I thought perhaps sharing my timba Spotify playlist and a few of my favorite songs could inspire some new timba fans and casino dancers. I’ve had a difficult time discovering new timba music and, were I a beginning dancer, I would love to discover a playlist like this.
Disclaimer: I am by no means a music expert. What I lack in expertise I hope to make up for with enthusiasm.
What is timba? I quote SonYCasino* blogger and Cuban dance authority Daybert Linares Díaz, who writes:
It is impossible to be part of the Cuban dance community and not know what “timba” is. By this, I do not mean know as in: to have a definition of it; rather: to just know what it is when you listen to it, in the same way that you know love when you feel it, even as you cannot define it.
As a Supreme Court Justice might say, “I know it when I hear it.”
I was introduced to timba while learning to dance in Buenos Aires. I shunned Argentine tango in favor of the modern brand of Cuban casino (widely known as Cuban salsa) popular there. That form of modern casino is danced to timba music. Some people actually refer to the modern casino dance as timba as well––mistakenly, according to SonYCasino.
I’ve highlighted a few of my favorite songs for those who would otherwise be overwhelmed by a six-hour playlist.
This is my favorite song at the moment. And––I’m not gonna lie––my enjoyment of this song is completely biased because of the video featured above: an improvised social dance between Yoandy Villaurrutia & Nina. My dude’s sunglasses fly off while dancing and he manages to catch them on beat and put them back on. What the f––– man? I like Yoandy’s “NewStyle” so much that I’m currently taking his online classes. He’s next-level.
But even without Yoandy, this song from 2004 still hits.
Barbaro Fines y Su Mayimbe – Vuelvete Loca
Likely my most-listened to song of all time. It is exceedingly difficult to dance unless you’re truly listening. It was probably Vuelvete Loca that inspired me to begin learning how to dance and not just partner dance.
And I’m no linguist but…
Es que tus ojos me matan
Es que tus labios me envuelven
Tú me seduces el alma
Y haces que yo te recuerde
Alexander Abreu y Havana D’Primera – Me Dicen Cuba
I couldn’t make this list without a song from Havana D’Primera. By my account, they’re arguably the modern timba band and it was hard to pick a single song. I picked this one because it stands out as more subdued than a lot of the timba I enjoy. Subued or not, I swear you can understand the lyrics of this song without knowing a word of Spanish.
Oh… and… uh… Yoandy did this one, too.
Elito Revé y su Charangon with Alexander Delgado (Gente de Zona), Serguei Yera Madera
Yo no soy una gua-gua mamita
Yo soy la aplanadora
Gente de Zooooona.
Honorable Mention: Dario Alvarez y El Team Habana – La Noche
Just this evening this young timba band popped up on social media––and their single has hips! Timba bands tend to be older in general than your average face on Tik Tok. It’s nice to see some young blood on the scene. Hope sharing their stuff along with some all-time-greats helps their cause in some way.
*If you’re into Cuban music and dance at all you need to browse SonYCasino. Díaz has answered all of your questions. Seriously. And if he hasn’t already, you can email him and he’ll answer them personally. (I did just that!)