Latin American music
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Encompassing rhythms and styles originated or related to Latin America, as well as derived music genres from the United States and Europe. Some critics have defined Latin music as an incorporation of four elements: music style, geography, cultural background of the artist and language. The first of those encapsulates all music styles generated from Latin countries, such as salsa, merengue, tango and bachata; as well as other styles derived from a more mainstream genre, such as Latin pop, rock, jazz and hip-hop.
Popular music styles by country 
The tango is perhaps Argentina's best-known musical genre, famous worldwide. Others styles include the Chacarera, Milonga, Zamba and Chamamé. Modern rhythms include Cuarteto (music from the Cordoba Province) and Electrotango.
Argentine rock (known locally as rock nacional) was most popular during the 1980s, and remains Argentina's most popular music. Rock en Español was first popular in Argentina, then swept through other Latin American countries and Spain. The movement was known as the "Argentine Wave."
The music of Belize has a combination of Kreol, Mestizo, Garifuna, and Mayan influences. The music is generally rewritten in English. After many centuries of Maya habitation Spanish (and then British) colonists arrived in the area, the latter keeping Belize as its only colony in Spanish-dominated Central America. More influential than either European power's arrival, however, was the importation of African slaves. Europeans brought polkas, waltzes, schottisches and quadrilles, and Africans brought instruments and percussion-based music. The Mayans made the first diatonic marimba, which was also popularin Belize. African culture resulted in the creation of music in the logging camps played by banjos, guitars, drums, bells, accordions and an ass's jawbone (played by running a stick up and down the teeth). Among the most popular musical styles created by Kriol musicians is brukdown. Brukdown evolved from the music and dance of loggers, especially a form known as buru. Punta and Punta rock-jazz-hiphop are the most popular dances in Garifuna culture, performed around holidays and at parties and other social events. Punta lyrics are usually composed by women. Chumba and hunguhungu are round dances with a three-beat rhythm, often combined with punta.
Bolivian music is perhaps the most strongly linked to its native population among the national styles of South America. After the nationalistic period of the 1950s Aymara and Quechuan culture became more widely accepted, and their folk music evolved into a more pop-like sound. Los Kjarkas played a pivotal role in this fusion. Other forms of native music (such as huayños and caporales) are also widely played. Cumbia is another popular genre. There are also lesser-known regional forms, such as the music from Santa Cruz and Tarija (where styles such as Cueca and Chacarera are popular).
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Brazil is a large, diverse country with a long history of popular-musical development, ranging from the early-20th-century innovation of samba to the modern Música Popular Brasileira. Bossa nova is internationally well-known, and Forró (pronounced [foˈʁɔ]) is also widely known and popular in Brazil.
Many musical genres are native to Chile; one of the most popular was the Chilean Romantic Cumbia, exemplified by artists such as Americo and Leo Rey. The Nueva Canción originated in the 1960s and 1970s and spread in popularity until the 1973 Chilean coup d'état, when most musicians were arrested, killed or exiled.
In Central Chile, several styles can be found: the Cueca (the national dance), the Tonada, the Refalosa, the Sajuriana, the Zapateado, the Cuando and the Vals. In the Norte Grande region traditional music resembles the music of southern Perú and western Bolivia, and is known as Andean music. This music, which reflects the spirit of the indigenous people of the Altiplano, was an inspiration for the Nueva canción. The Chiloé Archipelago has unique folk-music styles, due to its isolation from the culture centres of Santiago and Lima.
Music from Chilean Polynesia, Rapa Nui music, is derived from Polynesian culture rather than colonial society or European influences.
Colombian music can be divided into four musical zones: the Atlantic coast, the Pacific coast, the Andean region and Los Llanos. The Atlantic music features rhythms such as the cumbia, porros and mapalé. Music from the Pacific coast, with drums predominating (such as the currulao) is tinged with Spanish influence. Colombian Andean has been strongly influenced by Spanish rhythms and instruments, and differs noticeably from the Indian music of Peru or Bolivia. Typical forms include the bambuco, pasillo guabina and torbellino, played with pianos and string instruments such as the tiple guitarra. The music of Los Llanos, música llanera, is usually accompanied by a harp, a cuatro (a type of four-string guitar) and maracas. It has much in common with the music of the Venezuelan Llanos.
Apart from these traditional forms, two newer musical styles have conquered large parts of the country: la salsa, which has spread throughout the Pacific coast and the vallenato, which originated in La Guajira and César (on the northern Caribbean coast). The latter is based on European accordion music. Merengue music is heard as well. More recently, musical styles such as reggaeton and bachata have also become popular.
