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The current essay deals with Afro-Latin music and dancing as the reflection of unique social and cultural values and conditions of Latin American people of African origin. Their cultural contribution to dance and ethnic music is immense and reveals some important traits of Latin cultural, religious, political and social experiences. Within the frames of current research the analysis of two contributions to dancing culture and one contribution to lyric music in a form of ballad will be provided with a particular emphasis on cultural values and social conditions that created them.
The first important contribution to world culture is Rumba which is important in terms of cultural and social practices that gave birth to it. There is no denying the importance of the fact that Rumba was brought to Latin America and Cuba by African people who were used up as slaves on fruit plantations by colonizers. Hence, it should be noted that it appeared on the frontier of original African patterns of dancing and music and social experience of oppression and suffering African met in Latin America.
For them the joyful and sexual meanings of Rumba were a means for lessening sufferings they met in their daily life. Rumba was often restricted and suppressed by colonial authorities as it was regarded by the dominant as dangerous for stability as it energized people and made them free from formalities etc.
Rumba developed in rural Cuba where exploitation of peasants and slaves was the most intense and hence it may be said that rumba represents by large the social and cultural experiences of rural communities. It is still very popular in Mantanzas and Havana especially in areas where black communities dominate but today it intermingles with the elements from hip-hop and jazz.
Another example of African-Latin dancing styles that become very wide-spread is salsa (a word referring to Mexican sauce). It has its origin in the fusion of the informal dance styles of the Caribbean and Latin regions. Besides this it should be noted that it has great influence of the African culture of music and dancing.
The social roots of this dance have much in common with rumba and symbolizing the social suffering and deprivation of all subaltern people of Latin America and the Caribbean. This explains the fact why this dancing style became so much widespread among Latin immigrants in New York and other American cities. They formed ethnic and cultural communities on the borderline of American society being affected by inequality and cultural domination of American society. However they managed to keep their culture, music and dancing which serve as a means for expressing their problems and worldview. Hence, by forming a unique ethnic and social subculture the Latin immigrants to the United States share and try to overcome the hardships they meet in their daily life.
Salsa is intrinsically social and community dancing as it gathers many people in the circle and creates a beautiful atmosphere of unity and the common fate of people.
Frequent exchange of partners and improvisation are the important elements of salsa that characterize its symbolic and social origins.
One of the main contributions of African-Latin to music is Chamame genre which is very widespread in Latin America. It is played with the use of violin, accordion and the Spanish guitar and combines lyrics, rhythm and melodic motives. This genre is a reflection of cultural mixture that characterizes Latin America and an immense impact of African culture on its development.
To sum it up, current research showed that African-Latin music produces important effect on the cultural and social experience of Latin people notwithstanding their ethnic origins. It is a reflection of historical conditions in which they used to live and live now which are characterized by social problems, aspirations of a better future and unrestrained celebration of life and nature.