By Delia Poey (auth.)
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Additional resources for Cuban Women and Salsa: To the Beat of Their Own Drum
While Cuban music may have a strong tradition, its tradition is not synonymous with purity, and may well be one marked by impurity. ” As the lead vocalist of Sonora Matancera, Cruz’s stage persona changed. In contrast to her earlier performances, she began to use her body more freely, moving about the stage and dancing. ”19 During her time with the group, Cruz’s stage 38 C u b a n Wo m e n a n d S a l s a persona matured. The counterpoint between tradition and innovation was reflected in the aesthetic choices she made onstage as much as how she behaved offstage.
Salsa music is often posed as a manifestation of racial democracy through the rhythms and the themes of Blackness within the lyrics. However, if we examine the role Blacks have played in salsa music specifically and Latin music more generally we find a series of problematic stereotypes . . The role these figures play in salsa music is most frequently of sensuality and play. In this case, salsa music is not different from Latin musical genres that were its precursors in expressions of Blackness .
The poem and song verses present a speaker—presumably a black male—lamenting his loss of a lover, clearly referred to as a black woman, due to his poverty. The verses are followed by a description of revelry of music and dance witnessed by the speaker—a revelry that, although recounted in an up-tempo beat, only serves to highlight the speaker’s own loss and dejection. 65 As interpreted by Mendoza, the song is exemplary of the reappropriation of Afrocuban cultural expressions by Afrocuban artists and performers after the 1940s.