Well looks like John Santos is at it again, I can hardly wait! A while back I took another one of his classes about rumba "La Rumba No Es Como Ayer" and it was fantastic. This lecture series is also put on by my cities very own SF Jazz as part of it's Discover Jazz series.
Anyways the topic of John Santos' lecture this year is the Cuban son and is titled "El Son Afro-Cubano"
Here is a copy/paste of the syllabus:
Discover Jazz Course 1
El Son Afro-Cubano
Co-presented with Yerba Buena Gardens Festival & Museum of the African DiasporaTaught by five-time Grammy-nominated producer and historian John Santos, El Son Afro-Cubano is an eight-part series that delves into the origins, evolution, and relevance of the Cuban Son, one of the most important and influential musical/dance genres in the history of the Americas. The Son is the quintessential melding of Africa and Spain, with a tumultuous history and unparalleled role in the development of contemporary Latin American music. The classes will include listening, viewing video footage, discussion, and Q&A. This Discover Jazz course may be enjoyed as a series or individually.
Wednesday, Aug 3, 7:00PM • Museum of the African Diaspora
The clash of cultures that distinguishes the Cuban Son also unites the Americas through the common denominator of working class dance music. Its complex evolution originates with raw simplicity and has been a unique conduit for countless other types of Cuban music and beyond - from the café to the symphony hall - and it continues to break new ground.
Wednesday, Aug 10, 7:00PM • Museum of the African Diaspora
The Son Afro-Cubano existed for several decades before arriving in Havana during the early years of the 20th Century. As with many other styles of Cuban music, the metropolitan sophistication of the capital contributed distinct traits and opportunities.
Wednesday, Aug 17, 7:00PM • Museum of the African Diaspora
Through its rise to the crest of popularity in Cuba, the versatile Son adapted to the tastes of its various audiences and adopted many other popular and folkloric musical styles along the way. The overlapping of the Son with various genres for so many decades has caused some confusion in terms of nomenclature.
Wednesday, Aug 24, 7:00PM • Museum of the African Diaspora
The Son achieved international popularity at the end of the 1920s and through the 1930s, and played a crucial role in the international movement to reclaim black artistic expression. The continued emigration of Cuban musicians to distant shores would also further the transformative nature of the Son as a primary force in international popular music.
Wednesday, Aug 31, 7:00PM • Museum of the African Diaspora
Definitive innovations within the Son during this era paved the way for modern day Salsa and Timba - truly a "golden age" for Cuban dance music. Some of the genre's greatest and most enduring stars emerged during this period.
Wednesday, Sep 7, 7:00PM • Museum of the African Diaspora
Miguel Matamoros, Ignacio Piñeiro, Arsenio Rodriguez and Benny Moré are indisputable royalty of the Son. In terms of composing, interpreting, recording and performing, they are in an elite class of soneros, contributing to a tradition that has remained in the hands of numerous descendants. Their legacies will forever endure.
Wednesday, Sep 14, 7:00PM • Museum of the African Diaspora
The Son is the foundation of the international Salsa phenomenon that emerged from New York's Puerto Rican community and preserved essential elements of the traditional Son, even as there was a movement away from traditional dance and music styles among many of Cuba's young musicians during the 1960s and 70s.
Wednesday, Sep 21, 7:00PM • Museum of the African Diaspora
The Son remains the unofficial national dance of Cuba and forms the basis of any impromptu fiesta. It did not leave the island with the exile community as many would have us believe. Cuban dance music maintains one foot in tradition and the other in a never-ending quest for reinvention, the Son being the most important element in that evolution.
I'm planning on attending the full series. I expect this series on son to be just as good as John Santos' series on rumba. If you happen to be in San Francisco during these dates August 3-September 21 I highly recommend that you stop by and take in a class.