ARTS & CULTURE
Culture is the quality in a person or society that arises from a concern for what is regarded as excellent in arts, letters, manners, scholarly pursuits, sports etc. Culture is a particular form or stage of civilization, as that of a certain nation or period:
Cuban culture is diverse, complex and truly fascinating with many varying influences throughout its history, from Europe, Africa and South America. Through this an incredibly unique Cuban identity has been shaped.
Cuba is a vibrant country full of music, poetry, dancing, singing and chatting. Music and dance are an important part of Cuban society, and the traditional musical and dance styles are still popular and influential to this day.
The Cuban revolution was one of the most fundamental changes to occur in Cuban history. The political and social upheaval that occurred has, without doubt, had a huge impact on the development of modern Cuban culture. The Revolution gave Cubans hope in the future and resulted in great outpourings of expression through Arts and Culture. Cuban culture is world renowned.
Cuban culture encompasses a wide range of dance forms. The island’s indigenous people performed rituals. In addition, after colonization numerous dance traditions were brought by black slaves from West Africa and the Congo basin, giving rise to religious dances.
After the colonization of Cuba by Spain, European dance forms were introduced which gave rise to the Cuban contradanza, which in turned spawned a series of 19th and 20th ballroom dances including the danzón, mambo and cha-cha-cha. From this other dance forms were evolved such as secular forms of rumba.
Cuban music also contributed to the emergence of Latin dance styles in the United States, namely rhumba (ballroom rumba) and salsa.
Cuba has ballet schools across the country. The Cuban National Ballet School (Escuela Nacional Cubana de Ballet) in Havana, with approximately 3,000 students is the biggest ballet school in the world and the most prestigious ballet school in Cuba. It is directed by Ramona de Sáa. The Cuban National Ballet is also a renowned ballet company located in Havana.
The music of Cuba is comprised of a large set of unique traditions influenced mostly by West African and European (especially Spanish) music.
Cuban music is often considered one of the richest and most influential regional musics of the world. For instance, the son cubano merges an adapted Spanish guitar (tres), melody, harmony, and lyrical traditions with Afro-Cuban percussion and rhythms. Almost nothing remains of the original native traditions, since the native population was exterminated in the 16th century.
Cuba’s famous Buena Vista Social Club Band
Renowned Cuban singer Telmery Diaz
One of the most internationally popular Cuban melodies is “Guantanamero” with lyrics based on José Marti, may be heard on our Home Page.
Cuban art is an exceptionally diverse cultural blend of African, South American, and Spanish elements, reflecting the diverse demographic makeup of the island.
Cubans like to exhibit their art
Ché poster, 1968, designed by Alfredo Rostgaard, based on iconic photograph by Alberto Korda.
After the Cuban Revolution of 1959, some artists felt it was in their best interests to leave Cuba to produce their art, while others stayed behind, either happy or merely content to be creating art in Cuba with government support. It was during the 1980s that art began to reflect true uninfluenced expression. Much of Cuban art took on Afro-Cuban sensibilities.
Well known internationally is the work of photographer Alberto Korda, whose photographs following the early days of the Cuban Revolution and included a picture of Che Guevara which was to become one of the most recognizable images of the 20th century.
Slavery in Cuba
Slavery in Cuba existed on the territory of the island of Cuba from the 16th century until the slave trade was ended in 1867. In that time more than a million African slaves were brought to Cuba to work for slave owners primarily on sugar plantations and in the sugar mills. The forerunners of many Cubans today were slaves.
With the end of slavery, plantation owners transported more than 100,000 Chinese workers and they were held in conditions similar to the former African slaves. Their offspring remain in Cuba today and make up part of the cultural mosaic.
Slave Owner Branding a Female Slave
Baseball is the most popular sport in Cuba. This can be seen with children playing in streets and lots all over the country. Other popular sports and pastimes include volleyball, basketball, sailing, trekking and boxing.
Cuba is a dominant force in amateur boxing, consistently achieving high medal tallies in international competitions
Julio César La Cruz Peraza (born 11 August 1989) is a Cuban amateur boxer. He won the light heavyweight world title in 2011, 2013 and 2015, as well as the Olympic gold medal in 2016.
Religion In Cuba
Roman Catholicism is the foremost religion in Cuba but Afro-Cuban religions, a blend of native African religions and Roman Catholicism are widely practised in Cuba. There are also a number of fundamentalist religions being practised.
Cuban customs were altered by the revolution and although the government of Cuba did not restrict religious practice, religious practice was discouraged and not supported by the Revolutionary Cuban government. Relations have relaxed between the Cuban and religious leadership. Unlike earlier in the revolution Catholics can now join the Communist Party. Nowadays there is much greater leniency towards religion, and festivities such as Christmas are widely celebrated.
John Lennon Statue in Havana
In Cuba, people still have time for each other and for their guests. Cuban culture has managed to preserve the past whilst still maintaining forward movement. When visiting Cuba, it is like going back in time to the 1950’s; with old vintage cars, a relaxed atmosphere, and no hurries. On another dimension it also provides a positive picture of what might be in the future.
Fidel Castro On John Lennon
“What makes him great in my eyes is his thinking, his ideas. I share his dreams completely. I too am a dreamer who has seen his dreams turn into reality,” added the 74-year-old former guerrilla who took power in the 1959 Cuban Revolution.