In spite of the unquestionable values and popularity of a great number of Cuban musical genres, it would be difficult to compare some of them with the impact left for decades by son in our musical history and in Cuban culture itself.
The son , mulatto as our nationality, that is, an offspring of black and white components, a synthesis of European and African rhythms and melodies, warmth and sensuality. No other rhythm has had so many and so outstanding followers: singers, composers, musical arrangers, vocal groups and all kinds of orchestral formats.
Since its inception, the son was deeply rooted in the popular preference and has successfully traversed all times always maintaining its presence. Since the first montunos , the son went through a constant sound and style transformation, continually adapting and assimilating every new instrumental option. Maybe this is the secret of its leading role in the Cuban music for so many years, because every generation of Cubans has had its particular kind of son that, though different from others in sonorities and tempos, has maintained a historical generic unity, with its syncopated bass , the 'hammering' of the bongo es, the tumbao of both the "tres" and the piano, the continuity of the maracas or the güiro and the alternation of soloists and choirs. A brief approach to the evolution of this Cuban genre means to approach some of the most significant personalities of our popular musical history . Although at the beginning anonymous musicians began their performance at the eastern mountains of the country, names like Ignacio Piñeiro and Miguel Matamoros; Arsenio Rodríguez, Félix Chapottín and Miguelito Cuní; Benny Moré and Celia Cruz; as well as Juan Formell and Adalberto Álvarez, are only a few among those who have always contributed with their talented work to this rich manifestation of Cuban popular culture.
Groupings like the Sexteto Habanero and the Septeto Nacional de Ignacio Piñeiro marked the beginning of the son boom in Cuba, though at the beginning, due to its mestizo and extremely popular nature, it was considered an "indecent" music and dance rejected by the high society of that time. Nevertheless, the people assimilated it so it had an uninterrupted breakthrough.
In the 20´s the sextets and the septets mushroomed. Afterwards, they coexisted with ensembles like Arsenio Rodríguez´s or the Casin; with sonoras such as the Sonora Matancera ; with jazz bands like the Riverside or Casino de la Playa and practically every orchestral grouping, soloist, duet, trio or vocal quartet included the son in their Cuban musical repertoire.
We can say that the son , besides being a musical genre, is an entire rhythmic complex. Frequently reference is made to the 'complex of the son '. Almost everywhere in the country we can find different versions of this rhythm, with its own typical features. The most known ones are the sucu sucu , in the Isla de la Juventud, and the changüí , in Guantánamo. Many outstanding authors have contributed to this genre. Besides the indispensable name of Ignacio Piñeiro, - not only for his work as an author, but also for his contribution to the
Adolfo Costales Vega