Latin American Music

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  • 1.By: Katie, Jessica, & Ashlee

2. Latin America

  • Latin America consists of the countries of South America and some of North America (including Central America and some the islands of the Caribbean) whose inhabitants mostly speak Romance languages, although Native American languages are also spoken.
  • Most frequently the term Latin America is restricted to countries whose inhabitants speak either Spanish or Portuguese.
  • Latin America is divided into 33 independent countries and 13 other political units.
  • Brazil is by far the largest country in Latin America.

3. Latin American Dancing

  • Latin America thrives on its culture. Its dance and music is known to be very sexy and promiscuous, and is recognizable by anyone familiar with dance.
  • Salsa and the more popular Latin dances.
  • It was the mariachi bands of Mexico that stirred up the quick paced rhythms and playful movements at the same time that Cuba was embracing similar musical and dance styles.
  • Traditional dance was blended with new, modern ways of moving, and became a whole new dance rage. The dances from those days evolved and were influenced by modern music as the sexy style and hip gestures became more accepted.

4. Cultures

  • The population of Latin America is a composite of ancestries, ethnic groups, and races, making the region one of the most diverse in the world.
  • Indian-mestizos
  • Creoles
  • Mestizos
  • Mulattos
  • Blacks
  • Zambos
  • Asians

5. Four Main Types of Music

  • 1.)Native American Music
  • Lowland Amazonian Native Americans use a variety of flutes, panpipes, trumpets, drums, and shakers. Songs are particularly important and are used for rituals of curing, for the maintenance and telling of the group's history and myths, for subsistence activities, and for dance accompaniment in a variety of communal festivals, including initiation ceremonies and events related to family and social relations.
  • Video


  • 2.)Rural Mestizo Music
  • Their music reflects both European and indigenous influences.
  • Costumed dance is an integral part of the music. The dance changes over time
  • Instruments include diatonic harp, violin, guitar, mandolin type (strings were brought by Europeans), band instruments such as sax, clarinet, trombone, and indigenous instruments such as flutes and percussion.
  • Flutes and drums are more traditional
  • Indigenous instruments are Kenas (vertical flute) and panpipes and trumpets.
  • Video


  • 3.)African American Music
  • Large numbers of African slaves were imported to regions of Latin America where the indigenous population was not sufficient or suited to supply labor for the mines, farms, and ranches of Europeans. The use of African drums and the African marimba is prevalent as well as, the lamellaphone (a thumb piano that consists of metal or reed keys fastened to a soundboard) The African heritage is often a primary basis of some of the most internationally influential music to come out of Latin America. This includes popular genres such as the Cuban son and rumba Jamaican reggae, Trinidadian calypso and many more!
  • Video


  • 4.)European Art Music
  • Orchestras and choirs were supported by the church, which was the center of both European musical education and production. Spanish-born andcriolli(American-born Spaniard) composers were often employed as chapel masters. They created both sacred and secular polyphonic works.

9. Interview Questions

  • 1.) What country are you from?
  • 2.) Why is music important in your life?
  • 3.) How is music incorporated in your culture?
  • 4.) How did you learn music in school?
  • 5.) What kind of music is popular in your country?
  • 6.) Are there any special instruments that are used a lot in your country?

10. Arcenio Romero

  • I am Arcenio Romero from Panama, located in Central America.
  • Music is important in my life because whenever I listen to any kind of music, it makes feel relaxed. Music is sometimes helpful for me to focus when I am doing any kind of sport. I love music because there are a lot of songs that make me remember good moments of my childhood.
  • In my culture music is very important for everything. There are lot of artists of different types of music. Music is taught for children since elementary school, where children sing songs mostly related to the Independence Day of Panama. I remember when my teachers asked me to sing in front of the group for grades.
  • In addition, there is a music class that is mandatory for students in public schools and some of the private schools. We also have a national anthem that students have to sing every Monday before start classes, and it also represents the own country in many important activities such as, sports games and remarkable dates in the country.
  • We have different kind of popular music. There is the typical music of the country, and also we have influences from other countries. The most popular songs are from reggaeton, salsa, merengue, bachata, and original reggae from Panama.
  • The instruments that are used a lot in my country are: the guitar, the flute, the accordion, the drums and the guiro.

11. How to incorporate Latin American Culture into a Classroom

  • 1.Cinco De Mayo Celebration-Have the students research the holiday. What it is/how it is celebrated etc. then have on the 5th of May celebrate Cinco De Mayo in your classroom.
  • 2.Study a culture and their instruments . Then have the students create an instrument from the Latin American culture. For example the Cajon is a box drum used by Latin America. The students can study the instrument, listen to it, then create their own! After they have their own drum they can then create their own song or beat.

12. Why we chose Latin America

  • Katie:I thought it would be an interesting area to get familiar with their music style. I like salsa music, so I wanted to see what else they had to offer!
  • Jessica: I have always liked Latin American dances such as the Salsa and their culture just seemed to be so upbeat. So I thought it would be a fun/interesting culture to research.
  • Ashlee: I have traveled to this area and really enjoyed my experience.

13. Surprises and New Knowledge:

  • Katie:I thought it was interesting how many areas and types of people influenced their music. I also thought it was neat what an important part dancing played in their culture.
  • Jessica: I was surprised at how many different cultures were included in Latin America. I was generally thinking Mexico and Brazil but when you start researching there are so many more!
  • Ashlee: There really werent any surprises for me doing this project considering that I experienced their culture first hand.

14. Resources:

  • Background Information:
  • Music Example Videos:
  • Interviews:
      • Ashlee Holland (Traveled to Costa Rica)
      • Arcenio Romero