Orquesta América, Enrique Jorrín, Fajardo y Sus Estrellas, Orquesta América del 55
Contradanza + Creole Music + Danzón + Mambo = Chachachá
Chachachá is a style of ballroom dance music derived from Danzón. It was pioneered in 1951 by Enrique Jorrín with his famous composition "La engañadora", first released as a single in 1953 by Orquesta América, where Jorrín played the violin. This hit single launched the so-called "chachachá craze" replacing mambo as the leading ballroom dance throughout Cuba and, shortly after, the rest of the Americas. Like danzón and Mambo, chachachá has a 4/4 time signature, but it is slower and generally less complex than mambo. Its characteristic steady beat became the mainstay of popular Cuban Charangas such as Orquesta Aragón, Fajardo y Sus Estrellas and Orquesta América del 55, which kept the style in vogue until the early 1960s, when the Pachanga craze exploded. According to Jorrín himself, the purpose of chachachá was to be a simpler, more elegant ballroom style than mambo, eliminating syncopated rhythms to make the dance more easy and accessible. Chachachá includes some elements from Chotis Madrileño and drops the Son Cubano influence found in danzonete, being closer to pure danzón; in the charanga context, this implies the lead role of the flute. Nonetheless, chachachá introduced more vocal parts than mambo. These coros (choruses) were typically sung by the charanga musicians. In addition, chachachás often had a lead singer such as Laíto Sureda, Vicentico Valdés and Tito Gómez; the latter was backed by the successful Cuban Big Band Orquesta Riverside. In the US, chachachá was popularized by bandleaders such as Machito, Tito Puente and Xavier Cugat. Moreover, chachachá found its way into many Easy Listening recordings of the time. The genre became very popular in Europe as well. The decline of chachachá coincided with disappearance of old danzoneras such as Arcaño y Sus Maravillas and a general shift in Cuban music towards jazz-inspired forms such as Descarga. Outside Cuba, Rock & Roll outcompeted Latin ballroom music, while pachanga and later Boogaloo filled the Latin American Music niche during the 1960s, before the emergence of Salsa. As a result, chachachá has not been a popular genre since the second half of the 1960s. However, its influence can be heard in across many genres: for example, the Garage Rock hit single "Louie Louie" included the melody of René Touzet's "El loco cha cha", which was a version of Rosendo Ruiz Jr.'s "Amarren el loco", an early chachachá.