By Lucy Fried
Did you know more than 65 languages are spoken in Mexico, other than Spanish, and that each region has its own instruments and musical traditions? And that Mexican and Latin American musical sounds and styles have been influenced not only by each other, but also by immigrants from Africa, Europe, Asia, and the United States, and vice-versa?
African slaves brought the marimba, and now it is the national instrument of Guatemala – and also popular in Colombia and Ecuador. Europeans brought violins, horns and the polka. The popular Colombian cumbia style and dance was popularized by musicians who loved listening to U.S. big bands in the 1930’s and ‘40’s. Mariachi music is known as the national music of Mexico, but it’s a style from one small region in the state of Jalisco. And on and on.
Huge appreciation to longtime VG resident Betto Arcos – music critic, journalist, and regular contributor to NPR, KPCC and the BBC – for a fascinating Clubhouse talk on Saturday, May 25. Many thanks to the Cultural Affairs Committee; may they sponsor many more such events!