function by offering concerts in towns without resident orchestras or chamber ensembles. The former Banda Municipal de La Habana now functions as a concert band.

A department of music was established at the Biblioteca Nacional “José Martí,” which, initially under the leadership of the distinguished composer and musicologist Argeliers León, spearheaded competitions, published works by Cuban composers, hosted conferences and lectures, and, since its inception, published a journal, Revista de Música (I/1, January 1960). Similar sections on music also were established at libraries in Matanzas, Cienfuegos, and Santiago de Cuba. The Unión Nacional de Escritores y Artistas de Cuba (UNEAC) was created in 1961 and one of its branches, the Asociación de Músicos, brings together composers of academic and popular music as well as musicologists. In 1962 UNEAC also sponsored the creation of the Brigada (now Asociación) de los Hermanos Saíz for young musicians and artists. The Instituto Cubano de Radiodifusión (now called Instituto Cubano de Radio y Televisión [ICRT]), and the Empresa de Grabaciones y Ediciones Musicales (EGREM), which has issued a wealth of recordings, were created in 1962. These immediately became essential instruments of popularization, along with the Instituto Cubano del Arte e Industria Cinematográfica (ICAIC), already in existence. Under the banner of educating, informing, entertaining, and raising the level of aesthetic appreciation of the people, these institutions are responsible for the dissemination of education and culture via the mass media.

Casa de las Américas opened its doors on April 28, 1959, but its Music Department did not begin its activities until 1965, first under the leadership of the distinguished composer Harold Gramatges (1918–2008) (see also Gramatges 1983), and then under Argeliers León, who held this position until 1990. María Elena Vinueza, one of Cuba’s leading musicologists, was appointed to replace him after his death in 1991, and, since then, Casa de las Américas has taken center stage in the organization of Inter-American festivals, international conferences, and competitions that promote musicological research and composition (Fig. 1). The Music Department sponsors a prestigious prize in musicology since 1979 (the biennial Premio Casa de las Américas) and publishes the recipients’ monographs, among them Olavo Alén Rodríguez’s La música de las sociedades de tumba francesa en Cuba (1986) and María Elena Vinueza’s La presencia arará en la música folclórica de Matanzas (1988). The Music Department’s journal, called Boletín de Música (Fig. 2), represents a holistic approach to the field of music more characteristic of Latin America than of the United States, where research on traditional, urban popular, and academic music is segregated into different publication venues. Launched in 1970 and active for two decades, it was revitalized in 1995, after a five-year hiatus following Argeliers León’s death in 1991. Like its counterparts, the Revista Musical Chilena (1945–) and the Revista Musical de Venezuela (1980–), the Boletín de Música might emphasize Cuban topics but is committed to the broader coverage of Latin America and to the field of music in general. In recent years, the Boletín de Música has been enriched by the publication of papers presented at international conferences organized in conjunction with the biennial musicology competition. Spearheaded by Argeliers León, Casa de las Américas also published anthologies of writings selected from the Boletín, notably in the case of Ensayos de música latinoamericana (1982) from which Peter Manuel extracted articles he published in English translation (1991). Under the presidency of Roberto Fernández Retamar (1930–2019), a leading figure in Hispanic-American literature, Casa de las Américas has become a hub of international activities in the visual arts, literature, music, and theater, and also sponsors the regional Center for Caribbean Studies.

Fig. 1: Casa de las Américas, an institution promoting the arts and letters since 1959.
Fig. 2: Cover of the Boletín de Música of Casa de las Américas, launched in 1970.

