Three Types of Rumba, Two Styles and One Modern Evolution

02 Oct

Three Types of Afro-Cuban Rumba, Yambú, Guaguancó and Columbia


Photo Credit: Rebecca Bodenheimer-Center for Latin American Studies, University of California, Berkeley

Rumba Yambú

Yambú is the oldest known style of rumba and also the slowest. The dance is slower and abrupt than the guaguancó. Dancers of the yambú pride themselves on their ability to dance in harmony with this rhythm.

Rumba Guaguancó

Rumba Guaguancó is faster than yambú but has a similar basic rhythm. It can range from medium tempos to very fast. The dances involve more flirtatious movements called the “vacunao” between between a man and a woman, known as a “Rooster” and “Hen”.

Rumba Columbia

The fastest of the three styles of Rumba, this rhythm uses a different basic pattern and pulse, creating a see-saw effect in the way the drums speak to one another.  The dance is traditionally only danced by a male solo dancer (though women have begun to dance Columbia as well), often in competitions to display strength, agility and ability to dance.

Two Styles of Rumba: Havana and Matanzas

Rumberos and rumberas in different parts of Cuba developed different styles of playing the rhythms of rumba, creating a distinct difference in the styles and sounds played in the Havana and Matanzas provinces.

A Modern Evolution: Guarapachangueo

Guarapachangueo is a modern evolution of rumba which has resulted in a fusion of types of drums used to play (congas, cajones and sometimes batá) and a more complex improvisational fusions of rhythms.



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