Teodora Ginés, born in the 16th century in Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic, was a dyer, the trade of playing a string, percussion or bell instrument, a bandola (a sixteen-string instrument, spread in Venezuela by the plains musician Anselmo López ).
Ginés, a resident of Cuba and of Dominican origin, is credited with having written the song: Son de la Má Teodora, around the year 1562.
This famous interpretation was transmitted by the Cuban Laureano Fuentes Matons, in his book, The Arts in Santiago de Cuba, published in 1893.
She and her sister, two free black women, were part of the orchestra of the Cathedral of Santiago de Cuba.
Fuentes Montons argued that this son was the first musical genre of that characteristic in the rhythmic history of the Caribbean.
In 1971, the literary researcher Alberto Muguercia Muguercia questioned this theory arguing that the son of Má Teodora was just a song, and that in the year 1562 the instruments used in the rhythm of the Cuban son of Dominican descent did not exist.
Muguercia Muguercia and other literary researchers, such as the musicologist Danilo Orozco, establish the origin of the son in the mountainous area of the Sierra Maestra, in the Oriente province in the year 1880 and its popularization occurred from 1892 when Nené Manfugás brought this rhythm to the carnivals of Santiago de Cuba.
History does tell that the son, a couple dance, was born in the Dominican Republic and became popular in Cuba, merging African and Spanish musical elements. It’s splashing mambo in the thirties becomes popular and is considered as the foundation of salsa.
The history of son originates in the late nineteenth century, involves a fusion of Bantu origin (historical-cultural expansion that occurred in central and southern Africa from the fifth century BC) of Spanish musical traditions.
The son mixes sounds of string instruments such as the tres, the guitar, the bongos, maracas and the keys.
At the beginning of the 20th century, the son was a marginalized genre of the poorer classes. Only workers and Afro-Cubans listened and danced. At that time in Cuba there was a lot of discrimination against blacks and the culture of Africa.
Cuban radio began in the 1920s to propagate the son. In the 30s, the son opens the lock in Cuba, receives an official seal of approval by President Gerardo Machado y Morales, to the swagger of the Sonora Matancera orchestra that entertained him on a birthday. Alberto Beltrán, a spectacular Dominican singer, performed the son of his country.
The popular couple dance of that time was the danzón, which had also been rejected in its beginnings. The son dance was more daring than the danzón. The sound was closer, the bodies stuck together, the legs intertwined and the women moved their hips sensually.
In this work I cannot leave out figures of the son in Haina, among whom are: Enrique Francisco Polito, director and lead singer of Bombillo; Los Soneros de Haina, Julio Díaz, director and bassist of Grupo de Son Saoco. The traditionality of these two Dominican groups follows the legacy of the sisters Teodora and Micaela Ginés of a happy musical and dance genre and folkloric Latinism.
The son continues to have followers in the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Venezuela, Colombia, Peru, the United States and Spain.
The greatest influence of son can be felt today in salsa, with its origins in mambo, danzón, chachachá, guaracha and son montuno.
I reaffirm that the tres player from Baracoa Nené Manfugás in an irrefutable testimony promoted the son in Cuba. Regarding the beliefs of the origin of the son, the expert in the Cuban rumba, David Peñaloza points out regarding the rumba del solar, which are full of unknowns, contradictions, conjectures and myths.
The classical son continues to be a very important musical base for many types of Latin rhythms: timba (expression of making popular dance music with a Latin flavor) or salsa. We have focused in our texts that musical Latinism is part of a sonero rhythmic color.
The author is a journalist and social analyst.
By: Maguá Moquete Paredes