The Museo Nacional de la Música, a model archive of manuscript scores, photographs, recordings, and personal memorabilia of outstanding figures in Cuba’s musical history, was created in 1971 (Fig. 3). It holds regular exhibits for which it prepares catalogues, hosts lectures and conferences, and presents concerts focused mostly on its own collections. Through these activities, it plays a major role in promoting research and preserving the historical memory of Cuba’s rich musical past. In collaboration with the Editora Musical de Cuba, it also sponsors the publication of scores. Its first director, María Antonieta Henríquez, was the leading specialist in Caturla’s music. She was followed in 1984 by María Teresa Linares, a revered figure in folk music studies. Upon her retirement in 1997, Jesús Gómez Cairo, a musicologist who has occupied some of the most prominent administrative positions in Cuba, was appointed to replace her. (With Olavo Alén Rodríguez, the former director of CIDMUC, Gómez Cairo was among Argeliers León’s first group of students.) Also created in 1971 was the Museo Provincial “Alejandro García Caturla,” a subsidiary of Havana’s Museo located in the city of Remedios, Caturla’s birthplace.

Fig. 3: Havana’s Museo Nacional de la Música, founded in 1971.

Also in 1971, the Conjunto Instrumental Nuestro Tiempo, which performed 20th-century chamber works, was formed by musicians from the Sinfónica Nacional. Although the most prominent figures in the Movimiento de la Nueva Trova were active since the mid-1960s, the movement was institutionalized in 1972. From 1959 until 1976, the Consejo Nacional de Cultura promoted and supervised cultural policy. When the 1976 Constitution was promulgated, the Consejo was replaced by the Ministerio de Cultura. Its Dirección de Música and another branch that sponsored musical performances and shows until 1988 were consolidated into the Instituto Cubano de la Música in 1989. The Instituto, which oversees a system of centers supporting research, preservation, composition, and performance, was headed for many years by the charismatic pianist and cultural diplomat Alicia Perea. Among the most significant institutions created in 1976 was the Instituto Superior de Arte, whose master-level musicology program was designed by Argeliers León. He had been training students at home, as Olavo Alén Rodríguez affectionately recalls in his bio-bibliographic entry on this most influential teacher (2000: 880). Among his students were Alén Rodríguez, Gómez Cairo, Rolando Pérez, Jesús Guanche Pérez, Victoria Eli Rodríguez, Zoila Gómez García, and María Elena Vinueza, namely those who, among many others, would shape musicological research into the twenty-first century.

Starting from the premise that all education is free in Cuba, the Conservatorio Municipal de La Habana was reorganized in 1959 and named after Amadeo Roldán. One year later, conservatories named after the equally revered Alejandro García Caturla and Guillermo Tomás (1868–1933) were created in Havana, and music schools were established in the provinces. The Escuela Nacional de Arte (ENA), which is open to talented students from all over the island, was set up in 1962. Specialized instruction in the arts complements general instruction from the primary to the pre-university levels. From 1963 until 1967, and under the inspired leadership of Odilio Urfé (1921–88), courses aimed at awakening interest in the intellectual dimension of popular music among its practitioners were offered at the Seminario de Música Popular by figures of the stature of Alejo Carpentier, the renowned historian Manuel Moreno Fraginals (1920–2001), and composers Harold Gramatges and Edgardo Martín, among others. This initiative was taken over by the Escuela de Superación (an outreach program), which was named after Ignacio Cervantes (1847–1905), the pianist and composer who wrote Cuba’s most famous danzas. At the university level, the Instituto Superior de Arte (ISA) has offered instruction in all music-related fields since 1976. The Cuban state, through its cultural agencies, provides funding for all the costs associated with specialized music instruction, including textbooks and scores, instruments (which belong to the schools and are lent to the students), teachers’ salaries, and even room and board for students from the provinces, in the case of the Instituto Superior de Arte and the Escuela Nacional de Arte.

