From Academic Kids

For other uses, see Rumba (disambiguation).Template:Genrebox

Rumba is both a family of music rhythms and a dance style that originated in Africa and traveled via the slave trade to Cuba and the New World. The so-called rumba rhythm, a variation of the African standard pattern, is the additive grouping of an eight pulse bar (one 4/4 measure) into 3+3+2 or, less often, 3+5 (van der Merwe 1989, p.321). Its variants include the bossa nova rhythm. Original Cuban rumba is highly polyrhythmic, and as such is often far more complex than that the examples cited above.


Ballroom Rumba and Rhumba

There is a ballroom dance, also called Rumba, based on Cuban Rumba and Son. Also, still another variant of Rumba music and dance was popularized in the United States in 1930s, which was almost twice as fast, as exemplified by the popular tune, The Peanut Vendor. This type of "Big Band Rumba" was also known as Rhumba. The latter term still survives, with no clearly agreed upon meaning: one may find it applied to Ballroom, Big Band, and Cuban rumbas.

Spanish Rumba

In the 1990s the French group Gypsy Kings became a popular New Flamenco group by playing rumba flamenco music.

Cuban rumba

Rumba arose in Havana in the 1890s. As a sexually-charged Afro-Cuban dance, rumba was often suppressed and restricted because it was viewed as dangerous and lewd.

Later, Prohibition in the United States caused a flourishing of the relatively-tolerated cabaret rumba, as American tourists flocked to see crude sainetes (short plays) which featured racial stereotypes and generally, though not always, rumba.

Template:Cubanmusic Perhaps because of the mainstream and middle-class dislike for rumba, danzn and (unofficially) son montuno became seen as "the" national music for Cuba, and the expression of Cubanisimo. Rumberos reacted by mixing the two genres in the 30s, 40s and 50s; by the mid-40s, the genre had regained respect, especially the guaguanco style.

Rumba is sometimes confused with salsa, with which it shares origins and essential movements.

There are several rhythms of the Rumba family, and associated styles of dance:

  • Yamb (slow; the dance often involving mimicking old men and women walking bent)
  • Guaganc (medium-fast, the most often flirtatious, involving pelvic thrusts by the male dancers, the vacunao)
  • Columbia (fast, aggressive and competitive, generally danced by men only, occasionally mimicking combat or dancing with knives)
  • Columbia del Monte (very fast)

All of these share the instrumentation (3 conga drums or cajones, claves, palitos and / or guagua, lead singer and coro; optionally cheker and cowbells), the heavy polyrhythms, and the importance of clave.

Rumba Rhythm

The rhythm which is known now as "rumba rhythm" was popular in European music beginning in the 1500s until the later Baroque, with classical music era composers preferring syncopations such as 3+2+3. It reappeared in the nineteenth century. (ibid, p.272) Examples include:

Missing image
Bach, The Little Music Book of Anna Magdalena Bach, Musette rumba rhythm


  • van der Merwe, Peter (1989). Origins of the Popular Style: The Antecedents of Twentieth-Century Popular Music. Oxford: Clarendon Press. ISBN 0193161214.da:Rumba

de:Rumba fr:Rumba hr:Rumba nl:Rumba pl:Rumba pt:Rumba sr:Румба zh:伦巴


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