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THE MUSIC OF LATIN AMERICA

The contemporary form of Latin American traditional music is the result of a fusion of three cultures: pre-Columbian, African and European. Since the discovery of America in 1492, these three great civilizations ceaselessly contributed to the «new world» all the wealth of their different musical languages.

This tradition is a result of a centuries long process of cross-continental fusion; thus we meet in the region of the Andes the autochthonous pre-Hispanic melodies harmonized in the style of the Spanish XVIth century and vice versa: European airs of the Renaissance, interpreted in the style of native traditional music.

In other regions, the baroque spirit of the XVIIth and XVIIIth centuries is still present; there, the musicians meet to improvise, with penetrating voices, beautiful melodies that they accompany with ancient guitars, brought centuries ago by the Spaniards. In perfect synchronization with subtle percussion, they happily weave counterpoints that colour the tropical nights of the Colombo-Venezuelan plains or of the Mexican Huasteca with a rain of stars.

The XIXth century was the century of independence. The bourgeoisie of the new republics were devoted to the European waltz and to all the fashionable dances of the luxurious salons of the old continent; but the people, already consolidated by four centuries of cultural interbreeding, knew how to appropriate this wave by creating their own waltzes, polkas and marches.

New genres appeared in which the old rhythms and melodies that emerged from the three cultures found new expression through the imported European genres. All this generated a vast cultural movement, producing excellent instrumentalists and composers such as Jacob do Bandolin and Pixinguinha in Brazil, Pedro Morales Pino and Carlos Vieco in Colombia, Heraclio Fernandez and Emilio Sojo in Venezuela, etc. This movement lasted until the first half of the XXth century.

Nowadays, we can observe its revival in numerous Latin American countries. This continent shows us that the creative fusion of musical tradition is omnipresent, always alive and in constant evolution.