Cuban Culture and Cultural Relations, 1959-, Part 4: Music

Cuban Culture and Cultural Relations, 1959-, Part 4: Music
This primary source collection documents the history of music in Latin America and the Caribbean, with a special focus on Revolutionary Cuba. It explores the role of music in society, and covers festivals, performances, trends, and persons (musicians, composers, producers, etc.). The collection is scanned from the so-called “vertical archive” at Casa de las Américas in Havana, Cuba.

Project advisor: Rosa Marina González, Director, Casa de las Américas Library
Introduction text: María Elena Vinueza, Director, Casa de las Américas Music Department
Project coordinator: Johan Vogel, CEO, Scan2Preserve

More information:
Get access

Page 1 of 3 (showing 0 - 500 of 1164 entries).
Go to | Next page

Music in Latin America is a universe of sound that reflects the region's rich cultural heritage. From the contagious rhythms of samba to the passionate melodies of bolero, Latin American music is the result of the intense process of transculturation developed over more than four centuries between the native populations and the diverse cultures brought from Europe, Africa and Asia. Each country in the hemisphere has shaped its own musical culture, bringing to the international scene such significant genres as Argentine tango, Colombian cumbia, Brazilian bossa nova, and Cuban son. These, as well as numerous other music and dance genres and expressions, are an effective means of celebrating and preserving the cultural identity of Latin American communities. Likewise, music is a space for recording the historical memory of peoples who have been able to turn song into a weapon of struggle, a cry of protest, or a call for unity and solidarity in the defense of their rights.

Accumulated over six decades, the Music section in the so-called ‘vertical archive’ at Casa de las Américas documents musical developments in both Cuba, the Caribbean, and Latin America. In addition, it covers some European countries. This unique collection comprises 1,163 folders with various types of documents—press clippings, telexes, brochures, event programs, catalogs, photographs, etc. Both popular and academic events are documented, for instance in the form of concert announcements, reviews, and interviews.

The archive deals with a wide range of themes: musical personalities (performers, composers, directors, groups), festivals and events, musical genres, conferences, etc. The folders are organized by country; within the folders, documents are stored chronologically. Each folder gives access to documents about notable persons in the Cuban and Latin American cultural scene, music and musicology events in Cuba, and events taking place in Latin America between the 1960s and the present day. Within Latin America, especially Mexico, Chile, Brazil, Peru, Venezuela, and Puerto Rico are well represented.

The files about the 1960s, ‘70s and ‘80s are particularly noteworthy, since they allow researchers to track ground-breaking musical developments, such as the emergence of musical avant-gardes on the Continent, the Protest Song, the New Latin American Song ( nueva canción) and the Cuban nueva trova. The archive is also rich on international musical events, including for instance the Latin American Contemporary Music Festival, the Caribbean Song Festival, Mexico’s Cervantino Festival, Chile’s Viña del Mar Song Festival, and the Teresa Carreño International Piano Competition in Miami.

Cuba, of course, is well covered, especially when it comes to events organized by Casa de las Américas. Extensive information is available on the 1967 Protest Song conference, the 1972 Latin American Music conference, the 1978 Guitarists from Latin America and the Caribbean conference, the 1983 Tango Yesterday and Today conference, and the 1997 Songs of the Rose and the Thorn conference. Of course, documentation about the music prizes awarded by Casa de las Américas for composition and musicology are not lacking.

Finally, scholars and students exploring the archive will find themselves rewarded with unparalleled records about all the great musicians who over the decades have performed in Cuba’s concert halls.

María Elena Vinueza
Director, Department of Music, Casa de las Américas, Havana

Cite this page

Cuban Culture and Cultural Relations, 1959-, Part 4: Music, Advisor: María Elena Vinueza (Director, Department of Music), Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2024 <>