Clave Consciousness and Montuno Aesthetics 1945–1955
This chapter explores musical and political evolution of Cuba in the early 20th century. Cuba provides an interesting condensation of the history of the Caribbean region where sugar and slavery were the dominating and defining features of society. Musical developments in Cuba demonstrate this history on a cultural plane, and by examining the music of the Rumba and the Son in the pre-revolutionary Cuban context and their confluence and cross-fertilization in the 20th century, we can glimpse dynamics of national and regional consciousness, ethnic and cultural identification, class formations and power, slave culture, experience and expression, the transitions of emancipation and urbanization, and the different rhythms of industrial production and modern labor-discipline. The Cuban counterpoint of the Rumba/Son complex reveals the complex interrelations between modes of production and musical formations and the polyrhythmic tensions of race, class, and nation.
Keywords: Cuba, Clave, Son-montuno, Rumba, Arsenio Rodriguez