*Salsa 101 Required Reading


Cuba and Its Music:

From the First Drums to the Mambo

by Ned Sublette


This entertaining history of Cuba and its music begins with the collision of Spain and Africa and continues through the era of Miguelito Valdés, Arsenio Rodríguez, Benny Moré, and Pérez Prado. It offers a behind-the-scenes examination of music from a Cuban point of view, unearthing surprising, provocative connections and making the case that Cuba was fundamental to the evolution of music in the New World. The ways in which the music of black slaves transformed 16th-century Europe, how the claves appeared, and how Cuban music influenced ragtime, jazz, and rhythm and blues are revealed. Music lovers will follow this journey from Andalucía, the Congo, the Calabar, Dahomey, and Yorubaland via Cuba to Mexico, Puerto Rico, Saint-Domingue, New Orleans, New York, and Miami. The music is placed in a historical context that considers the complexities of the slave trade; Cuba's relationship to the United States; its revolutionary political traditions; the music of Santería, Palo, Abakuá, and Vodú; and much more.


Listen to Ned Sublette's presentation The Other Great Tradition:

windows media

real audio



"It was Cuba that turned the beat around, and thanks to Sublette any serious music fan will now know why." - The New York Times Book Review


"If you buy only one book on Cuba in your life . . . this is the one." - The Nation


"Astute and illuminating." - Chicago Reader


"[Ned Sublette] leaves his predecessors . . . in the dust." - The Village Voice


"[Sublette] has added a major work to the tiny canon of social histories of music--perhaps the grandest of them all." - The Los Angeles Times


"A magnificent labor of love and advocacy. . .Remarkably thorough yet genially readable." - New York Times


"A work of radical obsession, driven by a profound love of Cuban music."
- Afropop Worldwide


"The most daring, thorough, and lively social history of music ever attempted."
- Rolling Stone



Available at Amazon.com and other fine Book Stores.


Click here to read more and/or buy online at Amazon.com


Also check out Ned Sublette’s book The World That Made New Orleans: From Spanish Silver to Congo Square - Click here for more info.




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