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The danzón-mambo (also known as danzón de nuevo ritmo) is a subgenre of Cuban dance music that marked the transition from the classical danzόn to the mambo and the cha-cha-chá. Danzón-mambo_sentence_0

It was also in the context of the danzón-mambo that the Cuban dance band format called charanga reached its present form. Danzón-mambo_sentence_1

Origins Danzón-mambo_section_0

The danzón-mambo was created by the musicians and arrangers of Antonio Arcaño's charanga, Arcaño y sus Maravillas, which was founded in 1937 (Orovio 1981:324). Danzón-mambo_sentence_2

According to Santos (1982), Danzón-mambo_sentence_3

Characteristics Danzón-mambo_section_1

Generally speaking, the danzón-mambo represents a further and stronger incorporation of elements of the son into the danzón. Danzón-mambo_sentence_4

The first sections, or danzones, did not depart significantly from the traditional danzón structure . Danzón-mambo_sentence_5

But, the final section of the danzón-mambo was based on tumbaos and guajeos from the montuno section of the son, which created a complex, clave-oriented polyphony with strong accents on the upbeat (Santos 1982). Danzón-mambo_sentence_6

In order to further reinforce the son feeling, Arcaño added the tumbadora (conga drum) to the traditional charanga percussion lineup of pailas and güiro. Danzón-mambo_sentence_7

Also, the paila player began to use a cowbell in the final section (Santos 1982). Danzón-mambo_sentence_8

This final section, at first called nuevo ritmo, later came to be called mambo. Danzón-mambo_sentence_9

Later development Danzón-mambo_section_2

Out of the danzón-mambo came both the mambo and the cha-cha-chá. Danzón-mambo_sentence_10

The mambo would subsequently become a genre played mainly by American-style big bands, and as such, did not pose a threat to the danzón-mambo. Danzón-mambo_sentence_11

But, in the face of the sudden overwhelming popularity of the cha-cha-chá in the 1950s, the danzón-mambo began to disappear. Danzón-mambo_sentence_12

However, a convention arose of playing the final section of the danzón-mambo with a cha-cha-chá rhythm, enabling the dancers to dance both the danzón and the cha-cha-chá in the course of the same composition. Danzón-mambo_sentence_13

This became known as the danzón-cha and is the form of danzón most favored by dancers in Cuba at present. Danzón-mambo_sentence_14

Discography Danzón-mambo_section_3


  • 1982. Various Artists. Folkways Records FW04066.Danzón-mambo_item_0_0
  • De Nuevo El Monarca. 1993. Antonio Arcaño y sus Maravillas. ARTEX CD-069.Danzón-mambo_item_0_1

See also Danzón-mambo_section_4


Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Danzón-mambo.