Latin Party Music - A Selection of 50 Latin Songs for A Night of Dancing...
In terms of dancing and having fun, I do not think there is anything that can beat a good Latin party. Using my DJ experience, I am going to lead you through the following playlist as if I were playing music in front of a crowd. This selection features 50 classic and contemporary songs from various genres such as Salsa, Merengue, Bachata, Reggaeton, Latin Rock and Brazilian music. Whether you are planning to have a Latin party or need some music you can dance to, the following playlist will provide you with a good spectrum of the amazing sounds that Latin music is able to offer.
1. "Congo Mulence" - Machito: When playing Latin music, the first thing I like to do is creating the mood. People like to chat or have some drinks before hitting the dance floor so it is important to set up the mood first. A Latin Jazz track will do the trick. This classic song by Machito is an ideal way to start your Latin party. "Congo Mulence" is also featured in a very nice Latin Jazz album produced by Putumayo Records.
2. "Menina Moca" - Stan Getz: We will continue to set up the mood by bringing more 'sophisticated' music with a Latin flavor to it. Another jazzy track will help us to carry out the mood of the previous song. However, this time we are going to move from the vibes of Afro-Cuban Jazz to the realm of Brazilian Jazz. Out of the many songs produced by the legendary Jazz musician Stan Getz, during the time he played alongside Bossa Nova icon Joao Gilberto, "Menina Moca" is definitely one of the best songs to get into the mood for a Latin party. With this transition, we are also introducing the crowd to a large variety of sounds.
3. "Marianao Social Club" - Cachao: We will continue with our previous jazzy mood. However, this time we are ready to turn this Latin party up a notch. "Marianao Social Club," a wonderful song included in the album Master Sessions Volume 1 by Cachao, will allow us to do that. This song offers a perfect 'bridge' to move from the sounds of Latin Jazz into something a bit spicier.
4. "Sou Negrao" - Rappin Hood: Now it is time to move into a different field. From the sounds of traditional Cuban music and Latin Jazz we are jumping into the vibrant flavors of Brazilian Urban music. One of the biggest stars in this field is Rappin Hood. In "Sou Negrao" this rapper mixes in a very fun and creative way traditional Pagode with the Urban sounds of Sao Paulo, one of the biggest metropolis in the world. Now, it is definitely the time to start heating up this Latin party.
5. "Lo Que Paso Paso" - Daddy Yankee: We will stay in the Urban field with this hit of Daddy Yankee's breakthrough album Barrio Fino. This time we are moving from the Brazilian beats of Rapin Hood's "Sou Negrao" to one of the best Reggaeton songs by the Puerto Rican superstar. "Lo Que Paso Paso" will definitely bring people into the dancing floor of this Latin party.
6. "A Lo Cubano" - Orishas: We will stay in the Urban side with this fantastic song from one of the most influential groups that Latin Urban music has ever seen. "A Lo Cubano" is one of the best tracks included in Orishas's album Antidiotico. The song offers a nice combination of rap with a background sound of traditional Cuban Danzon. This song is perfect to move into a Salsa or Timba track, something that I will do with the next song of this Latin party playlist.
7. "Tributo al Niño Rivera" - Afro Cuban All Stars: Now that you got some people on the dance floor, it is time to hit them with a nice Salsa song. "Tributo al Niño Rivera" is a fantastic song from beginning to end. It offers a very elegant sound defined by amazing musical arrangements. You gotta love the flute and the tres playing in this song. This single offers six solid minutes of pure good music.
8. "Mujer Celosa" - El Gran Combo de Puerto Rico: We are going to stay in the Salsa field. This time, however, we will switch vibes a bit. From Cuba we are moving into the sounds of Puerto Rican Salsa with this track of one of the best groups in the history of this genre. "Mujer Celosa" is one of the best songs by El Gran Combo de Puerto Rico. A very nice song that will keep your crowd dancing.