Dominican Republic 
Merengue típico and Orchestra merengue have been popular in the Dominican Republic for many decades, and is widely regarded as the national music. Bachata is a more recent arrival, taking influences from the bolero and derived from the country's rural guitar music. Bachata has evolved and risen in popularity over the last 40 years in the Dominican Republic and other areas (such as Puerto Rico) with the help of artists such as Antony Santos, Luis Segura, Luis Vargas, Teodoro Reyes, Yoskar Sarante, Alex Bueno, and Aventura. Bachata, merengue and salsa are now equally popular among Spanish-speaking Caribbean people. When the Spanish conquistadors sailed across the Atlantic they brought with them a type of music known as hesparo, which contributed to the development of Dominican music. A romantic style is also popular in the Dominican Republic from vocalists such as Angela Carrasco, Anthony Rios, Dhario Primero, Maridalia Hernandez and Olga Lara.
Traditional Ecuadorian music can be classified as mestizo, Indian and black music. Mestizo music evolved from the interrelation between Spanish and Indian music. It has rhythms such as pasacalles, pasillos, albazos and sanjuanitos, and is usually played by stringed instruments. There are also regional variations: coastal styles, such as vals (similar to Vals Peruano (Waltz)) and montubio music (from the coastal hill country).
Indian music in Ecuador is determined in varying degrees by the influence of quichua culture. Within it are sanjuanitos (different from the meztizo sanjuanito), capishkas, danzantes and yaravis. Non-quichua indigenous music ranges from the Tsáchila music of Santo Domingo (influenced by the neighboring Afro-marimba) to the Amazonian music of groups such as the Shuar.
Black Ecuadorian music can be classified into two main forms. The first type is black music from the coastal Esmeraldas province, and is characterized by the marimba. The second variety is black music from the Chota Valley in the northern Sierra (primarily known as Bomba del Chota), characterized by a more-pronounced mestizo and Indian influence than marimba esmeraldeña. Most of these musical styles are also be played by wind ensembles of varying sizes at popular festivals around the country. Like other Latin American countries, Ecuadorian music includes local exponents of international styles: from opera, salsa and rock to cumbia, thrash metal and jazz.
El Salvador 
Salvadoran music may be compared with the Colombian style of music known as cumbia. Popular styles in modern El Salvador (in addition to cumbia) are salsa, Bachata and Reggaeton. "Political chaos tore the country apart in the early 20th century, and music was often suppressed, especially those with strong native influences. In the 1940s, for example, it was decreed that a dance called "Xuc" was to be the "national dance" which was created and led by Paquito Palaviccini's and his Orquestra Internacional Polio". In recent years reggaeton and hip hop have gained popularity, led by groups such as Pescozada and Mecate. Salvadorian music has a musical style influenced by Mayan music (played on the El Salvador-Guatemala border, in Chalatenango). Another popular style of music not native to El Salvador is known as Punta, a Belizean and Honduran style.
One of the leading classical composers from El Salvador is Carlos Colón-Quintana.
Guatemala has a very long musical tradition.
Haiti has a rich blend of African and European music; Cuban and Dominican influences also blend to create Haiti's diverse music. The most notable styles are Kompa and méringue. Evolving in Haiti during the 1850s, the Haitian merengue (known as the mereng in Haitiean Creole and méringue in French) is regarded as the oldest surviving form of merengue performed today and is a national symbol. According to Jean Fouchard, mereng evolved from the fusion of slave music genres (such as the chica and calenda) with ballroom forms related to the French contredanse. Mereng's name, he says, derives from the mouringue music of the Bara, a Bantu people of Madagascar. That few Malagasies came to the Americas casts doubt on this etymology, but it is significant because it emphasizes what Fouchard (and most Haitians) consider the African-derived nature of their music and national identity. Dominican merengue, Jean Fouchard suggests, developed directly from Haitian mereng.
Dominicans are not inclined to highlight African and Haitian influences on their culture. As ethno-musicologist Martha Davis points out, many Dominican scholars "have, at the least, ignored African influence in Santo Domingo. At the worst, they have bent over backwards to convince themselves and their readers of the one hundred percent Hispanic content of their culture. This is not an uncommon Latin American reaction to the inferiority complex produced by centuries of Spanish colonial domination".
The music of Honduras varies from Punta (the local genre of the Garifunas) to Caribbean music such as salsa, merengue, reggae and reggaeton (all widely heard, especially in the north). Mexican ranchera music has a large following in the rural interior of the country. The country's ancient capital of Comayagua is an important center for modern Honduran music, and is home to the College for Fine Arts.
Mexico is perhaps one of the most musically diverse countries in the world. Each of its 31 states, its capital city and each of Mexico City's boroughs claim unique styles of music. The most representative genre is mariachi music. Although commonly misportrayed as buskers, mariachis musicians play extremely technical, structured music or blends such as jarabe. Most mariachi music is sung in verses of prose poetry. Ranchera, Mexico's country music, differs from mariachi in that it is less technical and its lyrics are not sung in prose. Other regional music includes: son jarocho, son huasteco, cumbia sonidera, Mexican pop, rock en español, Mexican rock and canto nuevo. There is also music based on sounds made by dancing (such as the zapateada) which some believe gave origin to flamenco after the Conquistadores brought it back to Spain and claimed it as their own.
