By Kiara Amaya
Hispanic culture has had a long lasting influence on American society. Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15 to October 15) celebrates the independence, culture, and achievements of Hispanic Americans. One particularly influential part is the music that Hispanic icons have created and impacted.
Latin music has been growing even more in popularity in the United States over the past several years. Popular artists have hit top charts and their names have become well known in mainstream American society. It is becoming more and more likely to hear a Spanish/Spanglish song on pop radio today. There has been a recent trend of Latin artists collaborating with mainstream U.S. artists. Some of these artists include Pitbull, Shakira, Enrique Iglesias, and Daddy Yankee. Luis Fonsi’s 2017 hit “Despacito” was a great example of the trend.
“In just 203 days after the music video’s launch, it broke the record as the most viewed video ever on YouTube, won numerous awards, and tied the record of the longest time for a song to hold a number 1 spot on billboard’s hot 100 list,” according to The Center of Latin American Studies at the University of Pittsburgh.
Over time in history, music that is considered to be ethnic has been influenced by a variety of cultures as well. From Europe and Arab impact, Latin music gained instruments such as the guitar and the guiro which are used in popular musical styles such as Salsa. From Africa came traditional beats that were introduced to indigenous Latin Americans. With the blending of the two cultures emerged the most dominant Lain music styles of samba, merengue, bachata, and timba.
After Latin music was deeply affected by cultural intertwining, Latin American musicians started to create foriegn sounds that brought people’s attention back to Spanish music.
One of the most famous and celebrated Latin artists is Selena Quintanilla. She was a phenomenon in both the Latin American world and in the United states. With the influence of American culture and her use of classic Latin music, she was able to become a top selling artist in the 1990s.
Carlos Santana pioneered Latin American jazz, again demonstrating the result of Latin music blending with other cultures. He is ranked as one of the greatest guitarists that have ever lived.
Some songs that are a testament to the success and diversity of Latin music are “Lo Que Construimos” by Natalia Lofucarde, “Como La Flor” by Selena, “Te Quiero” by Hombres G, “Telepatia” by Kali Uchis, and “La Chica Del Bikini Azul” by Luis Miguel.
The ever-changing genre of Spanish music has influenced and been influenced by countless external cultures. Today, there are dozens of different genres within genres in Spanish music that are appreciated by a wide audience. During this month of Hispanic pride and recognition, the popularity of the culture is becoming more and more celebrated by people both belonging to the culture and those appreciating it, as it deserves.