“Charanga is a traditional ensemble that plays Cuban dance music. They made Cuban dance music popular in the 1940s and their music consisted of heavily son-influenced material, performed on European instruments such as violin and flute by a Charanga orchestra. (Chomsky 2004, p. 199). The style of music that is most associated with a Charanga is termed ‘Danzón‘, and is an amalgam of both European classical music and African rhythms.

The cha-cha-chá, or simply cha-cha in the U.S., is a dance of Cuban origin.[1][2]It is danced to the music of the same name introduced by Cuban composer and violinist

Enrique Jorrin in the early 1950s. This rhythm was developed from the danzón-mambo. The name of the dance is an onomatopoeia derived from the shuffling sound of the dancers’ feet.[3] Expression ‘čača’ with the meaning ‘children dance’ was mentioned already in slovene-german vocabulary Slovensko-nemški slovar by A. A. Wolf – M. Pleteršnik (published in Ljubljana 1894, page 91). The word ‘cjacja’ with the same meaning can be found also in russian language. Johann Topolovšek in his work Urverwandschaft der Indogermanen, Semiten und Indianer (published in Wienna, 1912, page 10) writes the same word ‘chacha’ meaning dance which can be found in basque language.

In the early 1950s, Enrique Jorrín worked as a violinist and composer with the charanga group Orquesta América. The group performed at dance halls in Havana where they played danzón, danzonete, and danzon-mambo for dance-orientated crowds. Jorrín noticed that many of the dancers at these gigs had difficulty with the syncopated rhythms of the danzón-mambo. To make his music more appealing to dancers, Jorrín began composing songs where the melody was marked strongly on the first downbeat and the rhythm was less syncopated.[4] When Orquesta América performed these new compositions at the Silver Star Club in Havana, it was noticed that the dancers had improvised a triple step in their footwork producing the sound “cha-cha-cha”. Thus, the new style came to be known as “cha-cha-chá” and became associated with a dance where dancers perform a triple step.[5]

For example, one of the steps used in the dance for the orisha Ogun uses an identical footwork pattern. These Afro-Cuban dances predate the development of cha-cha-chá and were known by many Cubans in the 1950s, especially those of African origin.[6] Thus, some[who?] have speculated that the footwork of the cha-cha-chá was inspired by these Afro-Cuban dances.[7]

In 1953 Orquesta América released two of Jorrin’s new compositions, “La Engañadora” and “Silver Star”, on the Cuban record label Panart. These were the first cha-cha-chá compositions ever recorded. They immediately became hits in Havana, and other Cuban charanga orchestras quickly imitated this new style. Soon, there was a cha-cha-chá craze in Havana’s dance halls, popularizing both the music and the associated dance. This craze soon spread to Mexico City, and by 1955 the music and dance of the cha-cha-chá had become popular in Latin America, the United States, and Western Europe, following in the footsteps of the mambo, which had been a worldwide craze a few years earlier.


“Patricia (Cha cha cha)”

“Patricia” is a popular song with music by Mambo artist, Pérez Prado and lyrics by Bob Marcus, published in 1958.  Patricia is known for many musical. styles including  the Patricia cha cha.

“Tea for Two (Cha Cha Cha)”

Tea for Two” is a song from the 1925 musical No, No, Nanette with … One famous interpretation of the song isTommy Dorsey’s cha-cha-cha version.

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