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.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Dominican Music

Traditional Afro-Domincan musics include  various religious drumming traditions such as salve, congo, and palo. (Check out this great Afropop resource for more on traditional Afro-Domonocan music). Below, by way of example, salve.

And the music of Haitian migrant workers, called gagá:

These musics remain very much looked down on, for being black and for their links with Haiti. The national music is merengue. Merengue típico, derived from the Cibao region, usually features an accordion, a güira (metal cousin to the güiro), the tambora - a drum played with one stock and one bare hand -, and often a saxophone and a bass. The tempo is generally fast, with repeated short phrases.

Under the dictator Rafael Leonidas Trujillo, who ruled the country 1930-1961, merengue was orchestrated standardized and used to sing the praises of the nation and its leader.

It was also some pretty kick-ass dance music…

As early as the 1950s, the bandleader Ángel Viloria was performing merengue in New York

After 1965, Dominicans began o stream into New York City. By 1980, merengue was enjoying a commercial boom in the Latin music industry in the US as a party music. With the rise of salsa romántica, merengue was increasingly popular as a dance music, as in the 1980s classic by the Rosario Brothers:

Matching uniforms, goofy dance moves, and other gimmicks were part of the way the music was marketed and presented. (This was the 80s).

As migration intensified, New York City became the place where a lot of merengue was being made - both in "Dominican York" fusions with pop, hip hop, and house music …

… and with a revival of the old-school típico style that was happening more among nostalgic New York Dominicans than on the island itself, as in this Queens, NY house party.

Bachata music started in the DR as a guitar-based singing of sad songs like boleros, and was associated with the lower classes who had migrated form the country to the cities.
Because of the upheavals of that group, bachata tended to focus on themes of distance or of inter-gender conflict.
New innovations included a particular electric guitar sound, and a more standardized instrumentation and rhythm.
Sometimes the ensemble was used to play merengue.
More elaborated forms by white, upper-class, musically sophisticated musicians like Juan Luis Guerra raised the status of the previously vilified music.
As we will see, bachata has become a staple of the pop en español music industry, catering both to US Latinos (on both coasts) and in Latin America itself.

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