Although virtually all Cuban music has been influenced by African rhythms, Música Afrocubana has specific, clearly-defined roots among Cuba’s African slaves. Forms such as the conga and rumba are derived almost solely from drumming patterns of early Afro-Cuban religious rites. On the other hand, music forms such as son, which combine African and Spanish influences, are more aptly classified as Creole.
The music of Cuba is largely based on its cultural origins in Europe and Africa. The arrival on the island of thousands of African slaves over the course of three hundred years created a wealth of new musical forms. Deeply rooted in African rhythms, the country’s distinctive music owes its melodic power to its Spanish colonial heritage. The lively, energetic Cuban sound has profoundly influenced musical styles throughout the world, an impact that continues to this day. Distinct dance forms, related to specific types of music, over time have cross-pollinated, evolving into new styles of expression.