By: Eliza Moley, `14
Cuba, a country that is often characterized by political instability and uncertainty, is currently undergoing a historic formative period. The music of modern Cuban rap and timba artists reflects Cuba’s precarious position on the border of liberal reform and socialist regression. My research utilizes the analysis of lyrics from five unique musical compositions in order to address the manner in which musicians express their opinions of the Cuban state. It concludes with the statement that rap and timba are imperative elements for the promotion of change and expression of dissent.
I became interested in this topic after I was given a compilation record of protest songs from the Cuban Revolution called “Si, Para Usted.” Although the Revolution occurred decades ago, the tradition of Cuban protest music has retained its strength over time. Today, the lyrics of Cuban timba and rap music, as well as the musical expression of Cuban-American dissidents, are an important and accessible vehicle for political expression both on and off the island.