Pop Music and Culture: CuBop, Up-Rock, Boogaloo and Banda. Latinos Making Music in the United States

Pop Music and Culture: CuBop, Up-Rock, Boogaloo and Banda. Latinos Making Music in the United States

CFA MH333/433 A1

MWF 12-1 CFA (855 Commonwealth) B36

Prof. Michael Birenbaum Quintero

Surveys the musical styles of Latinos in the US. Discusses the role of these musics in articulating race, class, gender and sexual identities for US Latinos, their circulation along migration routes, their role in identity politics and ethnic marketing, their commercial crossover to Anglo audiences, and Latin/o contributions to jazz, funk, doo-wop, disco and hip hop. Case studies may include Mexican-American/Chicano, Puerto Rican/Nuyorican and Cuban-American musics; Latin music in golden age Hollywood; Latin dance crazes from mambo to the Macarena; rock en español; the early 2000s boom of Latin artists like Shakira, Enrique Iglesias, and Jennifer López; reggaetón, race politics, and the creation of the “Hurban” market; and the transnational Latin music industries of Los Angeles, New York, and Miami.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Afro-Caribbean Music, New Orleans and the “Spanish Tinge”

The Caribbean

African-derived music in Cuba. Ritual drumming and Yoruba-language song in the Santería or Regla de Ochá religion. (This example is from New York, where the Cuban master drummers Román Díaz and Pedrito Martínez live). (Manuel pp. 7-8)

Neo-African secular (non-religious) music, with clear relation to African musics but created in the Caribbean. Here, the Afro-Puerto Rican music called bomba in the town of Loiza, PR.  (Manuel pp. 7-8)

These kinds of music circulated throughout the Caribbean, crossing national and linguistic lines. Compare the previous video of Puerto Rican bomba with gwoka from the French island territory of Guadeloupe.

Also compare with this 1800s artist's conception of dances in Congo Square in New Orleans, where, unlike in the rest if the US,  drumming was permitted until 1845 (Manuel 11).

Awesome polyrhythm - this is the Afro-Cuban religious music called güiro. The timeline, tapped on a metal implement has 12 beats, but the instrument in the middle plays 4 beats over it. You could just as easily clap it in 3. This is a good illustration of what Manuel talks about on page 9.

Here are some of the central rhythms in Afro-Caribbean music. They're all represented here repeated once.

Straight, un-syncopated 4/4 pulse
X . X . X . X .  / X . X . X . X .

X . . X . . X . / X . . X . . X .   

X . X X . X X ./  X . X X . X X .
(Note that this is basically the tresillo with two extra beats
X.xX.xX. / X.xX.xX.)

X . . X X . X . /  X . . X X . X .
(Note that this is basically the tresillo on top of the 1 and 3 of a straight 4/4.
X . . X . . X .
X . . . X. . .)

This will make sense when we do it in class!

It's worth noting that African-American music here in the US has long had some syncopated motifs
popular in the cakewalk, ragtime, charleston, and other genres, basically "short-long, short-long."
(For geeks only: 1+2+1+4 or 2/4: q.  This is sometimes abbreviated to the Charleston syncopation, which closely resembles the tresillo (1+)3+4).

European-influenced music - a Puerto Rican danza, "Margarita" by Manuel Tavárez (1843-1883). It is creolized, though, notice the faint cinquillo rhythm in the background. (Manuel pp. 12-14)

Even more creolized was the Cuban danzón. This piece was the first recorded danzón, "Las alturas de Simpson" by Manuel Failde, from 1879 - pretty much a cinquillo-fest. (Manuel pp. 13-14)

More creolization, here between neo-African music and neo-European dance in the Haitian-influenced "Tumba Francesa" of eastern Cuba. Again, note the persistent cinquillo being tapped out with drumsticks on a wooden surface.

The habanera rhythm became popular worldwide, particularly in Spain, Argentina (tango), Brazil (maxixe), and Mexico. For his 1875 opera Carmen, set in Spain, French composer Georges Bizet composed perhaps the most enduringly famous habanera, "Love is a rebellious bird," here sung by the great María Callas.

Bizet's habanera was borrowed from a composition by the Spaniard Sebastián Yradier called "La paloma." Yradier himself borrowed the habanera from the music he had heard while stationed in Cuba (then under Spanish rule) in the late 1850s. Yradier's 1859 composition "La Paloma"
was brought to New Orleans to great acclaim by the band of the Eigth Regiment of Cavalry of the Mexican Army, a large military band which held a long residency in the Crescent City during the World's Fair of 1884-85. They also sold a good deal of sheet music including their repertoire of habaneras, danzas, contradanzas, danzones, and other Cuban and Caribbean pieces. "La Paloma" remains popular today. Here's one recording from 1928 by the soprano Amelita Galli-Curci.

The habanera and its underlying tresillo remained an important resource for New Orleans musicians, as explained here by the pianist Jim Hession. (He's a little confused in his terminology, and he tends to mix up tresillo, which he calls "charleston," and "habanera," but in his playing you get the idea).

