While researching the Orishas of the Santeria religion I came across this fascinating academic article about the origins and social impact of timba music.
One of the things that I find intriguing about the popularity of Afro-Cuban music and dance in the non-Spanish-speaking world is that the music and rhythms clearly have the power to transcend the language barrier. Watching people dancing away I sometimes wonder - do people have a clue what the lyrics are saying? Does it matter? Are they somehow getting the ache (the spirit) of the song without understanding the lyric?
If you've ever wondered, I highly recommend this article, which
"makes the case of timba as a type of non-engaged music which, while presenting itself as emphatically escapist, during the 1990s has in fact become intensely political in the way it has articulated a discourse challenging dominant views on race, class, gender and nation."