9. "Canto Al Amor" - Sonora Ponceña: I am going to close this Salsa set with a track from another of the most influential Salsa bands from Puerto Rico. "Canto Al Amor" offers the typical sound that La Sonora Poncena has forged throughout a long and successful musical career. The piano in the intro part, the brass sections, the chorus, and the hard melody of the second half of this track are just plain fantastic. Because of all this, "Canto Al Amor" remains as one of the most popular songs ever produced by La Poncena.
10. "Dulces Sueños" - Rita Indiana: Now, it is time for a little break and switch gears. To accomplish that, I am bringing the track "Dulces Sueños" by Latin Alternative artist Rita Indiana. This is a funky bilingual version of the legendary song "Sweet Dreams" by Eurythmics. This single offers the so-called Techno-Merengue (literally a combination of Techno music with Merengue) that Rita Indiana usually incorporates into her productions. This song is a nice bridge to jump into a Merengue track.
11. "Llueve El Amor" - Tito El Bambino: Now, we are going to move from Rita Indiana's funky Merengue style into the classic beats of this Dominican genre. Although "Llueve El Amor" is not the typical track from Tito El Bambino, one of today's top Latin Urban artists, this song is one of the most popular tracks that this singer has produced in recent years. "Llueve El Amor" is an ideal song to add a romantic touch to this Latin Party playlist. Lovers will surely hit the floor with this one.
2. "Tu Eres Ajena" - Eddy Herrera: Now that we have entered into the world of Merengue, it is time to bring a good track for dancing. Eddy Herrera is one of today's most popular Merengue stars. His repertoire is an ideal option to consider if you want to spice up your Latin party. "Tu Eres Ajena" is just one of the many Merengue hits this Dominican artist has produced throughout his successful career.
13. "Procura" - Chichi Peralta: Now, we are going to move to a different style without leaving the sounds of Dominican music. In order to maintain the energy of the previous song, here there is another great track for dancing. "Procura" is a fantastic song from beginning to end. It offers an intoxicating fusion of Tropical sounds that will keep people on the dance floor. This is one of the most popular singles included in Chichi Peralta's breakthrough album Pa Otro Lao.
14. "Corazon Sin Cara" - Prince Royce: After listening to some Merengue songs and the Tropical fusion of Chichi Peralta, it is time to bring a good Bachata track into this Latin Party. "Corazon Sin Cara" is one of the songs that transformed Prince Royce into one of today's most popular Bachata artists. This is also one of the best songs included in the album Prince Royce.
15. "Oye Mi Canto" - N.O.R.E.: After traveling through the sounds of Dominican music, it is time for a change of style. We will do it aggressively by bringing one classic Reggaeton hit. My choice to accomplish this is "Oye Mi Canto," a nice track by N.O.R.E. featuring different Reggaeton stars. Latin Urban music fans will definitely hit the floor with this one.
16. "I Know You Want Me" - Pitbull: With "I Know You Want Me," we will move from the classic beats of Reggaeton to the unique Urban style of Pitbull. This song is defined by Pitbull's traditional combination of Rap and Hip-Hop with Dance music. People who like this kind of Disco stuff will definitely love this one.
17. "Bossa 31" - Rosalia De Souza: We are about to switch the dancing style now. An eclectic mix of electronic sounds with Brazilian music will add something really cool to this Latin party playlist. "Bossa 31" is one of my favorite tracks from Brazilian artist Rosalia De Souza. This song provides an intoxicating sound that will keep your feet moving.
18. "Tic Tic Tac" - Carrapicho: To continue with the vibes of Brazilian music, I bring now "Tic Tic Tac," the most famous single ever produced by the Brazilian group Carrapicho. Back in the time when I used to be a DJ, people always went crazy about this track. Everytime I played this song, I had the dance floor packed. I do not know if this song still delivers the same effect but I still think it is a nice track to include in a Latin party.
