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  • Chris Anderson

Music Revision - World Music - Music From The Americas

Continuing our look at world music…Music from the Americas encompasses a wide range of musical traditions and styles from North, Central, and South America. These diverse regions have produced a rich tapestry of music that reflects the cultural, historical, and ethnic diversity of the Americas.

North America:

  • Country and Western:

    • Country music is deeply rooted in the rural areas of the Southern United States. It often features storytelling through lyrics and instruments like acoustic guitars and fiddles.

    • Western music, on the other hand, is closely associated with cowboy culture and often tells stories of the American West. It includes elements of folk and country.

  • Jazz:

    • Jazz is a genre that emerged in the early 20th century, primarily in New Orleans. It is characterised by improvisation, syncopation, and a wide range of instrumentation, including trumpets, saxophones, and pianos.

  • Rock and Roll:

    • Rock and roll is a genre that evolved from a combination of rhythm and blues, country music, and gospel. It's known for its energetic and often rebellious spirit. Early rock and roll artists include Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry, and Little Richard.

Central America:

  • Cumbia:

    • Cumbia originated in Colombia but has spread throughout Latin America. It's characterised by a distinctive rhythm and is often played with instruments like accordions and drums. Cumbia has various regional variations.

  • Mariachi:

    • Mariachi music is a traditional Mexican genre featuring a mariachi band, which typically includes trumpets, violins, and various string instruments. It's often associated with celebrations and festivals.


  • Reggae:

    • Reggae music, associated with Jamaica, is known for its relaxed, offbeat rhythm, socially conscious lyrics, and themes of love, peace, and unity. Bob Marley is perhaps the most famous reggae artist.

  • Salsa:

    • Salsa is a lively and rhythmic genre with Cuban and Puerto Rican roots. It incorporates a variety of instruments, including percussion, brass, and piano, and is popular for dance.

  • Calypso:

    • Calypso music, originating in Trinidad and Tobago, is known for its storytelling through song. It often features witty and humorous lyrics and is an integral part of Carnival celebrations.

South America:

  • Samba:

    • Samba music and dance are deeply associated with Brazil, especially during Carnival. It's characterised by fast, syncopated rhythms and lively percussion instruments.

  • Tango:

    • Tango, originating in Argentina and Uruguay, is known for its passionate and dramatic dance. It typically features a bandoneón (a type of accordion) and is often associated with melancholic themes.

  • Andean Music:

    • Andean music, common in countries like Peru and Bolivia, incorporates traditional instruments like the pan flute, charango (a small stringed instrument), and drums. It reflects the indigenous culture of the Andes.

  • The music of Native American tribes varies widely, with each tribe having its own unique instruments, vocal styles, and purposes for music. Drums, flutes, and rattles are commonly used, and music plays an essential role in ceremonies and storytelling.

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