By Delia Poey (auth.)
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Extra resources for Cuban Women and Salsa: To the Beat of Their Own Drum
Raised to believe Mercé is merely her nanny, the central character heaps her racist abuse 24 C u b a n Wo m e n a n d S a l s a on the stoically suffering but always dutiful Mercé. 48 Montaner’s performance, not incidentally in blackface, was similarly praised as much for her acting as for her singing. The character of Mercé, who is mainly referred to as just “Nana,” is easily recognizable as the “Mammy,” but there are notable departures from the archetypal figure. 49 The character of Mercé, although in a different geographic and cultural context, fits the description.
Unlike Rita Montaner, Celeste Mendoza, and La Lupe, Cruz was not a Santería practitioner. Her recordings of Yoruba chants were done phonetically. It is notable that in spite of this, in making these recordings she was performing an act of recovery of cultural memory and valorizing a marginalized and suppressed form of expression. It is also notable that it shows the often ignored presence of Santería aesthetics in popular music—an aesthetics and tradition that also underlies salsa even as it remains unacknowledged.
One, identified by Rondón as the matancera or traditional branch adhered more closely to Cuban musical traditions with son as its foundation. ” The style, as compared with the avant-garde branch, was more accommodationist, both musically and lyrically, which lent itself more easily to Cruz’s embrace of diverse rhythms and influences while remaining grounded in traditional Cuban music. Politically, she was also more likely to accentuate commonality and unity over confrontation. ” It is the only song on the album with Nuyorican roots, written and composed by Junior Cepeda.
Cuban Women and Salsa: To the Beat of Their Own Drum by Delia Poey (auth.)