The History of Rumba


World-renowned British DJ, Gilles Peterson, has had a long-lasting relationship with Cuba and its dynamic culture. Peterson – who became infamous because of his love of the fusions of jazz, funk, and Latin music during the 1970s – created a partnership with Havana Club International, S.A., producer of the authentic Cuban rum brand Havana Club. The collaboration resulted in Havana Cultura – a global initiative designed to give a platform to Cuban artists of all disciplines. The initiative has evolved into three international tours and several album releases that are all a celebration of Cuba’s Latin, Afro jazz, hip-hop, reggaeton, and soul music scenes. The latest project to emerge from the relationship between Peterson and Havana Club is a feature-length documentary directed by Charlie Inman that explores the origins of rumba.

Rumba has strong connections with the slave trade and is deeply rooted in West African + Iberian music and traditions. These traditions arise from various African religions such as Ifa and Ekpe, both of which were altered in Cuba to become Santeria and Palo, to name a few. These ceremonious religions are manifested in the three main styles of rumba – guaganco, yambu, + columbia. In the film, Peterson explores the various styles of rumba, the ways it has impacted the social communities in the island, and the influence it has had on other musical genres.

An album with original tracks will be released in 2016.


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