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Latin American Music

secular music, Latin American Music, music of Mexico, colonial period, African Americans

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Latin American Music, music of Mexico, Central America, South America, and the Caribbean. The region of Latin America contains a rich variety of cultural and musical heritages, including those of lowland Native Americans in the Amazon area and parts of Central America; those of highland Native Americans in Mexico, Guatemala, and the Andes; those of African Americans, especially in the Caribbean, Ecuador, Suriname, Guyana, French Guiana, coastal Venezuela, Colombia, and northeastern Brazil; and those of people of Spanish and Portuguese descent.

Certain types of Latin American music represent fairly direct lines of continuity with the original cultural sources. Throughout the region there have been composers and musicians working in the European classical tradition since the colonial period (beginning about the 16th century), and there are also ballad, dance, and dance-drama traditions that can be traced directly from Europe. Various lowland and highland peoples maintain distinctive indigenous musical traditions, and African American populations continue to perform both sacred and secular music that is directly linked to specific West African and Central African traditions. The most prevalent musical styles in much of Latin America, however, are the result of various types and degrees of fusion of these different cultural heritages and musical resources.

Article key phrases:

secular music, Latin American Music, music of Mexico, colonial period, African Americans, composers, ballad, French Guiana, Guyana, Suriname, Colombia, South America, Caribbean, century, beginning, region, musicians

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