Think Latin American music - Think Salsa? Think further! This article takes us through a beginner's guide to Latin American music. To see our list of Latin & Salsa bands for hire, go here, for a complete booking guide, go here, for ideas and inspiration for your Brazilian Themed Party, go here and should you wish to learn some Salsa dance moves, go here.
A Beginner's Guide To Latin American Music
A Beginner's Guide To Latin American MusicAt face value, Latin American styles of music may constitute a combination of African rhythms and European harmony. In reality, these combinations vary hugely from one Latin American culture to the next; depending on myriads of factors - economical, geographical, historical, political, social - the list is endless. For example, in the case of many Brazilian styles of music, there is a third major influence, that of the indigenous Indian cultures in South America. These different styles of music - like any other popular art music forms - have developed through time, so, with them, you get that temporal, as well as spatial, variation; traditional versus contemporary.
Latin-American Styles Developing Through Place
Thus, the timba-reggaeton that is happening in Cuba today is very different from the traditional music that was happening in sixteenth century West Africa, before the advent of colonialism. Latin American styles of music have not only developed through time, but they have developed through place; through upheavals attributed to those factors listed above. You can almost draw a map with lines, dates and progression routes drawn from one place to the next.
The Latin Influence
Yet this does not mean that there is no interaction between the timba-reggaeton in Cuba and the traditional music in West Africa, as 'opposite ends of the same scale', for they are mutually influential, the one informing the other. Contemporary salsa artists such as Marc Anthony or Paulo FG and Cuban Jazz artists such as Maraca or Klimax still look to the influence of African religious rituals as the foundations of their music. At the same time, artists originating from Africa and working internationally - Angelique Kidjo, Baaba Maal, Papa Wemba, Salif Keita - recognise the Latin influence in music as products of their own music, and cross-appropriate these in many songs.
Examples of Latin artists