Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Villanueva, Margaret

Degree Name

B.A. (Bachelor of Arts)

Legacy Department

Department of Anthropology


This paper will provide the reader with an overview of popular Cuban music and dance forms as well as an understanding of how the island’s history of cultural diversity has empowered its music to become an influential component to all of Latin music. In particular, African cultural elements that have effected Cuba’s popular culture as well as its national identity will be discussed. Beginning with African tribal influences as well as other cultural elements, known prior to the abolition of slavery, the paper will move into the post-slavery evolution of Cuba’s popular culture. From there, several of Cuba’s popular music and dance forms will be presented in more detail, including African traits apparent in each. Afrocubanism and Cuban national dance will be discussed in order to better understand the importance of the island’s rich African heritage in today’s national consciousness. In the discussion, I will consider the importance of all of these aspects and discuss why it is important to learn about the island’s history and Africa’s contribution to it.


Includes bibliographical references.


23 pages




Northern Illinois University

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