The preservation of performance traditions was one of Urfé’s priorities. A virtuoso pianist and a leading performer of popular music, Urfé created ensembles such as the Charanga Nacional de Conciertos through which he promoted the performance traditions of contradanzas, danzas, and danzones. In 1949 he founded the Instituto Musical de Investigaciones Folklóricas, known since 1964 as Seminario de Música Popular, and, after his death in 1988, as Centro de Información y Documentación Musical “Odilio Urfé,” which Gómez Cairo directed from 1988 until 1997. In his research on traditional popular music, Urfé advanced the concept of generic clusters, grouping manifestations of rumba, son, danzón, and canción. He also pioneered the production of anthological recordings, documenting rumba and comparsas as well as the danzón of 1954 and 1955 (Eli Rodríguez 2002: 579). Committed to expanding knowledge about popular styles among their practitioners, he was a devoted teacher who believed in bridging gaps between the popular and academic domains, also the focus of Gómez Cairo’s research. Urfé’s Seminario, for instance, was home to a symphony orchestra integrated by performers of popular music.

In an effort to promote creativity and instill identification with national culture across all sectors of the population, the amateur artists’ movement embraced both workers and students since the early 1960s. Under this umbrella, more than 18,000 groups of musicians and dancers have kept alive many types of popular traditions and specific celebrations. Every town has a Casa de Cultura that sponsors activities, and many offer music instruction for amateurs, giving every person access to the expressions of his or her choice. These institutions play a decisive role in community life.

At the close of the twentieth century, and in order to maintain a high level of institutional support in the face of economic difficulties, the Instituto Cubano de la Música was authorized to retain and reinvest up to 80 percent of revenues from performances, sales of recordings, scores, and instruments. This arrangement has provided greater flexibility to the many agencies promoting cultural activities on the island.

On December 26, 1978, the Ministerio de Cultura inaugurated the Centro de Investigación y Desarrollo de la Música Cubana (CIDMUC). The event (which took place on Carpentier’s birthday), marked the culmination of long efforts on the part of Cuba’s musicologists. It materialized a cherished goal of Fernando Ortiz, Argeliers León, his wife María Teresa Linares, and many others who had been working for many years without official sponsorship. Directed for more than two decades by Olavo Alén Rodríguez, the structure of CIDMUC adheres to the traditional division of musicology into historiographical / ethnomusicological and systematic branches, headed respectively by Victoria Eli Rodríguez and Zoila Gómez García until the mid-1990s. In addition to documenting oral traditions throughout the island, CIDMUC teams conducted research in Nicaragua, Grenada, Guyana, and Guadeloupe, while also studying Haitian and Jamaican settlements in Cuba. Instrumentos de la música folclórico-popular de Cuba, a two-volume set with atlas, which stands as a major achievement in the field of organology, is the most ambitious project undertaken by CIDMUC to date (Centro de Investigación y Desarrollo de la Música Cubana 1997). On the other hand, the division of systematic musicology, whose research team gathered scholars with degrees in psychology, sociology, economics, acoustics, and musicology, generated assessments and projections of various aspects of music in Cuba. This team analyzed production, consumption, and reception patterns, assessing trends in popular and academic composition and projecting outcomes from the activities of performers. Special efforts were made, for instance, to identify musical aptitudes in children and adolescents. In the case of reviews of the quality and quantity of musical instruments produced nationwide, these helped regulate supply and demand. Projects also targeted experimentation into the use of music for therapeutic purposes. A third administrative division, headed for many years by Manuel Santos, oversaw documentation and services for local and visiting researchers working on Cuban music. The archive holds copies of research reports, photos, and an invaluable collection of field recordings. In 2007 one of the top priorities of Laura Vilar Álvarez, CIDMUC’s new director, is to digitize the collection of recordings spanning several decades of fieldwork.