19. "1, 2, 3" - El Simbolo: Time to bring this Latin party up a notch. Just like "Tic Tic Tac", this track is also one of those songs where people usually dance in groups. I prefer to stay away from very commercial stuff like the annoying "Macarena" and similar songs. However, I think "1, 2, 3" can bring a good energy to the dance floor. Once, I listened to this track in a Latin bar in Tokyo, Japan, and people just loved it. This Tropical song has definitely a global appeal.
20. "Guallando" - Fulanito: To keep the dancing mood in the right place, I bring a classic Merengue hit from Fulanito. Because of the energy it has, "Guallando" is a timeless track for any Latin party. This song offers an intoxicating sound defined by a fast Merengue beat and the nice touch provided by the notes of the accordion in the background. A fantastic track for any Latin party.
21. "Woman Del Callao" - Juan Luis Guerra: I think any good Latin party should play at least one track from Merengue and Bachata icon Juan Luis Guerra. To keep the party going, I am adding to this playlist one of my favorite songs by Juan Luis Guerra. "Woman Del Callao" is a nice Merengue song that will keep people moving their feet on the dance floor.
22. "Sin Perdon" - Hector Acosta: After listening to some Merengue, it is time again to bring another Bachata song. This time, I have selected a track from Hector 'El Torito' Acosta, one of the most popular stars of Bachata music. "Sin Perdon" is a very nice song and people who are into Bachata music will love to dance to this track.
23. "Te Amo Y Te Amo" - La Adictiva Banda San Jose de Mesillas: We will carry out the feeling of the previous song with something totally different: Banda music. Since its release, "Te Amo Y Te Amo" has been one of the most popular hits in this genre. A romantic song, "Te Amo Y Te Amo" offers a pleasant sound shaped by the beats of Cumbia and nice brass sections. Being one of the most popular Latin music rhythms in the US, a Regional Mexican music track is an nice addition to include into this Latin party playlist.
24. "La Camisa Negra" - Juanes: This playlist is now changing gears. It is time for some Latin Rock. In order to move into that field, I am using "La Camisa Negra," one of the best songs by Juanes included in his album Mi Sangre. Considering the sound of this track, which fusions Rock with traditional rhythms, "La Camisa Negra" is a good piece to use here. Thanks to this song, Juanes became a worldwide sensation. I have introduced this song to friends all over the world and everybody just loves this. Definitely a good track for any Latin party.
25. "Todo Tenemos Un Amor" - La Mosca Tse-Tse: Now, it is time to bring something funky. "Todos Tenemos Un Amor" is one of the most popular tracks produced by the Argentinian band La Mosca Tse-Tse. This single features the typical style of the band, which is dominated by the sounds of Ska and the tropical flavors provided by their brass sections. The electric guitar playing throughout the songs is great. Depending on your mood, and your company, you can either jump with this song or have a nice dance with your loved one.
26. "Tunupa" - Kali Mutsa: One of my favorite things to do when I was playing music in front of a crowd was challenging people with new sounds. This song by the Chilean group Kali Mutsa fits that idea. This Latin Alternative track provides an interesting mix that combines Bollywwod music with the sounds of traditional Andean music. "Tunupa" adds something different to this Latin party playlist.
27. "La Flores" - Cafe Tacvba: After the psychedelic music of Kali Mutsa, I am bringing a classic song by Cafe Tacvba, one of the pioneers of Latin Rock and Latin Alternative music. Since this is a compilation of songs for a Latin party, I have chosen one of the funnest singles ever produced by this Mexican band. "Las Flores" has the distinctive flavor that Cafe Tacvba has nurtured with music influenced by Ska, Punk and Rock sounds. This is definitely a nice song to jump around.
28. "La Gota Fria" - Carlos Vives: From the Alternative sounds of Cafe Tacvba we are moving now into the Caribbean vibes of Vallenato. We are going to do that with the track that gave Vallenato its international fame. "La Gota Fria" was, in fact, the song that transformed Carlos Vives into the most popular Vallenato artist in the planet. This is another song with a global appeal that fits perfectly this Latin party playlist.
