Latin music has been of great influence for singers in training and, without a doubt, marked the lives of its pioneers. Some born in Spanish-speaking countries and others with descent from these lands have not been able to put aside the flavor that has been inherited to them. There are those who affirm that these tropical and Caribbean rhythms are carried in the veins and it is very difficult to get rid of these roots.
The arrival of Latinos in the United States also implied the arrival of their customs and culture. Latin music is considered to be a large number of genres, including: salsa, merengue, bachata, bolero, bossa nova, reggaeton, rumba, ranchera, cumbia, tango, among others.
Latinamerican Festival at Nagoya in Golden Week
How did Latin music begin to enter the United States?
Latin American music has influenced American music, starting from jazz to country music. Many bands added congas, percussion, or maracas to their instruments as they were drawn to the result these elements brought.
Starting in 1940, the music of Latin America, which still did not have a specific term, covered a greater number of audiences in the United States; international radio networks broadcast different themes of the time. In addition, they featured different Mexican bolero musicians such as Alfredo Antonini, Néstor Mesta Chayres, Eva Garza and Juan Arvizu. In the 1940s the US also heard the “Calypso” with great acceptance.
It was not until the 1950s that the term “Latin music” became popular, seeking to establish a difference between Afro-American and Afro-Latin American rhythms. Some artists marked this musical fusion to a greater extent, making the best of Latin music known on American soil. During the 1950s, music brought to the north from the island of Cuba, such as mambo, cha-cha, and rumba, was very popular. As well as the famous Mexican songs: rancheras and mariachis.
Some Latino artists who marked the history of Latin music in the United States Tito Puente was an American percussionist with Dominican origins remembered for his participation in worldwide jazz, Cuban music and salsa. In 1950 he helped promote the genre of mambo and cha-cha. His album “Dance Manía” was considered the most famous by the artist, it was one of the most heard among the Latino community in the US The album also set a precedent by being recorded in Spanish, generally, Latin albums were in English or with instrumental songs. It was Tito Puente who broke with this tradition.
At the beginning of the 20th century, tango touched American soil. Then, in the 70s, the Argentine Astor Piazzolla gave something to talk about by demonstrating his passion for the genre and revolutionizing what was known until that moment. Piazzolla was born in Mar de Plata but lived in New York from a very young age. It definitely changed the way of looking at music that was long marginalized, it was considered the music of the working class. The singer made mixtures between tango, jazz and contemporary classical music. His songs were a great success and were famous in bars of the time.
It was not until the late 1960s and early 1970s that the term “salsa” began to become known. Afro-Caribbean musicians mixed Cuban dance with influences from jazz, Caribbean music, and American rhythms. Although in previous decades it had already had its beginnings, it was in the streets of New York where it was consolidated as a commercial success.
Celia Cruz and Tito Puente – Latin music
Salsa launched artists who are now legends to stardom, such as: Celia Cruz, Willie Colón, Héctor Lavoe, Rubén Blades, Johnny Pacheco, among others.
Between the 1970s and 1990s, Dominican immigrants to the United States continued, especially to New York City, and promoted genres such as merengue and bachata. Juan Luis Guerra was one of the great exponents of both styles.
In the 90s, Selena mixed the Texan aesthetic with pop, giving her the title of the highest representative of the genre.
Entering the 2000s
In this decade, Latin rhythms continued to set the trend. Singers like Rubén Blades returned with songs that promised to be hits in the country.
At the end of 1999 Marc Anthony surprised his followers with an album of the same name. Although he was already known in the salsa genre, he decided to try other styles. With the intention of reaching the Anglo market, he is encouraged to sing in English. “I Need To Know” is a cha-cha song that quickly became popular in the United States. For eleven weeks it remained in the top North American positions, ranking in the Top 10 on the Billboard. The Spanish version won the Grammy for the best Latin song of the year 2000.
Marc Anthony was one of the artists who marked this decade in the US That same year a compilation of his best salsa songs went on sale, which he called: “Desde el principio”. With these successes to his credit within this country, he set out to make an important tour of the United States. Canada and Central America. Madison Square Garden in New York was overflowing with fans who wanted to hear this American singer but who positioned himself as the leader of a Latin genre.
The opening of “I Need To Know” appeared in the Nissan Versa commercial in the United States and in 2009 it also featured in an American Dad chapter, an American television series; thus giving greater projection to this genre throughout the North American territory.
During this decade, salsa and Latin music in general ended up positioning themselves in the United States.
In 2002 Blades launched his album “Mundo”, becoming one of the most popular in the United States. In fact, it won a Grammy. The album contained a mix of various rhythms and instruments. The artist wanted to create a fusion of cultures and musicians from different countries. “Estampa” was a subject with great acceptance as it evoked the Afro-Cuban influence in New York music.
By the year 2000, there were already music channels and with them the projection of emerging talents who in many cases did not speak the English language. The dynamics of these channels focused on the public, who chose which songs and videos were to be played, giving the opportunity to many young, little-known artists. They were also considered a springboard for the singers of the season and the Latin movement in general.
A movement that is here to stay
Latin music had come to continue making history and it was time to give it greater merit within the American spectacle.
Today, Latin singers, songwriters, and bands are innumerable. Latin music continues to gain space in the United States and more and more artists are achieving success within its borders. In addition, the endless awards that enhance their work in the industry.
Ruben Blades – Mundo
The consumption of these musical rhythms has increased throughout the American territory. Latinos and followers of this genre have gained space over the years; they can enjoy nightspots, live music, festivals, concerts and much more. Long live Latin America and its people! Long live the United States and the countries that have opened their doors to Latin music