This article examines the role of Filin music in processes of social and political change. It explains how Filin was constitutive of its historical context and consequently, how Filineros expressed their social realities in their songs. Many Filineros were associated with leftist organizations and underground activism. However, their songs’ lyrics seem to ignore Filineros’ political lives, and focus solely on romance. Drawing from Filineros memories, this article explains Filin lyrics’ detachment from the oppositional mobilization the musicians were involved in. First, the repression against communism that followed the post–World War II years in Cuba prevented Filineros from openly expressing their leftist views in their songs’ lyrics. Secondly, Filineros understood Filin as a creative outlet and artistic experience, and not as an instrument for political opposition. Thirdly, some of the Filin musicians interviewed believed that music was impotent to create substantial social or political change. Nevertheless, beyond Filineros worldview, I argue that the practice of Filin constituted them as political actors. It is through music making that Filineros’ ideas and values were stimulated. As such, Filin music constructed its political relevance more through the context of lived experience than through its musicological traits, its lyrics, or even its musicians’ intentions.


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pp. 138-161
Launched on MUSE
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