Morena Son (Cuba)
In collaboration with Neruda Arts
The easternmost part of Cuba, once known as Oriente Province, is the cradle of son (the root of salsa) and home to the all-female septet Morena Son. The band is derived from a group called Tradición Morena and got its start back in 2001 when Europe was experiencing a boom in interest for traditional Cuban music. It was the golden opportunity that has allowed the women to travel to international festivals in Latin America and around the globe, winning prestigious awards and media recognition along the way. The señoritas were a big hit during their TD Sunfest debut in July 2018.
Taking its name from Cuba’s culturally defining mix of races, Morena Son recreates the authentic courtyard atmosphere of the old Trova de Santiago. Most major cities on the island have a ‘Casa de la Trova’ (a state-run music salon dedicated to folk music); but, in a city like Santiago de Cuba, the troubador music scene has been especially prominent over the last half-century. Although son has traditionally been interpreted by men, the seven women of Morena Son are all accomplished guitarists, drummers and vocalists who bring fresh arrangements to beautiful popular songs like Son de la Loma by Miguel Matamoros and Chan Chan by the legendary Compay Segundo.
Band member Niurka reflects: “The life of the artist in Cuba is difficult, and not only for musicians. We abandon everything to succeed. The role of mother and of caring for the family is complicated and you achieve it. You get into work and you forget that you have to make a life… but, when you’re done, you think ‘it was worth it’ “ (Colombia’s El Universal, January 10, 2016).
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