Latin American music and dance

Amerindian Background

Iberian Influences

African Influences

  • Impact on World Musics

    Latin American music, along with jazz, which also blends African and European traits, has been a great influence on popular music around the world. Asian film songs and Eastern Mediterranean belly dancing may incorporate Latin percussion, rhythms, and/or the clave pattern. Since

    the 1930s, Latin rhythms have been popular among, and reinterpreted by West, Central, and East African musicians, resulting in a rich, two-directional cross-fertilization, since the Latin music incorporates many features originally African. The rumba of Spanish flamenco is the result of a similar exchange, in this case between Spain and Cuba, its former colony.

    Art Musics

    From the 16th through the 19th century, most Latin American "art" music reflected contemporary European models. Musicians composed and performed music much like that of their parent colonial cultures. In the 20th century, however, a number of composers discovered their "national

    voices," based partly upon traditional folk and tribal music (or their conception or reconstruction of it). These include Heitor VILLA-LOBOS in Brazil and Manuel Ponce, Carlos CHAVEZ, Silvestre Revueltas, and Blas Galindo in Mexico. Other composers have tended to represent more

    universal, rather than nationalist, techniques: these include Alberto GINASTERA and Mauricio Kagel in Argentina, Camargo Guarnieri in Brazil, Domingo Santa Cruz Wilson and Juan Orrego-Salas in Chile, and Julian Carrillo in Mexico.

    World music: Chronology

    1920s Afro-Cuban dance music popularized in the USA by bandleader Xavier Cugat (1900-1990). Highlife music developed in W Africa.

    1930s Latin American dances like samba and rumba became Western ballroom dances.

    1940s Afro-Cuban rhythms fused with American jazz to become Cubop.

    1950s The cool jazz school imported bossa nova from Brazil. US bandleader Tito Puente (1923-___) popularized Latin dances mambo and cha-cha-cha. Calypso appeared in the pop charts.

    1960s Miriam Makeba took South African folk and pop to the West. The Beatles introduced Indian sitar music. Folk rock recycled traditional songs.

    1970s Jamaican reggae became international and was an influence on punk. Cuban singer Celia Cruz established herself in the USA as the 'queen of salsa'. Malian guitarist Ali Farka Touré (1939-___) brought a blues feel to traditional African melodies.

    1980s World music was embraced by several established pop stars and various African, Latin American, Bulgarian, Yemenite, and other styles became familiar in the West. Zairean Papa Wemba was one of many Third World singers recording in France.

    1990s New fusions, such as Afro-Gaelic, punk Ukrainian, and bhangramuffin, appeared.

    Most of the information presented here is taken from the Grolier Encyclopedia (Electronic Version)