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Latin Music and Its Fusions

Fusion: the process or result of joining two or more things together to form a single entity.

It was Herbie Hancock who said: “You make different colours by combining those colours that already exist”, and new musical genres, or fusions, are born in exactly the same way.

Distinctive elements from certain styles are combined with elements from other genres and when put together they create a new music genre, or “fusion”. When focussing solely on the Latin music genre, it is coincidental to discover that the initial development of this genre is an example of fusion within itself.  

“I haven't travelled in Africa nearly as much as I'd like to. I've been there a few times, and I'd like to learn more about the various cultures in Africa. But that's the basis point of where all of the music that I love is based upon, from Africa to Cuba to Puerto Rico to South America” – Chick Corea.

The Latin music genre, and its many sub-genres, originating from a wide variety of countries (including those mentioned by Corea), are a great example of this sort of elemental juxtaposition. “Salsa” is one such sub-genre, reportedly spawned from Afro-Caribbean and European music. The vibrant music and dance inherent to this genre was refined during the 1950s and 60s, when political instability resulted in mass migration from several South American and Caribbean nations to New York.

This era saw rapid development of a variety of different Latin music fusions, including the samba, tango, cumbia and of course the jazz genre as well – to name but a few. The Latin genre has also successfully been adapted to appeal to audiences of modern reggae, rock and pop.

Crooners such as Michel Buble keep the smooth Latin jazz ballads popular - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LAjfB0XfjkA - and when searching for a “world” flavour, bands will ‘sample’ Latin jazz standards, just like the Black Eyed Peas did when they sampled Antonio Carlos Jobim’s song “How Insensitive (Insensatez)”, for their song “Sexy”. This band has also collaborated with Sergio Mendes on the song “Mas Que Nada” - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vQ-NGNCRFmY.

Chick Corea, who was at the forefront of jazz fusion, stated, “You don't have to be Picasso or Rembrandt to create something. The fun of it, the joy of creating, is way high above anything else to do with the art form”.  

 Author: G. McDonald for Jamhouse Creative
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