My Latin Side, Hispanic Heritage Month, and Latin Music USA

Mariachi_Angela Radulescu_flickrYesterday marked the beginning of Hispanic Heritage month.   When I first started blogging, I provided snippets about my Hispanic background.  I haven’t kept it a secret, but I also haven’t talked about it much.   Well, that is about to change.

I have had a  fascination for a long time to learn everything about Latin American Music.  This is partially because of my cultural roots and partially because of the link to the classical guitar, which has a rich tradition in Latin America.  The evolution of Latin America Music has a unique musical heritage as a result of the constant intermingling of cultures – indigenous, white and black.  The fusion of different cultures has led to the creation of energetic music with complex rhythmic patterns, eclectic instrument combinations, and sensual sonic expressions.  Every Latin American country has a distinct musical sound – the Dominican Republic has the merengue, Mexico has the mariachi, Cuba has the son, Puerto Rico has the rumba, Argentina has the tango, Brazil has the Samba, and the US has a piece of each.

The historical connection betweeen the US and Latin America has created a  rich Latin American musical legacy.  So, where do you begin talking about the Latin American music tradition here in the US?  I thought the appropriate place to start is to mention a new series by PBS – Latin Music USA.

The series features the memorable stories of artists including among others, Salsa greats Willie Colón and Marc Anthony; the Latin-inflected sounds found in much of sixties’ rock and roll from the Drifters to Motown to the Rolling Stones; the genius of Texas accordion player Flaco Jiménez; Carlos Santana; Linda Ronstadt; the legendary Chicano rock band Los Lobos; megastars Gloria and Emilio Estefan; Ricky Martin and Juanes; Miami rapper Pitbull; Reggaeton performers Daddy Yankee and Tego Calderón; and Lin-Manuel Miranda from the Tony Award winning musical “In the Heights.” The life experiences of these and many other unforgettable artists will reveal how Latinos have reinvented their music in the United States and forged new identities within this country, while never losing sight of their own rich traditions.

According to the website, the series is scheduled to air October 12 & 19. Check your local listings for times.  Here is a promotional video about the series:

In the next few weeks, I intend to share more of my Latino side.  If there is a topic you’d like me to talk about, you know what to do – please leave a comment or email me.
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