Origins of Cuban Music and Dance: Changüí (Scarecrow Press, 2008) is the first and only in-depth study written in English or Spanish on the changüí music and dance genre of Guantánamo, Cuba.


In this ground-breaking study of changüí, Ben Lapidus sheds light on a lesser-known but important genre of Cuban music, providing detailed analysis of its musical form while at the same time situating it in the broader context of eastern Cuba’s unique history and music culture.

-Peter Manuel, CUNY Graduate Center

Lapidus synthesizes his ethnographic and historical research to present an indispensable text on one of Cuba’s and the Caribbean’s least documented and studied musical and dance genres. The author argues for an ethnographically-based alternative to the standard evolutionary construction of the Cuban son’s historical development by showing that changüí, nengón, and kiribá—the son’s perceived “antecedents”—are not only distinct in their performative dimensions, but they also continue to contribute in their own idiosyncratic ways to the local and contemporary soundscape of Guantanamo. Herein lies Lapidus’s major scholarly contribution to the kind of popular music studies that eschews a linear evolutionary framework of music history and instead focuses on the meanings generated where memory, history, performance, and the local, national, and transnational intersect.

-David F. García, assistant professor, ethnomusicology, UNC – Chapel Hill

¡Este bongó que te llama!: El changüí guantanamero y las influencias extranjeras en el son cubano,” in El son y la salsa en la identidad del Caribe edited by Darío Tejeda (Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic: Instituto de estudios caribeños, 2008): 339-350.

Yo tengo sentido, tengo rima: Cano Estremera and the Art of the Soneo,” in Centro: Journal of the Center for Puerto Rican Studies Puerto Rican Music: RicanStructing Roots and Routes, vol. 2 (October 2004).

¡Toca maravilloso! Larry Harlow and the Jewish Connection to Latin music” 9789004184473_08-Lapidus-2.Mazal Tov, Amigos!: Jews and Popular Music (edited by Amalia Ran and Moshe Morad) Brill 2016: 109-121.