Song: El lleva y trae/ The tell-tale performed by Celia Cruz & Sonora
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Afro-Cuban music before the 1959 Cuban Revolution existed in a context of friendly political relations between the United States and Cuba. During the dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista, American companies had tremendous access to the island's resources. Socialites and celebrities often flocked to Cuba. For example, American writer Ernest Hemingway lived in Cuba from 1939-1960. The close relationship between US and Cuba, facilitated the importation of Cuba to the United States. At the forefront of this cultural movement was Celia Cruz, arguably the most popular Latin American artist of all time.
After the Cuban Revolution, the country underwent significant changes. This included rigid censorship and increased restrictions on social gatherings. Fidel Castro overthrew the Batista's dictatorship only to replace it with an equally confining communist government transforming US and Cuban relations. As a result, Celia Cruz fled Cuba and denounced the Castro regime and became an icon of Cuban exiles. Despite her expatriation, Celia Cruz radiated a strong sense of pride in her Afro-Cuban culture and the country of Cuba.
El Lleva y Trae has the defining sound of Afro-Cuban jazz that blends elements of the island's African and Spanish influences. Other artists later replicated this unique sound, thus contributing to the rise of popularity of Afro-Cuban music in the United States.
Celia Cruz Activity Guide