Son Day, that very Cuban way of feeling alive

Son Day, that very Cuban way of feeling alive


Ana Maria Silveira

More than a musical genre, the Cuban son is the Caribbean island’s way of being and living, in the opinion of the renowned Cuban pianist and composer Frank Fernández, commenting on the celebration, for the first time, Son Day on May 8th.

The genre "exceeds" that designation, said Frank Fernández, and pointed out that the son is also a rhythm that synthesizes elements of many types of music, such as rumba, changüí ... and is the biological father of salsa, and other diverse slopes that later came to the birth of soneros and gained international recognition, say the cha-cha, the mambo ...

Rhythm embodied in song and dance, most musicologists point to the eastern Cuban region as the cradle of son, in territories such as Santiago de Cuba, Manzanillo, Guantánamo and Baracoa, and as the most remote and visible example, Son de la Má Teodora, dating from 1562, played by sisters of Dominican origin Micaela and Teodora Ginés.

Elements of Spanish music, including the guitar, and African, such as percussion, made up this very Creole genre, which has also included in its instruments, through its evolution, the Cuban harpsichord, the triplet, the bongo, the trumpet. It is danced as a couple, sensual, with movements of the hips and approaches, of mestizo creation, the son did not enjoy the approval of the so-called high society in its beginning, but it made its way, unstoppably, in the cities of Santiago de Cuba and Havana, and had a boom in international popularity starting in the 1930s.

The date chosen to celebrate Son Day pays tribute to the birth on this day of two great beginners of this genre: Miguel Matamoros (Santiago de Cuba, 1894-1971), founder of the Matamoros Trio, composer and performer of memorable songs, such as Son de la loma (Hill son), El que siembra su maíz (He who sows his corn), Lágrimas negras (Black tears), which placed Cuban music on the international scene and major record companies of the time.

Miguelito Cuní (Pinar del Río 1917-1984), also a prominent composer and performer, from the west of the island, perhaps withou. the purity of the old days, but with its roots intact, the Cuban son, Intangible Cultural

Heritage of the Nation, has been unbeatable. Son celebrates its Day with dissimilar cultural actions, especially online, in a well-deserved commemoration at the initiative of a talented cultivator of the genre in recent times, Adalberto Álvarez, rightly called The Gentleman of Son.