When it comes to Cuba, the arts are a polarizing force. And you'd be hard-pressed to find a more politically charged Cuban art form than nueva trova, which was much more than just a genre of music following the revolution that put Castro in power in 1959.
Led by artists such as Pablo Milanés, it was an often controversial social movement that forcefully conveyed the ideas of the times and vividly captured the political change sweeping the island. Which is to say, it has long been associated with the communist regime. And throughout the '60s and '70s, Castro's government strongly backed the movement.
But it's also a dangerous oversimplification to say nueva trova is nothing more than propaganda. A nuanced fusion that makes use of pop and rock as well as the rich influence of Cuba's musical legacy, it is Cuba's folk music. And Milanés has long been heralded as the country's Bob Dylan.
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