29. "Ai Se Eu Te Pego" - Michel Telo: After listening to the sounds of the accordion playing Vallenato, we are going to listen the notes of the same instrument playing Brazilian Sertaneja music. This time, I bring one of the hottest hits of 2011. "Ai Se Eu Te Pego" by Michel Telo is a catchy song that took the world by storm when Cristiano Ronaldo danced to it after scoring one goal. Maybe this is a bit too commercial but you always have to play this kind of stuff in a Latin party. People just love it.
30. "Grades Do Coracao" - Grupo Revelacao: More Brazilian music. This time, I am featuring the amazing beats of Grupo Revelacao, one of the most popular bands in the fields of Samba and Pagode. "Grades Do Meu Coracao" is one of the most famous songs ever produced by this Brazilian group. You gotta love the percussion on this song.
31. "Mississippi Mambo" - Noro Morales: After playing around with Latin Alternative and Brazilian music, it is time to go back to the sounds of what people usually expects to listen to in a Latin party: Salsa. To open the next set of Salsa I would like to start with this very classic track by the legendary pianist Noro Morales. The song is entirely instrumental and provides an amazing melody for all of those who like to dance Salsa in an elegant way. This is a nice song to introduce the 'hard Salsa' (Salsa dura) I am playing afterwards.
32. "I Like It Like That" - Pete Rodriguez: I can't play a good set of Salsa without bringing back the vibrant sounds of Latin Boogaloo. Before Salsa became Salsa, Latin Boogaloo was the big thing during the 1960s. Some of the biggest stars of this movement included artists like the legendary Joe Cuba, Pete Rodriguez and Joe Bataan. Pete Rodriguez's "I Like It Like That" is my favorite Latin Boogaloo song. This single has an energy that is just amazing.
33. "Siguelo" - Javier Vazquez: After moving through the sounds of Mambo and Latin Boogaloo with Noro Morales and Pete Rodriguez, I am closing this set with one of the best tracks in the history of hard Salsa/Salsa dura. If you want to dance to a good Salsa song, "Siguelo" is an ideal track to consider. This song offers the original and best sound of Salsa music. I have been listening to Salsa music for years and this track is definitely on top of my Salsa dura ranking.
34. "Caraluna" - Bacilos: Now, it is time to move from the rich beats of hard Salsa to something a little bit softer. I am going to deliver this transition by adding to this Latin party playlist one of the best songs produced by the group Bacilos. "Caraluna" is a great song to dance to, especially if you are next to your loved one. The melody is defined by the popular combination of Vallenato with Tropical sounds that several Colombian artists have been forging in recent years. With this break, we are ready to explore more Tropical and Caribbean beats.
35. "Pintame De Colores" - Gloria Estefan: "Pintame De Colores" is one of the best songs Gloria Estefan included in her album 90 Millas. This track brings a nice sound shaped around traditional Cuban music. In particular, the sounds of the tres and clave provide this song with a very nice Caribbean flavor. "Pintame De Colores" is definitely a nice song to include in this Latin party playlist.
36. "La Gran Manzana" - Orquesta Frenesi: Now, it is time to introduce another interesting 'hybrid' song. "La Gran Manzana" is a single that achieved success thanks to the nice combination of Rap and Hip-Hop with Merengue. Besides being a nice song to dance to, this track opens the field for additional Merengue into this playlist.
37. "Loca Conmigo" - Los Toros Band: "Loca Conmigo" is one of the most popular Merengue songs produced by Los Toros Band. The melody, which is easy to follow, is adorned with nice brass sections and solid percussion. Because of the way it combines romantic and danceable segments, this is one of those songs that are good for 'flirting'.
38. "Nuestra Cancion" - Elvis Crespo: Following the vibes of the previous song, here there is another Merengue track by the popular Puerto Rican artist Elvis Crespo. "Nuestra Cancion" is a Merengue song that falls into the romantic side of the genre. In spite of this, the melody is also quite nice for dancing. Lovers will love to dance to it.
