Categories: Musical culture

Guaguanco or salsa

Guauanco or Salsa? History of Son-Guaguanco!

Guaguanco or Salsa? History of Son-Guaguanco!

Lately with the comeback of classic salsa many have noticed a genre called simply "Guaguanco" which often returns in many pieces, especially the years ' 60.
To explain its history and see how over the years, this genre has evolved in many directions, in countries such as Puerto Rico or in cities like New York, we'll take a step back in the early ' 40 in Cuba.
There are two Guaguanco in isla grande, the first belonging to the generic complex of Rumba and the second belonging to the generic complex of the Son. The latter was established in the early years ' 40 by the most important innovator of Cuban music: Arsenio Rodriguez.
Arsenio introduced at that time (1940) the congas within the classical training of Son: Conjunto.

Arsenio Rodriguez

Between the rhythms which came to light at first there were the Son Montuno, Son and Son Afro Guaguanco.
La Rumba Guaguanco, with the classical 3/2 clave with the third shot moved onto four upbeat was not widespread and popular until the end of the years ' 50, on the contrary the Guaguanco popularity was just what Arsenio Rodriguez.

But let's see the differences between the two.

The Son Guaguanco is basically a Son with the classical 3/2 or 2/3 clave, which uses the bongos in the years ' 30 and then, starting in the ' 40, the congas (shared with the Rumba Guaguanco); features introduction called "Diana" which is typical of Rumba and we can recognize melodic chant derived from Andalusian music with typical intro "the the lay, the lay"!
This is a reference of course sang at the beginning of the piece, but then the song flows like a normal Son, you use the Tres, Bongos, Maracas and Guiro and wind instruments, usually 4 Trumpets.
The plan accompanied the start of the song "Diana" with an arpeggio characteristic in parallel octaves and that everyone has heard at least once in the tunes of Salsa.
The running time is the traditional one of the Son, while the congas evoke sometimes certain shapes used in Rumba, especially in the first part.
This is how you see a tribute to folklore "black" in Cuba that Arsenio wanted to put in the "white" Son.
The Son Guaguanco obtained a good success in a short time, although not at the level of the Son Montuno, which invaded all the Caribe and the United States.
Arsenio, blind to an accident when he was still a child, he decided in the late ' 40 heading to New York where he hoped to cure his illness.
Arrived in the United States around 1950, he discovered his will that no one could give him his sight, but certainly his arrival brought all his genius in composing music and creating new rhythms.
His Hay fuego en el 23 soon became a huge success, still one of universal standards of Salsa!

The success though was not decreed immediately, Arsenio comes booming Latin Jazz, Mambo and Cha Cha Cha, played by huge Big bands such as those of Beny Morè, Machito, Tito Puente and Tito Rodriguez.
The sound of his traditional Conjunto was out of time for that time … or, (and the time will give you reason) too far!
The Son Guaguanco in Cuba remained current for a few years, thanks to the conjunto Chapottin, great trumpeter and inheriting the whole band of Arsenio, who had left alone for his American adventure, (sounded in fact in New York with a Puerto Rican group), but its history in Cuba ends at the end of the years ' 50, when the "Revolucion" disappear any reference to Big bands and traditional Cuban folkloric forms like the Rumba , based on their appearance by imposing the authentic Guaguanco folklorico.
As often happens, some artistic forms born in one place become continuing to live a new life elsewhere.
This is the case of the Danzon in Latin America or Mexico or Bolero Mambo in NYC! Right here in the Big Apple, past the boom of Mambo, Cha Cha Cha and after the fleeting appearance of Pachanga who had his moments of glory from 1960 to 1963, the Son Guaguanco became a point of reference for all those who would not bend to the success of Latin Soul, in its various forms of Boogaloo and Shing A Ling.
Obviously could not remain in its original form, too slow and lacking in sophisticated arrangements.
To transform it and making it palatable thought Tito Puente and Tito Rodriguez especially. You changed the base by replacing the Son with Guaracha, rhythmically much faster, while retaining the "Diana" and the other references "Afro" in the original version and arrangiandola Jazz!
With Tito Rodriguez also becomes more pronounced use of rhythmic figure of cascara, which replaces the classic Son, Bongo Bell.
Cascara (rhythmic figure which we find in Rumba) will be one of the features of the new Guaguanco.
Success came quickly and swept Puerto Rico, where the wonderful voice of Tito Rodriguez beat percussion of the great Tito Puente.

All groups of the time in the Big Apple were influenced as much by giving birth to NEW YORK Label GUAGUANCO.

In Puerto Rico, however, was the most important change in the new genre: some groups, circa 1965-66 including Mon Rivera, Richie Ray and Bobby Cruz, added to the new Puerto Rican folklore rhythms such as some Guaguanco rhythm Jala Jala or Sicà and along with new arrangements from the Big Apple, as Soul and Rhythm and Blues.

In fact this "mezcla" a few years later took the name of sauce, which is why many were calling to Puerto Rico Guaguanco, what in New York called Salsa! The end of the genre is decreed by Salsa, which with new sounds and rhythms (including la Rumba Guaguanco) extends that fusion of music that had made famous on N.Y. Guaguanco. In Puerto Rico, however, is recorded the last Pearl of the genre by the great Roberto Roena on a beautiful drive of 1977:
La Octava Maravilla (Fania INT 914)

In this beautiful disc is the latest merger, the Guaguanco with Brazilian music, like the wonderful song Rico Guaguanco where the Samba with his typical instruments like the "Cuíca" or "Berimbau", with the Guaguanco.

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