The legacy of CIDMUC is reflected in the essays mapping the wealth of traditional musics on the island in this volume. “Music in the Life of Africans and Their Descendants in the New World,” Argeliers León’s last essay he proudly called “his theory of timbre” and wrote for us in the late 1980s, serves as preface to “Oral Traditions of Cuba,” a survey in which Carmen María Sáenz Coopat and María Elena Vinueza summarize years of fieldwork conducted under the auspices of CIDMUC by the historiographical / ethnomusicological research team, whose members were trained mostly by León. While these scholars engaged in efforts to document and record living oral traditions throughout Cuba from the late 1970s until the mid-1990s, their work also represents a commitment to critical revisionism of Ortiz’s legacy. As one of the sources feeding the prodigious creativity of the Cuban people, Santería is approached from the theological, musicological, and organological perspectives of Juan Mesa Díaz, María Elena Vinueza, and Victoria Eli Rodríguez, respectively. In “The Comparsa in Cuba,” Argeliers León and María Teresa Linares trace the meanings embedded in a tradition of representational parades ranging from the early displays of ethnic identity by cabildos de nación in the nineteenth century and their transformation into competitive emblems of neighborhoods up to the 1950s, to the formalized pageantry of the more recent carnival celebrations. Although the cultural contributions of the Chinese who brought Cantonese opera to Cuba remained largely confined to two coexisting groups of immigrants differentiated by class and economic standing, the Haitian traditions that reached Cuba with two major migrations almost a century apart found fertile soil on the Spanish-speaking island, propitiating retentions and assimilations that now are integral to Cuban culture. These antithetical types of reception are discussed by María Teresa Linares, the revered doyenne of folk music studies, and by Zobeyda Ramos Venereo, a former member of the ethnomusicological research team at CIDMUC who specializes in Haitian traditions in Cuba, as do Laura Vilar Álvarez and Olavo Alén Rodríguez, respectively the present and former CIDMUC directors. The section on post-1959 structure of musical life in this quasi-historical sketch is based on information gathered for us by Zoila Gómez García, who headed the systematic musicology division at CIDMUC until the 90s. She was a brilliant scholar who already had produced a lasting body of work when she died suddenly in Mexico City at age 50 in 1998. The work of these scholars, who contributed in countless ways to shaping the coverage of Cuba’s traditional musics, appears in English translation for the first time in this volume. These and other Cuban scholars also enrich the subsequent volumes in our multi-volume history, which we set out to write from the perspectives of cultural insiders.

Through the complicity of literature with political philosophy in Martí, with ethnology in Ortiz, and with music in Carpentier, we have attempted to capture some of “the myths, discourses, or fictions that constitute the foundational symbols of Cuban identity,” and, by doing so, construct our own “Cuba imagined.” In Alan West’s haunting words (1997: 4),

The “island of the unexpected” has produced both the first mulatto cosmonaut and almost nuclear Armageddon. The magical has brought forth Santería and the poetry of José Lezama lima. The impossible has been incarnated by both José Martí at a sublime level and by an array of politicians . . . . The headlong rush into the unknown often confounds our received notions about human conduct or what is possible in the realm of action and thought. Categories become fuzzy, definitions elusive: it becomes too difficult to discern when the rumba ends and the funeral march begins, or is it the other way around?


Alegría, Fernando 1970. “Alejo Carpentier: Realismo mágico” in Homenaje a Alejo Carpentier: Variaciones interpretativas en torno a su obra, ed. by Helmy F. Giacoman. New York: Las Américas Publishing, 35–69.

Alén Rodríguez, Olavo 1986. La música de las sociedades de tumba francesa en Cuba. La Habana: Casa de las Américas.

 _____________ 2000. “León Pérez, Argeliers” in Diccionario de la música española e hispanoamericana, 10 vols., ed. by Emilio Casares Rodicio with Victoria Eli Rodríguez and Benjamín Yépez Chamorro. Madrid: Sociedad General de Autores y Editores, vol. 6, 878–81.

Ardévol, José 1969. Introducción a Cuba: La música. La Habana: Instituto del Libro.

Arrom, José Juan 1971. “La Virgen del Cobre: Historia, leyenda y símbolo sincrético” in Certidumbre de América: Estudios de letras, folklore y cultura, 2nd expanded edition. Madrid: Editorial Gredos, 184–214.