39. "Bachata En Fukuoka" - Juan Luis Guerra: To continue with the Dominican flavor, we are closing this set with another song by Juan Luis Guerra. This time, however, I am playing one of the most famous Bachata songs produced by the iconic Dominican artist. "Bachata En Fukuoka" will give lovers an additional reason to stay on the dance floor. This song offers a nice melody and the usual poetic lyrics Juan Luis Guerra always add to his songs. Make sure you don't miss the Salsa segment towards the end!
40. "Atrevete te te" - Calle 13: Time to spice up this Latin party with a little bit of Reggaeton and Cumbia. I could not leave out of this playlist one of the biggest names in Latin music. "Atrevete te te" is the song that transformed this Puerto Rican band into a Latin Urban music phenomenon. This classic song from Calle 13's repertoire features a nice combination of Reggaeton, Rap and Cumbia.
41. "Fuego" - Bomba Estereo: We are going to extend the sound of the previous song with this contemporary track produced by Bomba Estereo, one of Colombia's most interesting Latin Alternative bands. Besides Cumbia and Rap, "Fuego" also includes a nice touch of electronic music that enhances the eclectic appeal of this song. This is another cool song to challenge your crowd with.
42. "Bam Bam" - Rabanes: This song is another track charged with lots of good energy. In terms of its music, it is kind of a Tropical fusion that borrows elements from different kinds of genres. To place this track into some sort of label, I would call this 'Tropical Rock'. "Bam Bam" is one of the most popular tracks produced by the Panamanian band Rabanes. A full explosion from beginning to end.
43. "Pasarela" - Dalmata: Now to the last Reggaeton song of this Latin party playlist. This is a smooth song that offers a great beat. An interesting element added to this track is the Mariachi background that goes along with the whole melody. This is one of the best singles of the collaboration work between Reggaeton artists Dalmata and Ñejo.
44. "Le Gustan Los Artistas" - Gente de Zona: After the last Reggaeton song, it is time to feature a Cubaton track. While Reggaeton has been a genre developed in Puerto Rico, Cubaton is the Urban music equivalent that has been developed in Cuba. For newcomers, both genres may sound almost identical. However, Cubaton has a sound that is clearly defined by the beats of Cuban music. One of the biggest names of Cubaton is Gente de Zona. Their hit "Le Gustan Los Artistas" is a great song for a Latin dance party.
45. "No Podras Escapar De Mi" - Willie Gonzalez: After so many intense songs, it is time to start preparing the end of this Latin party by turning the level a bit down. In order to achieve this, a romantic Salsa song is a good option here. I am introducing now one of the most famous hits of the popular romantic Salsa singer Willie Gonzalez. "No Podras Escapar De Mi" combines very lyrics full of romanticism with a soft melody that lovers will enjoy to dance to.
46. "Te Conozco Bien" - Marc Anthony: I am going to keep the mood of the previous song by bringing another romantic Salsa song into this playlist. This time, I am playing "Te Conozco Bien," one of the most famous Salsa hits by Latin music superstar Marc Anthony. Although this is a romantic track, the second half of this song offers a nice musical segment to dance to.
47. "Promise" - Romeo Santos: I will continue to give couples a good reason to stay on the dance floor. This time, I am featuring the last Bachata song on this playlist. "Promise" is a hit song included in Romeo Santos's album Formula Vol. 1, one of the best Latin albums of 2011. This Bachata song has a nice touch of R&B thanks to the singing that Usher provides here.
48. "Golpes En El Corazon" - Los Tigres del Norte: I would like to end this Latin party playlist with three romantic tracks. By now people have danced a lot and it is time to enjoy some smooth melodies you can either sing or dance to. Now, I am bringing the Norteno music hit "Golpes En El Corazon" by Los Tigres del Norte. This version, which features Latin Pop star Paulina Rubio, is one of the best tracks included in the popular album MTV Unplugged: Los Tigres del Norte and Friends.
