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Updated: Apr 9, 2021

Written by Ernesto J. Green R. on 20th July 2015 (revised on 9th of July 2020)

LA BASE is a DJ livestream that expresses DJ Green Papi's cultural background and broad music influences. La Base represents the broad scope of musical genres that have influenced—and still do—Afro Cuban popular and urban music. 

The contemporary sound of Cuban timba could be considered as the funky sound of Cuban popular music. Iconic figures such as Benny More, Chano Pozo and Miguelito Cuni were influential in its inception period between the '40s and '60s paving the way for the future of Cuban timberos.

Later on, orchestras such as Irakere, NG La Banda and Los Van Van continue to develop la timba incorporating elements of jazz, funk and rock to their compositions. In Havana during the early '70s, the Cuban percussionist Jose Luis Quintana "Changuito" created and developed a set of complex polyrhythmic patterns called Songo which has become a very popular rhythmic style—within the timba subgenre—among Latin dancers across the globe. The songo rhythm blends the Cuban congas with the North American funk drum kit/ bass-line pattern.

During the '60s and '70s jazz/funk artists and bands such as Weather Report, Herbie Hancock, Kool & The Gang, Earth Wind & Fire, Commodores, Brass Construction, Parliament (to mention a few) were a source of inspiration for Cuban musician. Rock bands like the Beatles, AC DC, Led Zeppelin, Queen and Gun n Roses were also very influential in Cuba during that period.

Weather Report - "Birdland"

Los Van Van interpreting "Birdland" musical arrangements in their "Tim Pop" composition.

Changüi is another Cuban rhythm originated in the rural areas of Guantánamo (Cuba). Changúi was brought to the mainstream by the great maestro Elio Revé and his Charangón. This contagious rhythm has been further developed by his son Elito Revé, combining the changüi tumbao with North American funk drum patterns.

 The Team Cuba project was formed in 1998 by seven of the most popular Cuban bands at the time. The purpose was to promote la timba and let the world know the depth and complexity of Cuban popular music. 

Many people—who are not familiar with the cultural, social, and musical diversity of Cuba— assume that Cuban music is basically rumba and son montuno. A stereotyping approach symbolises the traditional aspect of our culture as rum, cigars, bongo, congas and maracas. Those are cultural assets, roots and musical tradition which Cubans are proud of, however, Cuban music expands further than the stereotypical frame. Cuba is the largest island in the Antilles sea—located in the centre of the Caribbean sea. Due to its geographical position, the island is exposed to the music and cultural influences of neighbour lands and islands. Hence, the Cuban sound represents a musical melting-pot, and it is important to learn that Cuban popular, contemporary, and urban music manifestations have always draw inspiration from Western art-forms and world music.

The new wave of timberos are constantly developing the funky sound of modern Cuba. For instance, the tempo and music style may changed during performance, and aesthetics elements of dancehall, mainstream hip hop and r&b may be added to the musical arrangement under the rhythmic essence of the rumba clave.

In the '80s, there was a program in Cuba's national TV called "Para Bailar" (English translation "For You To Dance") where the winner was the best couple dancing different dance styles to different music genres. The program theme was the popular piece by Los Van Van called "Aquí El Que Baila Gana"

The Cuban new generation has developed an urban music style called timbatón. Timbatón represents the combination of contemporary electronic music—reggaeton— with Cuban timba.

Nowadays, the sound of the timbatón has been developed onto what it is called Reparto featuring a minimalistic sonic approach .

Timba is here today thanks to the hard work and experimental approach of Cuban musicians; thanks to the amazing talent and creative energy of Cuba's new generation of artists and producer. And finally, thanks to the audience worldwide who embraces and support Cuban.

The mission of Cuban DJs, musicians and producers is to keep supporting the evolution and development Cuban popular and urban music.

Written by Ernesto J. Green R. on 20th July 2015 (revised on 9th of July 2020)

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