Like pop music in every corner of
the globe-everything from ballads to up tempo songs to dance/tap/hip-hop
tracks-sung in Spanish or, sometimes, a mixture of Spanish and
English. One of Contemporary Pop's
advantages over every other Latin
genre is its universal appeal across the United States, Puerto
Rico and Latin America. At present there are 26 BDS (Broadcast
Data System) reporting stations which Billboard monitors to chart
singles on its weekly countdown, Hot Latin Tracks.
Rock en Español
"Rock in Spanish" is the
Spanish counterpart to rock music: alternative to metal to punk
to ska. An underground rumbling which began as early as the '60s
and '70s in Mexico and South America, rock en español is
surfacing as one of the more dynamic Latin genres flexing its
muscle today. The genre is propelled by a fervid fan base and
is dominated by indie labels, as no BDS radio format has been
established yet for rock en español.
True to its name, a musical genre
whose roots are the tropical climes of Puerto Rico, Cuba and the
Dominican Republic, and whose reach extends from the United States
to South America. Sales and Merengue are the most
prevalent Tropical music styles.
Its most popular U.S. base is found on the East Coast and in cities
where there are dominant Puerto Rican or Cuban communities such
as Miami, New York and Chicago. There are currently 23 Tropical
By far the most diverse of the Latin
genres, "Regional Mexican" is an umbrella term used
to refer to the many
various genres that originate from
Mexico or from Mexican American culture in the U.S., including
Bands. Conjunto, Grupo, Mariachi, Norteno and Tejano. Popular
song styles of these genres are the cumbia, anchers,
ballad, bolero, corrido, polka, son
and waltz. Regional Mexican music aficionados are primarily concentrated
in the West, Southwest and Midwest United States, and there currently
are 69 Regional Mexican BDS reporting Stations.
Originating in the 1800s in Jalisco,
Mexico, mariachi represents the mestizo or mixed music
that developed as Indian and European cultures-in contacts since
1519-and that of the African slaves began to coalesce. Musical
groups in Guadalajara became known as "mariachis." Mariachi
is now the symbol of Mexican folk music and has grown to enjoy
Mariachi instrumentation consists
of violins, trumpets, guitars and two unique stringed instruments,
the vihuela and the guitarrón. The vihuela
and the guitar establish the rhythm; the guitarrón.
the base line;
and the violins. trumpets and voices,
(ghee-tah-róhn): large, portable acoustic bass instrument,
member of the guitar family, with v-shaped back, short neck and
(vee-wéh-lah): a small member of the guitar family having
five strings, v-shaped back, short neck and producing a high sound.
Mariachi groups number anywhere from
seven to fourteen members. Musicians must commit hundreds of
pieces to memory, as they perform without music and in whatever
key is best for the vocalist. The most popular styles performed
by a mariachi are the son, ranchera and bolero.
Also common are polkas, cumbias, danzones, pasadobles, corridos,
(boh-léh-roh): moderate dance/popular song type
in 4/4 time
(coh-ree-doh): A ballad that usually includes facts about
a lively dance in 2/4 time, originally from eastern Europe
(rahn-chéh-rah): a popular song type, with texts
dealing with emotions such as love or nostalgia for the land or
(sohn): a lively instrumental/vocal/dance piece, characterized
by the alteration of 6/8 and ¾ time throughout.
a slow or moderate dance in ¾ time, originally from western
Harpole, Patricia W. and Mark Fogelquist.
Los Mariachis! (Danbury, CT: World Music Press, 1991).