The Cuban Musical adventures with a street organ Inspired by the traditions of the Cuban barrel organ, Jaap de Kwaasteniet, after acquiring a 36-key barrel organ, founded the trio Dansorgel de Cubaan (organ grinder and percussion) in 1991. Cuban barrel organs, which originated in Europe, were originally fitted out to play waltzes and polkas. This was soon combined with the more Cuban tradition by adding percussionists. The result was a relatively inexpensive orchestra,which nevertheless sounded full enough to be acceptable.The European musical repertoire was ultimately replaced completely by the most up-to-date musical numbers of the island itself. It was referred to as organo oriental, i.e. the organ from the east, because European barrel organs first made their appearance on the east coast of the island, where they had been imported from Haiti. The barrel organ was probably introduced by the French to Haiti, which remained a French possession until 1804.Just like the Cubans, who experimented with the production of barrel organ rolls with Cuban music, Dansorgel de Cubaan had to build up its own repertoire. In the Netherlands, the familiar barrel organ repertoire did not extend much beyond popular tunes like Tulips from Amsterdam. Years of experience as a percussionist, combined with his extensive collection of authentic Caribbean music provided Jaap de Kwaasteniet with a readily available source of inspiration. With the help of Tom Meijer and Jan Kees de Ruiter, both of whom were experienced barrel organ arrangers, he started his experiments. The first number was a guaracha. Soon came the additional challenge of expanding the repertoire with barrel organ arrangements of both cumbias (Colombia) and merengues (Dominican Republic). This led to a musical journey throughout the Caribbean region. Music from Cape Verde also proved suitable for arranging as barrel organ rolls.The barrel organ provides the opportunity par excellence for combining old traditional tunes and the latest hits. This means that De Cubaan also has the ingredients (including mambo, son, bolero, merengue, and chachacha) which make up the sauce which currently goes by the name of Salsa.In the meantime, De Kwaasteniet has also begun arranging and composing his own rolls for the barrel organ.And so it has led to a journey through time and space, giving the sounds of Dansorgel de Cubaan a completely new but traditionally based kind of music for the barrel organ.Download booklet
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