49. "Embrujo" - Andres Cepeda: Andres Cepeda is one of the most charismatic artists from Colombia. His music offers a nice fusion of Tropical rhythms with Bolero and a bit of Pop. "Embrujo" is another nice romantic song to play here. The melody, which sounds almost like a Ranchera song, leaves the field open for the last song of this playlist.
50. "Por Tu Maldito Amor" - Vicente Fernandez: Very often, a Latin party ends with a selection of heartbreaking songs that people like to sing together while drinking the last shots of the night. Classic Bolero, Ranchera or Vallenato songs are some of the favorite styles featuring these kinds of tracks. Because of this, the last song on this playlist is "Por Tu maldito Amor," one of the best songs by Vicente Fernandez.
In less than one week, the Latin music world has lost another of its most iconic artists. After the death of the Mexican singer Chavela Vargas, Salsa music mourns Jairo Varela, the prolific songwriter and founder of the legendary Colombian band Grupo Niche. The artist, who was 62, passed away in his home in Cali, Colombia.
Jairo Varela is easily one of the best songwriters Salsa music has ever produced. After founding Grupo Niche in 1978, this talented musician wrote some of the most memorable Salsa songs ever recorded including tracks such as "Buenaventura Y Caney," "Cali Pachanguero," "Una Aventura," and "Gotas De Lluvia," among many, many more.
Musically speaking, Jairo Varela and his Grupo Niche created a new school of Salsa whose sound was defined by its fast beats, solid percussion and vibrant brass sessions. Thanks to Jairo Varela, Colombian Salsa found its own place in a genre that was largely dominated by the music of bands from New York and Puerto Rico.
Jairo Varela, in fact, injected a sense of pride among Colombians about the music they were able to produce. I grew up in Colombia listening to the music of Grupo Niche and I was lucky enough to witness their transformation into one of the best bands in Salsa music. I still remember the words that proud caleños (the inhabitants from Cali) expressed after a face-off against El Gran Combo de Puerto Rico back in the early 1980s: "We went to see El Gran Combo and we ended up seeing Grupo Niche."
Besides putting Colombian music on the spotlight, Jairo Varela created a rich repertoire of Salsa dura and romantic tracks that touched every corner of the human condition. He wrote songs about love (e.g. "Nuestro Sueno," "Busca Por Dentro"), traditional culture (e.g. "Canoa Rancha," "Mi Mama Me Ha Dicho") and even social issues (e.g. "Ana Mile," "Etnia").
Above all, however, Jairo Varela exalted Afro-Colombian culture and his beloved Cali through songs such as "Del Puente Pa'lla," "Mi Valle Del Cauca" and "Cali Aji." His hit song "Cali Pachanguero" has been the city's unofficial anthem since 1984, when the song was released with Niche's breakthrough album No Hay Quinto Malo.
The Latin music world has lost one of its most creative minds. Jairo Varela who found most of his inspiration in Cali, a city called by its inhabitants La Sucursal del Cielo (The Branch of Heaven) has just moved to the headquarters. His music, however, will remain with us forever. R.I.P.
Besides the JUANES MTV Unplugged album, Latin music is also celebrating this week the release of one of the most interesting works of Salsa. Cheo Feliciano and Ruben Blades, two of the best Salsa singers in history, have just released their collaboration album Eba Say Aja.
The album, which includes 12 tracks, features a unique work where Cheo Feliciano sings some of the most popular tracks from Ruben Blades while the Panamanian singer does the same with some of the most famous tunes from the Puerto Rican legend. In addition to this, Cheo Feliciano also sings "Inodoro Perez," a new track written by Ruben Blades for this production.
The two singers joined their voices in the tracks "Si Te Dicen" and "Lo Bueno Ya Viene." Some of the songs on this album include titles such as "Dime," "Sin Tu Carino" and "Los Entierros." If you are into Salsa music or want to further explore this exciting Latin music genre, this is definitely the kind album that you want to get.
Traditional Latin American music is often overlooked because of the attention people give to main rhythms and styles such as Salsa, Merengue, Tango and Latin Pop.
