Of Trios and Duos / Rebeca Monzo

Archive photo

They were a deeply rooted tradition in our country, the groups made up of three members, called Trios or Tercetos, which proliferated in the 40s and 50s.

The country’s development took with it the creation and expansion of multiple recreational venues: cabarets, restaurants, open airs, the movies, and later, television. A country of musical greats and different opportunities to develop and express oneself. This made ever more musical groups appear, above all those of this little format, which served to lighten and make long Cuban nights more cozy. Thus emerged: The Matamoros Trio, Trio La Rosa, Trio Taicuba, The Lake Brothers, The Chancellors, The Ambassadors, Voices of America, The Indomitables, to only mention a few of the endless list.

After ’59, they went around closing those venues mentioned earlier, and around the middle of the seventies a sort of dry law popped up which finally shut them down for good; until television was left as the only option for these musicians. Thus they left little by little, most of them abandoning the country; and those who remained dedicated themselves to surviving at unrelated jobs, losing many good examples of our popular music.

Nonetheless, the picturesque creole has brought a new definition that doesn’t appear in Spanish language dictionaries: a trio is a symphonic Cuban orchestra which goes on tour abroad and returns.

However, on our planet there exists another small format: a duo, which, as its sole option for more than 50 years, is making us dance to the same tired rhythm.

Translated by: JT

February 28 2011