Salsa and More

22 Feb

This Friday, we will be discussing two genres of music explicitly connected Latin Americans living in New York City: salsa and reggaeton. In preparation for class, I have assigned the second episode of PBS’s Latin Music USA. The website for the mini-series contains an interactive section if you want to dig in to the rhythms in Latin American music’s U.S. transformations.

I know that a number of you were not sure which readings to prioritize since there is quite a bit of content assigned for Friday. I suggest focusing first on Pacini Hernández’s chapter and then reading Wayne Marshall’s piece. Both are excellent.

As you consider the histories of salsa and reggaeton, I have a few discussion questions that might help as you approach Latin Americanidad. In general, how would you consider the encounter between African American and Latin American musical styles in New York City? Why was salsa’s eventual development dependent on boogaloo/bugalú? What geographic, industrial, and social factors made this possible? How does the history of reggaeton complicate the assumptions of music and place?

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