However, there are hundreds of traditional styles that are worth to get familiar with if one wants to get a better understanding of Latin American music. Let's take a look at some of the most important rhythms and styles that define Traditional Latin music.
Zamba and Murga from The South
Besides Tango, the southern part of South America is home to very interesting traditional music. Zamba is, in fact, the national dance in Argentina and Chile.
The sounds of Zamba are produced by a combination of guitars playing along the beats of a prominent drum named bombo leguero. By contrast, Murga is more of a popular musical theater played in Uruguay and Argentina during the Carnival.
As its name says it, Andean music was born in the extensive region crossed by the Andes. Because of this, Andean music is very popular in countries like Bolivia, Peru and Ecuador. This type of indigenous music is usually played with a set of different panpipes, charango (a small string instrument) and bombo (drums).
Choro and Sertaneja Music from Brazil
Choro and Sertaneja music are only two of the most popular forms of Traditional Latin American music coming from Brazil. Choro developed in Rio de Janeiro during the 19th century. It became popular in the 1930s but it lost its appeal during the Bossa Nova boom. Choro is usually played with guitars, flute and cavaquinho, a combination that makes this style quite pleasant to the ear.
Sertaneja music is a traditional style equivalent to Country music in the US. It is, indeed, quite popular in Brazil but not outside the country. Sertaneja has its origins in the sertao and caipira music, two traditional Brazilian music styles. In addition to Choro and Sertaneja, Brazil has many more traditional rhythms that include Maracatu, Afoxe, Frevo and Forro, among others.
Cumbia from Colombia
Cumbia is Colombia's most well known contribution to Traditional Latin American music. This rhythm was born in the Atlantic coast of the country during the 19th century. Cumbia offers a heavy percussion which is nicely combined with large gaita flutes. Despite being a Colombian rhythm, Cumbia has been extensively adopted as a musical expression in modern Mexican popular music.
Llanera Music from Colombia and Venezuela
Outside Colombia and Venezuela, very few are familiar with Musica Llanera, the music from the enormous area that includes the Colombian and Venezuelan plains above the Amazon. Llanera music takes inspiration from the country life in the plains and its rich sounds are produced by a standard combination of harp, string instruments (cuatro or bandola) and maracas.
Son and Danzon from Cuba
Cuba is by far one of the most influential countries in the making of Latin American music. It is also a land where we can find some of the most popular expressions of Traditional Latin music. Cuban Son, which was born in the Cuban country side, was originally played with guitars and percussion instruments such as clave and maracas. Cuban Son is, in fact, an essential ingredient of that musical mix we refer to as Salsa.
Danzon is one of those rhythms from which you can perceive a perfect combination of European sounds and African influences. It evolved from previous styles that included contradanza and habanera. This is definitely one of the most pleasant rhythms of Cuban music.
Plena and Bomba from Puerto Rico
Similarly to Cuban Son, the origins or Puerto Rican Bomba and Plena are also linked to country life. Both rhythms are heavily charged with African influences. Because of this, drums play a major role in the sounds of Bomba and Plena. While Bomba surged in northern Puerto Rico, Plena evolved in the southern, coastal part of the country.
Ranchera and Sones from Mexico
Overall, Ranchera is one of the most popular styles of Traditional Latin American music. It was originally played by a single guitar player but later became closely related to a full Mariachi band. During the troubling times of the Mexican Revolution, Ranchera music became a way to promote Mexican culture.
Nevertheless, two centuries before Ranchera, Mexico had developed its own Son, which was influenced by indigenous elements as well as African and Spanish traditions. Mexican Son was not a fixed rhythm but rather a flexible musical style whose sounds were heavily shaped by the different regions where it used to be played.
Besides Mexican Son and all the musical forms mentioned in this article, there is an amazing range of Traditional Latin music styles throughout Latin America. Each individual country in the region has nurtured Latin American music with its own contribution. This article is just an introduction for all of those who want to venture further in the rich universe of Traditional Latin music.
... I would like to share you about certain things that might interest you.