HAVANA, Cuba, Friday December 7, 2012 – The Cuban government is banning reggaeton from radio and television in an effort to crack down on “vulgar” music and preserve the country’s musical integrity, according to the government newspaper Granma.
Reggeaton, which originated in Puerto Rico, fuses Jamaican dancehall with Caribbean salsa, Latin hip hop and electronic music, and its pulsating beat has become popular in clubs throughout the Americas and Europe.
The music has nevertheless caused controversy in Cuba for its sexually explicit lyrics that some allege exploit women. Last year, authorities on the Caribbean communist island denounced as obscene the reggaeton song El Chupi Chupi by local artist Osmani García.
Any Cuban artist whose music is deemed demeaning to women or sexually explicit can be sanctioned or banned from performing, says Orlando Vistel Columbie, the president of the island’s Cultural Ministry’s music institute.
“Neither vulgarity nor mediocrity will be able to tarnish the richness of Cuban music,” Vistel stated in an interview posted online this week by the Communist Party paper.
“Obviously, people can listen to what they want privately. But that freedom doesn’t include the right to reproduce and disseminate that music.”
Vistel added that the music misrepresents “the inherent sensuality of Cuban women” and portrays them as “grotesque sexual objects.”
“I can assure you that traditional Cuban music has nothing to do with elitist codes nor is outdated,” Vistel maintained, defending musical forms such as Salsa, Son as well as rumba and Cuban Jazz.
“With a professional movement, we encompass the most varied styles and modes of conducting sound, with a wonderful choral movement, with orchestras and soloists class, with carriers of traditions that preserve and transmit traditional values.” Click here to receive free news bulletins via email from Caribbean360. (View sample)