Lesson 1: Latin American Genres of Music

So many kinds of Latin music fuse Spanish melodies and with African rhythms, mixing both with indigenous peoples’ musical forms in different ways in different eras and in different parts of the land to form an almost innumerable number of local and regional styles. Because of the amazing variety of music we find throughout the region we spread our Latin music explorations over two sessions. (Woefully inadequate, of course. We could spend many lifetimes learning about Latin rhythms and still want more and more.) Here we’ll focus on melodies and rhythms from the Americas, touching on music you may hear on your journey south from Mexico, via Central America, to the southernmost Chilean port, though we will look to Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic for some son, salsa, merengue. Elsewhere on the All Around This World site we’ll focus more wholly on music from the Caribbean.

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