Music form Oriente de Cuba - The Estudiantina Tradition

Spanish dictionaries tell us that the estudiantinas are students, dressed up in traditional university uniforms, who roam the streets playing a variety of instruments either for fun or for money. In Cuba the estudiantina tradition is limited to the Oriente province. The first group of this kind was founded in Santiago de Cuba at the end of the nineteenth century. Called Estudiantina Oriental it consisted of two singers, a tres, a guitar, a small pair of Cuban timpani (paila), maracas, claves and a marimba which is a large wooden box with iron tongues which serves as a double bass. By the turn of the century there was a variety of these kinds of group, mainly in Santiago and Guantanamo.


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"Estudiantina Invasora has been around for nearly a century. They play as a son septet and their sound is simply gorgeous."

"They play with such delicacy and such love for the music that no words can do them justice."

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