Northeastern Mexico is home to another popular style called norteña, which assimilates Mexican ranchera with Colombian cumbia and is typically played with Bavarian accordions and Bohemian polka influence. Variations of norteña include duranguense, tambora sinaloense, corridos and nortec (norteño-techno). The eastern part of the country makes heavy use of the harp, typical of the son arocho style. The music in southern Mexico is particularly represented by its use of the marimba, which has its origins in the Soconusco region between Mexico and Guatemala.
The most popular style of music in Nicaragua is palo de Mayo, which is both a type of dance music and a festival where the dance (and music) originated. Other popular music includes marimba, punta, Garifuna music, son nica, folk music, merengue, bachata and salsa.
A popular style of music in Panama is Spanish reggae. Spanish reggae originated in Panama in 1977 and competes with reggaeton (which was created in Puerto Rico), having strong Puerto Rican influences such as bomba and plena soca. Salsa, bachata, and merengue can be heard as well throughout the nation. Other Hispanic and Latino styles are also heard, as well as Caribbean, salsa and West Indian music.
Paraguayan music depends largely upon two instruments: the guitar and the harp, which were brought by the conquistadors and found their own voices in the country. Polka Paraguaya, which adopted its name from the European dance, is the most popular type of music and has different versions (including the galopa, the krye’ÿ and the canción Paraguaya, or "Paraguayan song"). The first two are faster and more upbeat than a standard polka; the third is a bit slower and slightly melancholy. Other popular styles include the purahéi jahe’o and the compuesto (which tell sad, epic or love stories). The polka is usually based on poetic lyrics, but there are some emblematic pieces of Paraguayan music (such as "Pájaro Campana", or "Songbird", by Félix Pérez Cardozo).
Guarania is the second-best-known Paraguayan musical style, and was created by musician José Asunción Flores in 1925.
Peruvian music is made up of indigenous, Spanish and West African influences. Coastal Afro-Peruvian music is characterized by the use of the cajón peruano. Amerindian music varies according to region and ethnicity. The best-known Amerindian style is the huayño (also popular in Bolivia), played on instruments such as the charango and guitar. Mestizo music is varied and includes popular valses and marinera from the northern coast.
Puerto Rico 
The history of the music on the island of Puerto Rico begins with its original inhabitants, the Taínos. The Taíno Indians have influenced the Puerto Rican culture greatly, leaving behind important contributions such as their musical instruments, language, food, plant medicine and art. The heart of much Puerto Rican music is the idea of improvisation in both the music and the lyrics. A performance takes on an added dimension when the audience can anticipate the response of one performer to a difficult passage of music or clever lyrics created by another. This technique in Puerto Rico is called a controversia. Of all Puerto Rico's musical exports, the best-known is reggaeton. Bomba and plena have long been popular, while reggaetón is a relatively recent invention. It is a form of urban contemporary music, often combining other Latin musical styles, Caribbean and West Indies music, (such as reggae, soca, Spanish reggae, salsa, merengue and bachata. It originates from Panamanian Spanish reggae and Jamaican dancehall, however received its rise to popularity through Puerto Rico.Tropikeo is the fusion of R&B, Rap, Hip Hop, Funk and Techno Music within a Tropical musical frame of salsa, in which the conga drums and/or timbales drums are the main source of rhythm of the tune, in conjunction with a heavy salsa "montuno" of the piano. The lyrics of the song can be rapped or sung, or used combining both styles, as well as danced in both styles. Aguinaldo from Puerto Rico is similar to Christmas carols, except that they are usually sung in a parranda, which is rather like a lively parade that moves from house to house in a neighborhood, looking for holiday food and drink. The melodies were subsequently used for the improvisational décima and seis. There are aguinaldos that are usually sung in churches or religious services, while there are aguinaldos that are more popular and are sung in the parrandas. Danza is a very sophisticated form of music that can be extremely varied in its expression; they can be either romantic or festive. Romantic danzas have four sections, beginning with an eight measure paseo followed by three themes of sixteen measures each. The third theme typically includes a solo by the bombardino and, often, a return to the first theme or a coda at the end. Festive danzas are free-form, with the only rules being an introduction and a swift rhythm. Plena is a narrative song from the coastal regions of Puerto Rico, especially around Ponce, Puerto Rico. Its origins have been various claimed as far back as 1875 and as late as 1920. As rural farmers moved to San Juan, Puerto Rico and other cities, they brought plena with them and eventually added horns and improvised call and response vocals. Lyrics generally deal with stories or current events, though some are light-hearted or humorous.
