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Music of Cuba: Topics
Bolero Chachachá
Charanga Classical music
Contradanza Conga
Danzón Filín
Guajira Guaracha
Habanera Jazz
Hip hop Mambo
Musical theatre Nueva trova
Rumba Son
Timba Trova
Awards Beny Moré Award
National anthem "La Bayamesa"
Caribbean music
Bahamas - Bermuda - Cayman Islands - Cuba - Dominican Republic - Haiti - Jamaica - Lesser Antilles - Puerto Rico - Trinidad and Tobago - Turks and Caicos Islands

Guaguancó is a sub-genre of Cuban rumba, a complex rhythmic music and dance style. The traditional line-up consists of:

  • three drums, similar to conga drums: the tumba (lowest), llamador (middle, playing a cross-clave counter rhythm), and quinto (highest, solo drum). These parts may also be played on cajones, wooden boxes.
  • claves
  • a solo singer
  • the coro (chorus)
  • two dancers, one male, one female.[1]

Other instruments may be used on occasion, for example spoons, palitos (wooden sticks striking the side of the drum) or guagua (kind of woodblock).

Some historians have suggested that the guaguanco may be derived from the yuka, a secular dance of the Bantu people. It became distinct from other forms of rumba, such as yambu and columbia, in the mid-1800s. Usually danced by a male-female couple, it represents a flirtatious, sexual game and includes a distinctive body movement called vacunao (pelvic thrust) performed by the male dancer (also found in other African-based dances from Latin America).

During a number, dancers, lead vocal and quinto interact in a complex manner:

"The couple begins to dance -- the male dancer is more active as he circles around her without touching her. The dance climaxes as the male attempts to give the vacunao when the female is unprepared to avoid it. Much of her dancing expertise resides in her ability to entice the male while skillfully avoiding being touched by his vacunao." [2]


  1. ^ Orovio, Helio 2004. Cuban music from A to Z. p191
  2. ^ Boggs, Vernon 1992. Salsiology.


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