Bachiller y Morales, Antonio 1883. Cuba primitiva, 2nd edition. La Habana: Miguel de Villa.

Baquero, Gastón 1977. “La charada china: Una de las magias o poetizaciones cubanas de la realidad” in La enciclopedia de Cuba, 2nd edition. San Juan [Puerto Rico] and Madrid: Enciclopedia Clásicos Cubanos, 303–24.

Barickman, B. J. 1996. “Tobacco industry” in Encyclopedia of Latin American history and culture, 5 vols., ed. by Barbara Tenenbaum. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, vol. 5, 245–46.

Bush, Andrew 1996. “Lyric poetry of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries” in The Cambridge history of Latin American literature, 3 vols., ed. by Roberto González Echevarría and Enrique PupoWalker. Cambridge, Great Britain: Cambridge University Press, vol. I, 375–400.

Carpentier, Alejo 1931. Manita en el Suelo, opera bufa en un acto y cinco escenas. Typewritten libretto at Havana’s Museo Nacional de la Música. A fragment appeared in the Boletín of the Dirección Central de Editoriales, Instituto Cubano del Libro (December 15, 1974), 6. The complete libretto (with changes?) was published in Signos (Santa Clara, Cuba, January–December 1978), 83–97.

 _____________ 1933 in 1979. Ecue-Yamba-O. Barcelona: Editorial Bruguera.

 _____________ 1946. La música en Cuba. México: Fondo de Cultura Económica (Colección Tierra Firme). The 1972 reprint edition under the Colección Popular of Fondo de Cultura Económica was overseen by Hilario González (personal communication to Malena Kuss, 1982). English translation by Alan West-Durán, as Music in Cuba, edited and with an introduction by Timothy Brennan (Minneapolis and London: University of Minnesota Press, 2001).

 _____________ 1948 in 1967. “De lo real maravilloso americano” in Tientos y diferencias, 3rd expanded edition. Montevideo: ARCA, 102–20. (“De lo real maravilloso americano” was first published in El Nacional [Caracas, April 8, 1948]).

 _____________ 1949. El reino de este mundo. México: Edición y Distribución Iberoamericana de Publicaciones, S. A. (EDIAPSA). English translation by Harriet de Onís as The kingdom of this world (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1957).

 _____________ 1953. Los pasos perdidos. México: Edición y Distribución lberoamericana de Publicaciones. English translation by Harriet de Onís as The lost steps, 2nd edition (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1971). Critical edition, edited and with an introduction by Roberto González Echevarría, Los pasos perdidos (Madrid: Cátedra, 1985).

 _____________ 1956 in 1983. El acoso, 4th edition. Barcelona: Editorial Bruguera.

 _____________ 1964 in 1987. “Problemática de la actual novela latinoamericana” in Tientos, diferencias y otros ensayos. Barcelona: Plaza y Janés, 7–28. (In the 1964 edition [México: Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México], the title appears as “Problemática de la actual novela hispanoamericana.”)

 _____________ 1967. Tientos y diferencias, 3rd expanded edition. Montevideo: ARCA.

 _____________ 1974. Concierto barroco. México: Siglo Veintiuno Editores.

 _____________ 1977. “América Latina en la confluencia de coordenadas históricas y su repercusión en la música” in América Latina en su música, ed. by Isabel Aretz. México: Siglo Veintiuno Editores; Paris: UNESCO, 7–19.

 _____________ 1978. La consagración de la primavera. México: Siglo Veintiuno Editores.

 _____________ 1980. Ese músico que llevo adentro, selected writings about music compiled by Zoila Gómez García. La Habana: Editorial Letras Cubanas, 3 vols.

Casa de las Américas 1982. Ensayos de música latinoamericana. La Habana: Ediciones Casa de las Américas (Serie Música, Colección Nuestros países).

