Category Culture

Edición Instituto Cervantes at FAS - Harvard University

Estudios del Observatorio/Observatorio Studies. 063-09/2020EN. (Trans.)

Abstract: Spanish has been fundamental to the definition of Latin music in the U.S. Since the 19th century, this catchall term has been used to describe a heterogenous catalogue of musical styles that has evolved over time, adapting to the reality of the Hispanic community of each moment. This category’s collective imagination, subject matter, and musical practices are in a state of constant transformation, contributing to the rearticulation of the Latino identity for each historic period.

This study analyzes the evolution of Latin music from its conception as a category through the current moment. It begins with the pan-Latino context of the 19th century and pays particular attention to the emergence of pop in the past few decades, including the ‘Latino Boom’ of the 1990s and through the present day, when a new generation of Latino artists has prompted a number of musical developments broadly referred to as ‘urban music.’ In this overview, we see how Latin music and its use of the Spanish language have adapted in line with the political, economic, and social status of the Hispanic community in the U.S. 

Keywords: Latino pop, identity, music industry, Hispanic music

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