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265 REPRINTS AVAILABLE DIRECTLY FROM THE PUBLISHERS. PHOTOCOPYING PERMITTED BY LICENSE ONLY© BERG 2007 PRINTED IN THE UK CULTURAL POLITICS VOLUME 3, ISSUE 2 PP 265–268 BOOK REVIEW CULTURAL POLICY AND MUSIC MAKING IN REVOLUTIONARY CUBA SUE MILLER Music and Revolution: Cultural Change in Socialist Cuba, Robin D. Moore, Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2006, 367 pages, $24.95/£15.95, PB ISBN 0–520–24711–6 In Music and Revolution Robin Moore,professor of music history at the University of Texas, presents a comprehensive survey of cultural policymaking in Cuba from the early years of the revolution,the “quinquenio gris” (from 1969 to 1973), the more optimistic 1980s, and the special period in the 1990s through to the present day. He looks at the ideologies behind the policies, and explores how issues of race and religion, alongside cultural theories of socialism, Marxism, and nationalism, have impacted on cultural policy. After a chronological overview of cultural changes from the 1950s onward, Moore turns his attention to various case studies. Here,I shall focus on his discussion > SUE MILLER IS A FLUTE PLAYER AND MUSICAL DIRECTOR OF CHARANGA DEL NORTE. SHE IS CURRENTLY STUDYING FOR A PHD IN CUBAN CHARANGA PERFORMANCE AT THE UNIVERSITY OF LEEDS, UK. HER PUBLICATIONS INCLUDE ARTICLES WRITTEN FOR THE BRITISH FLUTE SOCIETY MAGAZINE PAN ON THE CUBAN CHARANGA, THE CUBAN FLUTE STYLE OF IMPROVISATION, AND INTERVIEWS WITH VETERAN CUBAN FLUTE PLAYERS RICHARD EGÜES AND MELQUIADES FUNDORA. CULTURAL POLITICS DOI 10.2752/174321907X194084 CULTURAL POLITICS 266 BOOK REVIEW of dance and Afro-Cuban “Folkloric” musics, although Moore also explores Nueva Trova, Salsa and Timba to illustrate the effects of various policies on Cuban musicians themselves. As he states in his introduction, critiques of cultural policies in Cuba are rare due to the tendency of writers on Cuban matters to come down on one side or other of the political divide (pro- or anti-Castro). His stated aim is to evaluate fairly the impact of cultural policies in Cuba post-1959 with a view to opening up an informed debate on the subject. The sense of victimhood and isolation felt by Cuba (due to the US embargo and the collapse of the Soviet Union) has often led to a defensive stance as regards evaluating its own cultural policies, and in this book Moore sets out to discover the truths surrounding cultural life in socialist Cuba. He states at the outset that as a North American academic, this has not been an easy task as many obstacles have been put in his way. For example, he has had difficulties getting funding to study in Cuba from the US side, and the Cuban Ministry of Culture has refused him access to statistical data. Moore highlights the fact that the Afro-Cuban community was the first to benefit from the revolution in terms of better living standards, housing, health, and education. Many Afro-Cuban artists also received state support, particularly in the early years of the revolution. However, given various attempts by the government to interfere with the development of Cuban musicianship, such support does not always mean that musicians are free to do what they want. Moore recounts one amusing tale of Pedro Izquierdo (Pello el Afrokán) being asked by Fidel Castro in 1965 to write a song about the sugar harvest to spur on the workers. The resulting song pleased both Fidel and the musicians through the well-tested Cuban art of double entendre, with lyrics such as “Ay, how tasty the sugar cane is honey ... bring your cart over here!” Other examples of state intervention had more serious consequences however, such as Nueva Trova artists in the early part of their careers being sent to “voluntary” labor camps for “reeducation.” Moore’s exploration of dance music shows how the socialist government has struggled to reconcile the pleasure principle with its concept of music as having to “edify” and “educate.” However, Cuban son music, emanating from the black working class, with its lyrics about daily life and its emphasis on dance and sensual pleasures, is not an ideal medium for political messages. Charanga and Son Conjunto bands were, of course, immensely popular in...


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