[chuh-rahng-guh; Sp. chah-rahng-gah]

This article is about the Cuban musical style, not to be confused with the musical instrument "charango".

Charanga is a genre of Cuban dance music popular in the 1940s and consisting of heavily son-influenced material, performed on European instruments such as violin and flute by a Charanga orchestra. (Aviva 2004, p.199)


In Spanish, charanga is a generic name for a band that plays popular, festive music, often a marching band.

The first charanga orchestra was formed at the turn of the twentieth century by Antonio María Romeu. These orchestras play lighter and faster versions of the danzón without a brass section and emphasizing flutes, violins, and piano. The movement climaxed in the 1930s with flautist Antonio Arcaño and Las Maravillas orchestra of Havana. (Morales 2003, p.13)

The Charanga a la francesa, developed from the Orquesta típica to play danzón, consists of an enlarged rhythm section, piano, bass, timbales, and other percussion, two violins, and a flute. (Manuel 1990, p.27)


  • Chomsky, Aviva (2004). The Cuba Reader: History, Culture, Politics. ISBN 0-8223-3197-7.
  • Manuel, Peter (1990). Popular Musics of the Non-Western World: An Introductory Survey. ISBN 0-19-506334-1.
  • Morales, Ed (2003). The Latin Beat: The Rhythms and Roots of Latin Music, from Bossa Nova to Salsa and Beyond. ISBN 0-306-81018-2.

Genre Representatives

Orquesta Aragón

Ritmo Oriental

Charanga 76

La Charanga Forever

La Charanga Cubana (Los Angeles)

External links

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