• Fri. Mar 1st, 2024

Disco Temba


Mar 1, 2019

Cuba , the place I was born and left at age 4. Lucky for me I was able to grow up in a Free society and experience the ” Disco Era” . So I decided to investigate and see if there is or ever was a “Disco Scene ” on the island I left over 50+ years ago. I am sure there are people in their late 40s and 50s that somehow were exposed to Disco in one way or another. According to a 2014 Census, people 25-54 years old comprise 47.1% of the population (male 2,618,089/female 2,581,895) which would put a good number of people in the group that were of age during the Disco era . According to one person I spoke to who arrived in the US in 2007 the musical influences during that period were mostly European and not American as one would suspect since certain Miami radio stations ( Mainly AM station WQAM) could be heard in some areas on the island.
In 1975 Alberto Meneses ( 60 years old) remembers going to his first Disco. ” My friends would listen to music from Miami Radio and an occasional 8 Track that would be brought in by European travelers. We were in Varadero,Cuba and headed to I guess what you would call today a ” Disco” reffered to as ” Dancing lights” ( a term still used to describe a nightclub) ” The people dressed in the popular styles of the time ” Pantalones Campana” ( Bell Bottom Pants ) and the heavy floral or design polyester shirts, they became Saturday night rituals to those that preferred music other than the standard tropical fare”. In 1995 the “Disco Temba Parties“( “Temba” the slang word for a desirable middle aged woman which can be taken as both an insult or as a term of affection) began appearing around Havana. One popular nightspot was ” La Casa de La Cultura” ( located in all the ” Municipios” around Cuba ) which was a local art gallery that would organize themed events on a monthly basis .Popular Radio program ” Nocturno” would occasional dedicate a night to the music of the 70s. Among the international favorites Barry White,Barry Mannilow,Boney M,and Abba there were also Los Brincos, Los Bravos, Los Pastele Verdes, Latin American and Spanish groups who would infuse dance elements into their music ( although still very 60s influenced). The style of dancing was similar to the touch style here in the states, according to Menesses who proceeded to demonstrate as he spoke rocking his body side to side and appearing to spin his partner.” As the years passed and the economic situation worsened the parties began to decrease around the island and were largely concentrated in and around Havana.Using locations on off hours tohold these events for the older crowd who preferred to be home early. Today the gatherings still take place, but usually at a home. Most commercial venues cater more to the popular Cuban styles of the moment.
DJ Alex Gutierrez
Below is a video I found on You Tube posted in 2009 that shows people dancing to 70s tracks at a location in Cardenas , Cuba.