[ruhm-buh, room-, room-]
Rumba, as understood in Cuba, is a family of percussive rhythms, song and dance which is entirely African in style, but Cuban in detail. It is secular, with no religious connexions. The details of its performance were worked out in Cuba, but details of how this happened are not known.

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 as salsa today. Also, the term is used in the international Latin-American dance syllabus, where it is a misnomer: the music used for this slower dance is the bolero-son.

The term is also used today for some kinds of Spanish popular music, which have no known connection with the Cuban use.

Music and dance

  • 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.
  • Flamenco Rumba, a style of flamenco music also known as Gypsy Rumba or Rumba Gitana.
  • African Rumba, a style of music that originated in Congo, and evolved into Soukous music.


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