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Latin American Music Styles

with samples in Real Audio format

"Spanish music", "Latin rhythms", are standard labels used by DXers to describe the kind of music they hear from Latin American broadcasting stations.

By replacing "Spanish" and "Latin" with, say, "American" and "Anglo", the vagueness of such terms come into the open.

It is not an easy task to determine the home of a musical variety if you have to choose from more than 20 countries. Even a native Latin American senses the difficulty, except of course when he has to identify the kind of music which is unique to his home country.

A Venezuelan showbiz manager catering for Latin Americans in the Boston area said that he could count on a full Mexican crowd if "Los Tigres del Norte" were to perform. Similarly, "Los Inquietos del Vallenato" would attract all Colombians in the area, and should a punta band ever go to Massachussetts, he would easily fill the concert hall with Hondurans.

This explains why local Hispanic broadcasters in the US rarely cater for immigrant minorities. Where there is a majority of Mexicans, there is little reason to play Argentinian chacareras or Ecuadorian danzantes which the majority of their listeners would not like anyway.

In Latin America, there is usually some local musical flavor to be noticed on most stations. Sometimes the inherent cultural and ethnic factors of a region or a group are felt as more important than political frameworks and boundaries.

That is why broadcasters in Northern Peru, during the war against Ecuador a couple of years ago, did not curtail their usual programs of Ecuadorian pasillos . The war was president Fujimori´s idea but this could not instantly erase common cultural heritage. A large chunk of present-day Peru had in fact been under Ecuadorian rule for more than one hundred years until the area was declared Peruvian soil in 1941.

Similarly, people in Northern Argentina tend to like the same kind of music as many Bolivians. Too, they share a common ethnic and cultural heritage, a blend of Quechua and Hispanic traditions.

And so, while Mexican rancheras are felt as part and parcel of the local mestizo culture in Central America, people of African descent, wherever they may be, feel that Cuban son and other polyrhythmic dance music is theirs.

For these reasons, and many others, trying to distinguish between the musical styles of the region and learning their whereabouts will give an added bonus to Latin American DXing. The following samples are meant to serve as an appetizer for DXers wishing to taste the richly assorted and good-tasting Latin American musical "smörgåsbord".


Latin American & Hispanic artists  
# Name
Ricky Martin
Aguilera, Christina
Estefan, Gloria
Fernandez, Alejandro
Marc Anthony
Iglesias, Enrique