Danzones come from Matanzas
By Alina Veranes
On January 1, 1879, the first Cuban danzón was performed in the city of Matanzas, created by musician Miguel Faílde (1852-1921), son of that land. This new rhythm, slow but rhythmic, very soon gained preference in the popular and even aristocratic dance halls of the time, until it became our national dance.
So many years after its presentation of credentials, it can be affirmed that the Cuban danzon has not died, but lives a natural evolutionary process and at the same time well undertaken, an endeavor that was reborn from the very cradle of that musical and dance genre, by of the great-great-grandson of the immortal Miguelito Primero or King of the Bugle. We are talking about the young Ethiel Fernández Faílde, known as Ethiel Faílde, flutist, arranger and director of the typical orchestra that bears the name of his illustrious predecessor, which in 2022 celebrated 10 years of being created in his beloved city, the same as in the 19th century, called the Athens of Cuba.
The young Faílde, of classical academic training, assumed by his own will and filial love the responsibility of trying to revitalize the taste and fondness, especially of the younger generations, for the danzón and even its derivative, the danzonete, in times when the dance has nothing to do with the 19th century or the beginning of the 20th.
These first 10 years of the new Faílde orchestra have had a very favorable impact on the Cuban population, although Ethiel considers he must continue working to renew the genre, with a current repertoire alongside the traditional one, even using present-day rhythms such as timba and salsa.
Of course, he did not lose his essence and his identifying stamp, that of his great-great-grandfather's first danzón, Simpson's Heights, a majestically memorable piece of music.
A classic Ethiel and his orchestra are the center of multiple cultural projects that go beyond themselves and their presentations and have already radiated concerts, festivals, dance and composition contests, colored lights around the mythical Cuban danzón, the one that even Queen Elizabeth herself danced.