Category: A Musical Sancocho!

Notes on Mexican Rock

English + Español
Since the 1960s, there’s been a booming underground rock scene in Mexico. It defines itself as countercultural, but not in absolute opposition to the mainstream—although sometimes it…

Nature’s Sonorous Politics

English + Español
There’s no indigenous political movement in Andean Peru. This, at least, has been the consensus view of scholars since the 1990s, when protests organized by indigenous parties shook the…

Dominican Bachata

English + Español
Ask kids in any U.S. urban middle school if they know who Romeo is. They’ll likely respond with an enthusiastic yes, but their answer will not refer to the Romeo in Shakespeare’s classic play…

Regional Mexican Music

Mexico’s port city of Veracruz was alive with music the week before Carnaval. Musicians, dancers, and audiences popped up on street corners, parks, and in driveways. Maybe it was the…

Polkas in Paraíba

We pull up to the small pink house perched at the top of a steep, cobblestoned incline. It seems to float above the verdant Pernambucan hills, a jagged melody wafting from the wrought-iron…

Palenque Rhythms

San Basilio Palenque, not far from Colombia’s prime tourist destination of Cartagena, is the only surviving example of places that once existed throughout the country—communities founded…

New Life for the Violin in Mexico’s Hotlands

Once upon a time, the music of Tierra Caliente was hidden treasure—wild and charismatic violin melodies lifted up by guitar chords, rooted in driving bass runs, and punctuated by varied…

Musical Transitions

Cuban singer-songwriter Luis Barbería’s album, A Full, was awarded the prize for best album in Cuba’s annual music awards, Cubadisco in May 2015. Vocal group Sexto Sentido, the jazz piano…

Mauricio Kagel and Electroacoustic Music

When Mauricio Kagel returned to his native Buenos Aires in 2006, 111 cyclists greeted the avant-garde composer by performing his theatrical composition, “Eine Brise.” The festival in his honor…

Embera Music

The Embera of western Colombia, one of the largest indigenous groups in the country, have been victims of violence and displacement by the Spanish conquistadors, abandonment or…

El Pututu

In July 2001, a team of archaeologists, students and workers of the Proyecto Arqueológico Chavín de Huántar discovered a cache of pututus in a space that would become known as…

From Carmen Miranda to the Grateful Dead

In the 21st century, fans of popular music expect, or even demand, that all styles of music be in communication with each other. Sound scavengers like the American DJ Diplo have made their…

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