It’s time for another weekly Rhythm Through Diversity trivia on Metronome Online. This week we travel to Cuba to explore Mambo, a genre of dance music that was initially popularized by a charanga group called Arcaño y sue Maravillas led by the venerable flute player Antonio Arcaño in the late 1930s, and coined as a form by the tandem of two brothers, composers Orestes López and his brother Israel López “Cachao”.
A fast dance, with a lot of ‘staccato’ movements, Mambo showcases swivels, spins and lots of expressive rhythmic moves.
Mambo draws parallels with the Cuban danzón as an extended form with an improvised section at the end and a lively syncopated musical expression, the section introduced to the danzón by the López brothers. Developed from small ensembles to large, mambo can now be found played by big bands in a style popularized by Pérez Prado, a popular Cuban bandleader. In the 1940s and 1950s the dance took the United States by storm and allowed for musicians like Pérez Prado, Tito Puente, Tito Rodríguez and many others to achieve world-wide fame.
A fast dance, with a lot of ‘staccato’ movements, Mambo showcases swivels, spins and lots of expressive rhythmic moves. It is typically found in a time signature of 4/4 with the dancer doing a hold on beat 1, and break on beat 2.
Music speaks a thousand words, so let’s take a quick look at the seductive Mambo Gozon by the renowned Tito Puente.