Or, better yet, the seminal New Orleans pianist and bandleader Jelly Roll Morton (1890-1941) illustrating the “Spanish tinge” himself:

By the turn of the 20th century, the habanera was all over the African-American popular music called ragtime. (Ragtime explained here). The most famous ragtime today is probably Scott Joplin’s “Maple Leaf Rag,” made famous again by the 1970a movie The Sting and ice cream trucks across the nation. Joplin likley picked up ragtime at the Chicago World's Fair in 1893. Chicago was connected by river and rail trade with New Orleans. Notice how the melody shifts from the rag syncopation to the  habanera at the end of the line.

Scott Joplin’s “Solace (Mexican Serenade)” – notice the habanera rhythm

Here's “The Dream” by Jesse Pickett (a roving pianist active in Baltimore, Philadelphia, and New York), played by Eubie Blake,  (who was born in 1887 in Baltimore) - neither were New Orleanians or Missourians, but from the East COast, which shows how fast the rhythm became popular.

St, Louis composer W.C. Handy starting incorporating the habanera in his music as a deliberate effect. His famous St. Louis Blues (1911) is a "tango-blues" – find which section is the tango (that is, using the habanera) and which is the blues:

W.H. Tyers’ “Maori (A Samoan Dance)” (1908)  – find the habanera:

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Tejano Music (2/1)

El corrido de Gregorio Cortés
The background
The lyrics
One recorded version, from the 1950s.

Please read Manuel Peña on conjunto and orquesta. Here is some amazing music to accompany your reading. Spend some time with this great music, listen carefully with headphones on. In general, embedded videoclips are more important than examples that are just linked.
The great Lydia Mendoza "La Alondra de la Frontera"/The Border Lark. Her classic "Mal hombre" is definitely in the "love stinks" lyrical category.
Tuba-licious village brass band.This band looks like they're playing at a town fiesta.

Tex-Czechs' polka brass. This is the Patek family from Shiner, Texas playing the "Circling Pigeon Waltz."

More Tex-Czechs, now polka-ing with accordions - sound familiar? (p.45)

Traditional chirimía and drum (pp. 45-46) from Autlán, Jalisco, Mexico:

Los Tamborileros de Linares, traditional ensemble from Nuevo León, Mexico (pp. 46-47):


Narciso Martínez (accordion) and Santiago Almeida (bajo sexto) play "La Cuquita," their first recording, from 1935 (p. 51-54)
Last, but far from least - accordion titan (and zookeeper) Narciso Martínez, the "Hurricane of the Valley" and unidentified bajo sexto player ripping it up at a little bar in Edinburg, Texas in the late '70s. From Les Blank's amazing documentary Chulas Fronteras:

Thursday, September 4, 2014

"Uno, dos, one, two, tres, cuatro": What is Latino Music?

Some of the oldest music in the US is Latino. Alabados in New Mexico

Some very old Mexican music was composed in what is now the US, such as the "Corrido of Joaquín Murrieta."


Music of the Spanish Caribbean in New Orleans: Jelly Roll Morton's "Spanish Tinge" in "The Crave"


So you could say that the US has been obsessed with Latino music since long before this:

As with Desi Arnaz, Lucille Ball's Cuban bandleader husband.


Latinos have also taken on US music in their own ways: Lalo Guerrero's "Chicas Patas Boogie"


Sometimes Latinos appeared in the middle of the mainstream, but you wouldn't know unless you paid attention. Sam the Sham & The Pharoahs' "Wooly Bully," a song by Sam (born Domingo Samudio) about his cat.


But the Latino influence in US popular music is central. This rock classic, "Louie Louie," by the Kingsmen...

... is deeply indebted to Latino music.

Specifically, René Touzet's "Cha cha cha del loco" (0:00) and Chuck Berry's calypso-influenced "Havana Moon" (3:04) were the inspirations behind the original version of "Louie Louie" (6:10) by Richard Berry, an African-American bandleader with a large black, Mexican-American and Asian-American audience.


Once you start looking for them, Latin melodies and Cuban basslines are everywhere in pop, rock, and R&B. The Doors' "Break on Through" is a good example:

Stevie Wonders' "Don't You Worry about a Thing," is pretty much a straight son.


Hip hop is another example of Latino participation in US popular music. Nuyorican Big Pun on "The Dream Shatterer" The all-English approach to hip hop by "the first Latin rapper to baffle your skull/Master the flow, niggaz be swearin' I'm blacker than coal."

But Puerto Ricans were present in hip hop from the beginning. From a scene (at 25:10) of the seminal 1983 hip hop movie "Wild Style," members of both the Cold Crush Brothers (Charlie Chase) and the Fabulous Five (Whipper Whip and Rubie Dee) were Puerto Rican.

Latinos' musical creations often had a deep political significance. The salsa movement, and Latino life in New York City, captured in the 1972 film "Our Latin Thing."

Much more recently. Mexican-American artists like the LA-based band La Santa Cecilia, have been outspoken about immigration issues, as in their song "El Hielo," the title of which is a bilingual pun.


The music of US Latinos influential both here in the US and in Latin America. New York Dominicans Aventura's "Obsesión":

Or the transnational banda and corrido movement, much of which is produced in L.A. Here, the Tigres del Norte's "La Puerta Negra":

And it's even been influential for some Americans like Rhyan Lowery, an African-American from California who ended up becoming a professional ranchera singer:

Mexican-American Carlos Santana's Cuban rock. "Black Magic Woman":

L.A. Mexican-Americans' Akwid's banda-rap. "Jamás Imaginé"

Dominican-American Prince Royce's bilingual version of "Stand by Me"