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Hip-Hop International

Danay Suárez: “Yo Aprendi”

HT: EAW

At its core, Cuban music relies on “calidos.” That, according to Insight Cuba, refers to “a type of social unification” that existed among slaves transported to the island from Africa. Calidos, the piece says, continued following the emancipation of the island in 1886 and its transition to Catholicism. In parallel, the religion of Santeria spread over Cuba (and Haiti and other islands). The article says that much of what is recognzied about Cuban music today is a product of Santeria: the emotions, vibrant colors, drum sequences (“toques”) and the presence of the saints. Other countries that influenced the music of the island nation are Spain, Jamaica, the United States and France.

Wikipedia adds that Cuban music is considered one of the most important regional musics in the world. Cubano music merges Spanish guitar (“tres”), melodies, harmonies and lyrical traditions with Afro-Cuban percussion and rhythms.

The hip-hop cadences of “Yo Aprendi” by Danay Suárez is a good illustration of how new forms of music are subsumed into existing genres. It’s a never-ending cycle. She’s great, but the co-star of the video is the city, which I assume is Havana. The old buildings and the old cars create a time warp quality that is a dramatic counterpoint to Suárez, the other young people and, of course, the new music. The ocean views completes the picture. It was good choice to record this video in near black and white. Here is the translation of the song into English.

Danay Suárez is Cuban artist who was born in 1985. She’s appearning at the Highline Ballroom in New York City on June 24, according to her Facebook page.

The Daily Music Break has covered The Buena Vista Social Club — which is based on a movie about the reconnection of old Cuban musicians — and Mongo Santamaria, the renowned Cuban-born percussionist.

Here’s What’s Here

The Daily Music Break explores every genre of music, from hip hop to opera. It's simple: Boundaries are dumb. It's all good. Here is more about the site and here is our index:

--A Tribe Called Quest to The Dick Hyman Trio (In other words, A to H)

--Indigo Girls to Queen Ida (I to Q)

--Radiohead to ZZ Top (R to Z)

Reading Music

The stories of the great bands and musicians are fascinating. Musicians as a group are brilliant, but often troubled. The combination of creativity and drama makes for great reading.

Here are some books to check out.

Duke Ellington brought class, sophistication and style to jazz which, until that point, was proudly unpolished and raucous. His story is profound. The author, Terry Teachout, also wrote "Pops," the acclaimed bio of Louis Armstrong. Click here or on the image.

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What else is there to say? Here is the story behind every song written by The Beatles. Click here or on the image.

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The Grateful Dead don't get enough credit for the profound nature of its lyrics. Many of the band's songs are driven by a deep and literate Americana ("I'm Uncle Sam/That's who I am/Been hidin' out/In a rock and roll band" and "Majordomo Billy Bojangles/Sit down and have a drink with me/What's this about Alabama/Keeps comin' back to me?").

David Dodd's exhaustive study tells the story, song by song. Click here or on the image.

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