aerial view of the Amazon river

Music

Winter 2016 | Volume XV, Number 2

Table of Contents

Editor’s Letter →

by June Carolyn Erlick

First Take

First Take: Music and Nature

First Take: Music and Nature

Nature and music are intimately connected. Almost as long as I have been a naturalist, these connections have been woven through my life. I have been playing drums since I was a boy…

Classical and Beyond

La Habana por su música

La Habana por su música

My mother left Cuba just before the Bay of Pigs in 1961. She was six years old then, and she has never been back. When I arrived in Havana in June, I became the first person from my…

Contemporary Cuban Pianists

Contemporary Cuban Pianists

Music fans might think of Cuba in terms of salsa or nueva trova, but the country’s pianistic tradition has built its world reputation. Few countries have had pianists as gifted as Cuba: from…

A Cellist in Exile

A Cellist in Exile

When Pablo Casals first set foot in Puerto Rico in 1955—his mother’s native land—his life took a dramatic turn. At 79 years of age, any other musician of his artistic stature would have…

Music Changing Lives

When Music Changes Lives

When Music Changes Lives

English + Español
n 2004, I got a surprising phone call from Santo Domingo on one cold winter night. I was then studying musical composition in Strasbourg, France, a great opportunity for a young Dominican…

Musical Slums

Musical Slums

The small bus was trudging up the almost vertical hill, swerving sharply to the left to let off the passengers. The street where I got off was littered with electric cords and big piles of…

Teatro del Lago

Teatro del Lago

Teatro del Lago in Frutillar in the south of Chile offers spectacular views of lakes and volcanoes. This natural setting has attracted international and Chilean artists, ranging from Yo Yo Ma to Gil…

Music for Social Change

Music for Social Change

When Danilo Pérez Urriola, a salsa singer in Panama, decided to study pedagogy in the 1960s, he faced a difficult challenge: a teaching internship in Colón, one of the poorest cities of the…

El Camino Project

El Camino Project

With the latest election campaign uproar about Mexican immigrants, the U.S. mainstream media may be paying attention to their political clout, but generally not to the contributions of Latinos to the civic culture of the Americas…

Nuestras Voces/Our Voices

Musical Identity

Musical Identity

English + Español
Frankly, I’m not used to talking about myself, and even less writing about myself. My way of expressing myself has been through musical notes, whether the buoyant Cuban clave rhythms…

A Magical Journey

A Magical Journey

I got my first guitar from a classmate in 1967 at age 17 in my last high school year at Liceo Vargas Calvo high school in San José, Costa Rica. I paid thirty colones (around five or six dollars) and…

Hips (and Numbers) Don’t Lie

Hips (and Numbers) Don’t Lie

The first time I remember singing was as a five-year-old on the way to the beach. Going to the beach is almost sacred—you have to go to the beach every Sunday when you live in a coastal…

A Musical Sancocho!

Notes on Mexican Rock

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

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

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

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

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

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…

Musical Transitions

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…

Embera Music

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

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…

Building Bridges

Bridges to Modern Medicine

Bridges to Modern Medicine

When you ask patients on the oncology ward at the University Hospital in Mirebalais, Haiti, to answer the question “What is cancer?” this is what they say: “Vreman, mwen pa konnen.” Honestly, I don’t know…

Book Talk

The Yaquis and the Empire

The Yaquis and the Empire

Winner of the 2015 Latin American Studies Association Social Science Book Award and runner-up for the 2015 David J. Weber-Clements Prize of the Western History Association, The Yaquis…