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Reggaeton banned in Cuba (iStock)

Reggaeton banned in Cuba

11th December 2012

Raul Castro’s administration cracks down on Reggaeton music as it is banned from radio and television

Travellers will no longer be able to hear certain genres of music in Cuba. The Castro administration has cracked down on 'vulgar and banal' music with a view to stopping party music, more specifically Reggaeton. Reggaeton is a mix of tropical salsa, electro, American hip hop and Jamaican dancehall reggae.

Having emerged from Panama in the late 1970s, the music craze spread across the Caribbean, the US and soon became a dominant form of popular music among North America's Spanish-speaking populations.

Hits such as Daddy Yankee’s Gasolina and Wisin y Yandel's Rakata have seen the Reggaeton movement take off. However, the music has been described as explicit, vulgar and crudely demeaning to women. Vistel Columbie, the president of the Cuban Institute of Music defamed the genre: “aggressive, with sexually obscene lyrics… deforms the innate sensuality of Cuban women.”

The Cuban Institute of Music has stated that severe levies will be imposed and bans made on musicians whose lyrics are deemed inappropriate, sexually explicit or demeaning to women and they will be struck from official lists. Some recordings have already been removed from Cuban official music catalogues.

Vistel went on to say that: “Neither vulgarity nor mediocrity will be able to tarnish the richness of Cuban music... Obviously, people can listen to what they want privately. But, that freedom doesn’t include the right to reproduce and disseminate that music.”

Although Reggaeton music is hard to defend, it is still a form of mild musical repression and there are questions over where the line should be drawn regarding censorship.

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