I first became interested in Latin America over twenty-five years ago, because of the problem of deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon. Since then, I have enjoyed visiting, studying, and living in various parts of the region, and in recent years I have been teaching its human and physical geography to undergraduates, in-service teachers, and general audiences. I have even gotten involved in the geography of coffee. Whatever else I am doing, I always find myself attracted to the diverse music of the region. I have found that the music is an excellent means for exploring its geography. (I should make it clear that I am not a trained musicologist.)
Wherever I travel, I ask a local person who is interested in music to go to a CD shop with me, and to show me what is current and interesting. The store clerks usually love to get involved, and I get to sample a wide variety of exciting music. Technology is lowering the barriers to producing music, so an amazing variety can be found. I look for music that people are actually listening to, and that I can somehow connect to music I have already heard. It is great fun!
Most of the CDs for which no link to Amazon.com is provided were purchased in Latin America, in one case directly from the artists, but one benefit of globalization -- and world music activism -- is that you can support many of these artists by purchasing their work online. I am providing links wherever possible to facilitate this support. In some cases I am providing short clips, or links to clips that already are online.
In all cases, these clips are limited to 30 seconds, which is the maximum for what is considered educational "fair use." If you like the clips, buy the CDs! Most of what I have learned has come from listening to the CDs in their entirety many times. I often understand only a few words the first time, but my ear and brain eventually become attuned. Sometimes I am pleasantly surprised by a discovery in a song I have heard dozens of times.
Although Amazon.com is the most convenient source for much of this music, I also encourage you to consider supporting one of the specialized online stores listed at the bottom of this page -- or your local music store if you are lucky enough to have one.
Thanks to Kelli Bennett for her help in preparing this page, to Jacqie Lourenco and Andrea Peters for ongoing technical support, and to the many students and educators who have encouraged this work. Most of all, thanks to my friends in Brazil, Texas, and elsewhere who have helped me to find the coolest music!
I am just starting to put some Latin music on my YouTube channel -- both the MaCIE list mentioned above and other groups of videos by category. Go to the channel and explore all the play lists.
CLICK TO ENLARGE
Scholars are not in agreement about what is meant by the phrase "Latin America." Some include only Spanish & Portuguese-speaking countries, while others exclude the island nations of the Caribbean. I use the term very broadly, to include all of Middle America, South America, and the Caribbean, as well as border areas of the United States in which linguistic and cultural influences are both long-standing and growing.
Although I am interested in learning whatever I can about the music of this entire region, I have the most experience with the music of the places I know most directly: the U.S.-Mexico borderlands, Brazil, and Cuba.
¡ Con Salsa ! is a great resource for people in the Boston area. Sunday mornings from midnight to 5:00 a.m., host José Massó plays the best of Afro-Cuban music, Salsa, Latin-jazz, Merengue, Nueva Trova and World Music. Listen online or at 90.9 FM in the Boston area.
The family of Daniel Pearl honors his commitment to cross-cultural communication through the annual Daniel Pearl World Music Days .
more from the resources provided by the librarians at LANIC!
is a remote
region of Colombia, where the lives of innocents are torn by
It is also the name of an amazing organization that makes
the musics of
the world available to a worldwide audience. It was from a Putumayo CD display at
in Managua that I learned globalization can mean
music of the Global South full circle -- it is not just
post-colonial commodity to be enjoyed in the North.
||Following his success with the Talking Heads, my hero David Byrne founded Luaka Bop, one of the first record labels to seek out unrecorded artists from around the world, and to release compilations, each focused on a carefully-researched genre within a region.||Smithsonian
long been known for its well-researched collections of
world. The Latin
section now has well over 100 CDs, and the
collection is being made available as CDs or as 99-cent downloads
track! For much more beyond music, see the Smithsonian Latino Center.
to suggest new content for this page, especially from Latin
other than Brazil, Mexico, and Cuba: firstname.lastname@example.org
Go to my Environmental Geography home page
Go to my Latin American links page
Go to the Latin American and Caribbean Studies page
Go to the Geography of Coffee page
Go to the International Section of my County Map Page
educators: This web site is
a supplement to live presentations that I have enjoyed
for college audiences, teacher training, and K-12
contact me to discuss the possibilities of a presentation at
school, conference, or university. My collection of
resources is much larger
than that presented
here; I can customize a
presentation to suit
your group's needs.
Dr. James Hayes-Bohanan
VISITS SINCE MARCH 29, 2005: 34,098
Additional visits since January 24, 2007:
SPRING 2005 Presentation
Mansfield High School
FALL 2006 Presentations
Bristol Community College
Middlesex Community College - Lowell
Cape Cod Community College
University of Massachusetts - Dartmouth
Bunker Hill Community College
Bridgewater State College
Spring 2009 Presentations
Massasoit Community College -- April 3
Your campus? The repertoire is always growing!