Centro de Investigación y Desarrollo de la Música Cubana, Olavo Alén Rodríguez, Director 1997. Instrumentos de la música folclórico-popular de Cuba, 2 vols. and Atlas by Victoria Eli Rodríguez, with Ana Victoria Casanova Oliva, Jesús Guanche Pérez, Zobeyda Ramos Venereo, Carmen María Sáenz Coopat, Laura Delia Vilar Álvarez, and María Elena Vinueza González. La Habana: Editorial de Ciencias Sociales—Empresa Geocuba, Ediciones Geo.

Cone, Edward T. 1962 in 1972. “Stravinsky: The progress of a method” in Perspectives on Schoenberg and Stravinsky, revised edition, ed. by Benjamin Boretz and Edward T. Cone. New York: W. W. Norton, 155–64.

Dahlhaus, Carl 1974 in 1980. “Nationalism and music” in Between romanticism and modernism: Four studies in the music of the later nineteenth century, trans. by Mary Whittall. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 79–101. (Original title, “Die Idee des Nationalismus in der Musik.”)

Eli Rodríguez, Victoria 1999. “García Caturla, Alejandro” in Diccionario de la música española e hispanoamericana, 10 vols., ed. by Emilio Casares Rodicio with Victoria Eli Rodríguez and Benjamín Yépez Chamorro. Madrid: Sociedad General de Autores y Editores, vol. 5, 431–36.

 _____________ 2002. “Urfé González, Odilio” in Diccionario de la música española e hispanoamericana, 10 vols., ed. by Emilio Casares Rodicio with Victoria Eli Rodríguez and Benjamín Yépez Chamorro. Madrid: Sociedad General de Autores y Editores, vol. 10, 579–80.

Fernández Robaina, Tomás 2003. “Cuba” in African Caribbeans: A reference guide, ed. by Alan West-Durán. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 55–71.

Fleming, Sara 1996. “Gómez y Báez, Máximo” in Encyclopedia of Latin American history and culture, 5 vols., ed. by Barbara Tenenbaum. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, vol. 3, 79–80.

Friedson, Steven M. 1996. Dancing prophets: Musical experience in Tumbuka healing. Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press.

García-Carranza, Araceli, compiler 1970. Bio-bibliografia de Don Fernando Ortiz. La Habana: Instituto del Libro.

Gómez García, Zoila 2002. “Roldán Gardes, Amadeo” and “Sánchez de Fuentes, Eduardo” in Diccionario de la música española e hispanoamericana, 10 vols., ed. by Emilio Casares Rodicio with Victoria Eli Rodríguez and Benjamín Yépez Chamorro. Madrid: Sociedad General de Autores y Editores, vol. 9, 344–50 and 676–79.

Gómez García, Zoila, and Victoria Eli Rodríguez 1999. “Cuba” in Diccionario de la música española e hispanoamericana, 10 vols., ed. by Emilio Casares Rodicio with Victoria Eli Rodríguez and Benjamín Yépez Chamorro. Madrid: Sociedad General de Autores y Editores, vol. 4, 246–74.

González Echevarría, Roberto 1977 in 1990. Alejo Carpentier: The pilgrim at home. Austin: University of Texas Press. Spanish edition, Alejo Carpentier: El peregrino en su patria (México: Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, 1993).

 _____________ 1998. Myth and archive: A theory of Latin American narrative. Durham and London: Duke University Press. Spanish translation by Virginia Aguirre Muñoz, Mito y archivo: Una teoría de la narrativa latinoamericana (México: Fondo de Cultura Económica, 1998).

Gramatges, Harold 1983. Presencia de la revolución en la música cubana. La Habana: Editorial Letras Cubanas.

Guanche Pérez, Jesús 1999a. “Comunidades aborígenes en Cuba.” Unpublished essay commissioned by The Universe of Music project for these volumes.

