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date: 23 September 2020

Habanera (Catalan havanera)locked

  • Frances Barulich
  •  and Jan Fairley


(Catalan havanera)

An Afro-Cuban dance and song.

Frances Barulich

A synthesis of European and African elements, the habanera (or Havana-style contredanse) has its roots in the English country dance, which gained great popularity in Europe in the 18th century. Although it was imported to the Americas by the Spanish, it did not take hold in Cuba until the arrival in the late 1700s and early 1800s of French refugees from rebellions in Haiti, who brought with them the contredanse, a stylized French version of the English country dance. In its basic form this early social dance consisted of two sections of eight bars each, repeated for a total of 32 bars, with each eight-bar segment distinguished by a different dance figure; the second half is livelier in character than the first. Black musicians transformed the regular rhythms of the contredanse into the dotted and syncopated rhythms of the contradanza habanera or simply habanera. Its slow tempo, in duple metre with a suave and lilting rhythmic ostinato (...

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Latin American Music Review