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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Rumba is a family of percussive rhythms, song and ballroom dance that originated in Cuba as a combination of various musical traditions. The name derives from the Cuban Spanish word rumbo which means "party" or "spree". It is secular, with no religious connections. People of African descent in Havana and Matanzas originally used the word rumba as a synonym for party. Olavo Alén states that over time, "rumba ceased to be simply another word for party and took on the meaning both of a defined Cuban musical genre and also of a very specific form of dance." The term spread in the 1930s and 1940s to the faster popular music of Cuba (the "Peanut Vendor" was a classic), where it was used as a catch-all term, rather like salsa today. Also, the term is used in the international Latin-American dance syllabus, but in reference to a slower dance based on the bolero-son. Ballroom rumba, or rhumba, is essentially son as opposed to the older folkloric rumba. Similarly, the African style of pop music called African Rumba or soukous is also son-based.

The term is also used today for various styles of popular music from Spain, as part of the so-called Cantes de ida y vuelta, or music that developed between both sides of the Atlantic. Flamenco rumba is a genre that is entirely different from Cuban rumba.


  • Cuban Rumba, percussion, song and dance styles that owe their origin to African slaves in Cuba.
  • Rumba (dance), international dance styles that correspond to slower Cuban music, such as the bolero-son.
  • Catalan Rumba (rumba catalana), is a genre of music that developed in Barcelona's Romani community.
  • Flamenco Rumba, a style of flamenco music from Spain also known as Gypsy Rumba or Rumba Gitana.
  • African Rumba, Inspired by the Cuban son, a style of music that originated in Congo, and evolved into soukous music.

See also

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Rumba" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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