 _____________ 1999b. “Figueredo, Pedro” in Diccionario de la música española e hispanoamericana, 10 vols., ed. by Emilio Casares Rodicio with Victoria Eli Rodríguez and Benjamín Yépez Chamorro. Madrid: Sociedad General de Autores y Editores, vol. 5, 129–30.

 _____________ 2000. “Himno, Cuba” in Diccionario de la música española e hispanoamericana, 10 vols., ed. by Emilio Casares Rodicio with Victoria Eli Rodríguez and Benjamín Yépez Chamorro. Madrid: Sociedad General de Autores y Editores, vol. 6, 318–19.

Guerra, Ramiro 1927. Azúcar y población en las Antillas. La Habana: Cultural, S. A.

 _____________ 1971. Manual de historia de Cuba desde su descubrimiento hasta 1868, 4th edition. La Habana: Editorial de Ciencias Sociales.

Henríquez, María Antonieta, editor 1978. Alejandro García Caturla: Correspondencia. Ciudad de La Habana: Editorial Arte y Literatura.

Hernández, José M. 1996. “García, Calixto,” “Luz y Caballero, José de la,” “Maceo, Antonio,” and “Martí y Pérez, José Julián” in Encyclopedia of Latin American history and culture, 5 vols., ed. by Barbara Tenenbaum. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, vol. 3, 23, 476, 480–81, 534–36.

Iglesias García, Fe 1996. “Cuba” in Encyclopedia of Latin American history and culture, 5 vols., ed. by Barbara Tenenbaum. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, vol. 2, 306–11.

Kartomi, Margaret J. 1981. “The processes and results of musical culture contact: A discussion of terminology and concepts,” Ethnomusicology 25/2: 227–49.

Kit, Wade A. 1996. “Céspedes, Carlos Manuel de” and “Sugar industry” in Encyclopedia of Latin American history and culture, 5 vols., ed. by Barbara Tenenbaum. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, vol. 2, 67; vol. 5, 187–88.

Knight, Franklin W. 1978. The Caribbean: The genesis of a fragmented nationalism. New York: Oxford University Press.

Kuss, Malena 1992a. “Identity and change: Nativism in operas from Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico” in Musical repercussions of 1492: Encounters in text and performance, ed. by Carol E. Robertson. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 299–335.

 _____________ 1992b. “The confluence of historical coordinates in Carpentier / Caturla’s puppet opera Manita en el Suelo” in Musical repercussions of 1492: Encounters in text and performance, ed. by Carol E. Robertson. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 255–380.

 _____________ 2004. “Prologue” to Music in Latin America and the Caribbean: An encyclopedic history, vol. I: Performing beliefs: Indigenous peoples of South America, Central America, and Mexico, ed. by Malena Kuss. Austin: University of Texas Press, ix–xxvi.

 _____________ 2005. “Il pensiero occidentale da un punto di vista transculturale (la decolonizzazione dell’America latina)” in Enciclopedia della musica, 5 vols., ed. by Jean-Jacques Nattiez. Torino: Giulio Einaudi editore, vol. 5, 32–62.

Kutzinski, Vera M. 1996. “Afro-Hispanic American literature” in The Cambridge history of Latin American literature, 3 vols., ed. by Roberto González Echevarría and Enrique Pupo-Walker. Cambridge, Great Britain: Cambridge University Press, vol. 2, 164–94.

Leante, César 1970. “Confesiones sencillas de un escritor barroco” (1964) in Homenaje a Alejo Carpentier: Variaciones interpretativas en torno a su obra, ed. by Helmy F. Giacoman. New York: Las Américas Publishing Co., 13–31.

Le Riverend, Julio 1974. Historia económica de Cuba, 4th edition. La Habana: Ediciones Revolucionarias.

Lodge, David 2004. “Goodbye to all that,” a review of Terry Eagleton’s After theory in The New York review of books 51/9 (May 27): 39–43.

Manuel, Peter, editor 1991. Essays on Cuban music: North American and Cuban perspectives. Lanham, Maryland: University Press of America.