Llanera is Venezuelan popular music originating in the llanos plains, although a more upbeat and festive gaita version is heard western Venezuela (particularly in Zulia State). There are also African-influenced styles which emphasize drumming and dance, and such diverse styles as music from the Guayana region (influenced by neighboring English-speaking countries) and Andean music from Mérida.
Uruguayan music has similar roots to that of Argentina. Uruguayan tango and milonga are both popular styles, and folk music from along the River Plate is indistinguishable from its Argentine counterpart. Uruguay rock and cancion popular (Uruguayan versions of rock and pop music) are popular local forms. Candombe, a style of drumming descended from African slaves in the area, is quintessentially Uruguayan (although it is played to a lesser extent in Argentina). It is most popular in Montevideo, but may also be heard in a number of other cities.
Popular styles 
Nueva canción 
Based on Cuban music (especially Cuban son and son montuno) in rhythm, tempo, bass line, riffs and instrumentation, Salsa represents an amalgamation of musical styles including rock, jazz, and other Latin American (and Puerto Rican) musical traditions. Modern salsa (as it became known worldwide) was forged in the pan-Latin melting pot of New York City in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
Tejano music 
Most Tejanos today reside in South Texas and have a form of folk and popular music, greatly influenced by (yet quite distinctive from) both traditional genres of Mexican music and mainstream genres of American music. Texan star Selena is credited with bringing Tejano music to the forefront of popular music. The tejano is a form of hiphop dance.
Reggaeton has become a Latin American phenomenon and is no longer classifiable as a Panamanian (or even a Puerto Rican) genre. It blends the Jamaican musical influences of reggae and dancehall and Trinidadian soca with Latin American music (such as the Puerto Rican bomba and plena) and American hip hop and rap. The music is also combined with rapping, generally in Spanish.
Latin ballad 
The Latin (or romantic) ballad is a Latin musical genre which originated in the 1960s. This ballad is very popular in Latin America and Spain, and is characterized by a sensitive rhythm. A descendant of the bolero, it has several variants (such as salsa and cumbia). Since the mid-20th century a number of artists have popularized the genre, such as Julio Iglesias, Luis Miguel, Enrique Iglesias and Cristian Castro.
Imported styles 
Imported styles of popular music with a distinctively Latin flavor include Latin jazz, Argentine and Chilean rock and Cuban and Mexican hip hop, all influenced by styles from the United States (jazz, rock and roll and hip hop). Music from non-Latin parts of the Caribbean are also popular throughout Latin America, especially Jamaican reggae and dub, Trinidadian calypso music and soca. Flamenco, rumba, pasodoble and fados from the Iberian peninsula are well-known due to the Iberian heritage in Latin America.
See also 
- Quintana, Carlos. "What Is Latin Music?". About.com. The New York Times Company. Retrieved 28 June 2012.
- . Raquel Z. Rivera. 2009. Reggaeton. "Part I. Mapping Reggaeton". From Música Negra to Reggaeton Latino: Wayne Marshall. "Part II. The Panamanian Connection". Placing Panama in the Reggaeton Narrative: Editor's Notes / Wayne Marshall. Duke University Press, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina.
- Franco, Edgardo A. "Muévelo (move it!): from Panama to New York and back again, the story of El General". Interview by Christoph Twickel. Reggaeton. Eds. Raquel Z. Rivera, Wayne Marshall, and Deborah Pacini Hernandez. Durham: Duke University Press, 2009. 99–108.
- Buckley "Bush", Francisco. La música salsa en Panamá. Panama: EUPAN, 2004.
- Aulder, Leonardo Renato. "The Panamanian Origins of Reggae en Español: Seeing History through 'los ojos café' of Renato". Interview by Ifeoma C. K. Nwankwo. Reggaeton. Eds. Raquel Z. Rivera, Wayne Marshall, and Deborah Pacini Hernandez. Durham: Duke University Press, 2009. 89–98.
- Andrews, George Reid. Afro-Latin America, 1800–2000. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004.
- Semana de la Danza. Travel & Sports: Puerto Rico. Retrieved May 7, 2010.
- In a Nutshell: Candombe, R. Slater Sounds and Colours
- Morales, Ed (2003). The Latin Beat. Da Capo Press. ISBN 0-306-81018-2.
- Nettl, Bruno (1965). Folk and Traditional Music of the Western Continents. Prentice-Hall, Inc. ISBN 0-13-323247-6.
- Stevenson, Robert (1952). Music in Mexico. Thomas Y. Crowell Company. ISBN 1-199-75738-1., cited in Nettl, p. 163.
- Latin American Music on the Open Directory Project
- Greatest Latin Contemporary Albums of AllTime
- South American Music and Culture Magazine