Martín, Edgardo 1971. Panorama histórico de la música cubana. La Habana: Cuadernos CEU—Universidad de La Habana.

Moore, Robin D. 2006. Music and revolution: Cultural change in socialist Cuba. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press.

Ortiz, Fernando 1924. Glosario de afronegrismos: Estudio de lingüística, lexicología, etimología y semántica. La Habana: Imprenta El Siglo XX.

 _____________ 1940a in 1983. Contrapunteo cubano del tabaco y el azúcar, with prefaces by Julio Le Riverend and Bronislaw Malinowski. La Habana: Editorial de Ciencias Sociales. English translation by Harriet de Onís as Cuban counterpoint: Tobacco and sugar (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1947).

 _____________ 1940b. Los factores humanos de la cubanidad. La Habana: Editorial Molina y Compañía.

 _____________ 1950 in 1965. La africanía de la música folklórica de Cuba, 2nd revised edition. La Habana: Editora Universitaria.

 _____________ 1952–55. Los instrumentos de la música afrocubana. La Habana: Publicaciones de la Dirección de Cultura del Ministerio de Educación, 5 vols.

Powelson, Michael 1996. “Saco, José Antonio” in Encyclopedia of Latin American history and culture, 5 vols., ed. by Barbara Tenenbaum. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, vol. 5, 6.

Quiroga, José 1996. “Spanish American poetry from 1922 to 1975” in The Cambridge history of Latin American literature, 3 vols., ed. by Roberto González Echevarría and Enrique Pupo-Walker. Cambridge, Great Britain: Cambridge University Press, vol. 2, 303–64.

Roh, Franz 1925. Nach-Expressionismus (Magischer Realismus): Probleme der neuesten europäischen Malerei. Leipzig: Klinkhardt und Biermann.

Saco, José Antonio 1875–1879 in 1937. Historia de la esclavitud de la raza africana. La Habana: Editorial Alfa, 2 vols.

Sánchez de Fuentes, Eduardo 1928. “El areíto de Anacaona” in Folklorismo: Artículos, notas y críticas musicales. La Habana: Imprenta Molina y Compañía, 7–18.

 _____________ 1938. La música aborigen de América. La Habana: Imprenta Molina y Compañía.

Saruski, Jaime, and Gerardo Mosquera 1979. Política cultural de Cuba. Paris: UNESCO.

Slonimsky, Nicolas 1971. Music since 1900, 4th edition. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons.

Stabb, Martin S. 1996. “The essay of nineteenth-century Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean” in The Cambridge history of Latin American literature, 3 vols., ed. by Roberto González Echevarría and Enrique Pupo-Walker. Cambridge, Great Britain: Cambridge University Press, vol. 1, 590–607.

Thompson, Donald 1993. “The Cronistas de Indias revisited: Historical reports, archeological evidence, and literary and artistic traces of indigenous music and dance in the Greater Antilles at the time of the Conquista,” Latin American music review 14/2: 181–201.

Toorn, Pieter C. van den 1983. The music of Igor Stravinsky. New Haven and London: Yale University Press.

Valero, Roberto 1996. “Carpentier, Alejo” in Encyclopedia of Latin American history and culture, 5 vols., ed. by Barbara Tenenbaum. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, vol. 1, 571–72.

Vargas Llosa, Mario 1990. “Questions of Conquest: What Columbus wrought and what he did not,” Harpers 281/1687 (December): 45–53.

Vinueza, María Elena 1988. La presencia arará en la música folclórica de Matanzas. La Habana: Ediciones Casa de las Américas.

Watkins, Glenn 1994. Pyramids at the Louvre: Music, culture, and collage from Stravinsky to the postmodernists. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.

West, Alan 1997. Tropics of history: Cuba imagined. Westport, Connecticut: Bergin and Garvey, an imprint of the Greenwood Publishing Group, Inc.