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2.17.2005

 

Music for a shrinking globo

Sure, globalization sucks, but one consolation prize is a flood of new music from Latin America and Latin Americans living abroad.

Back in the 90s, they used to throw Latin discs (or discs from Africa, Europe and Asia, for that matter) into a bin labeled "World Music." I found the term offensive, because it was seemed to presume that everything produced in the English-speaking world was "music", with many subtle shades and genres, and that everything outside belonged in some monolithic category that wasn't worthy of further categorization.

Today, the World Music label actually works. A new genre of music has emerged from Latin America (as well as every other corner of the globe) and what defines this genre is it's wanton disregard for genres. These new tunes, from the likes of Orishas, Ozomatli, Los Amigos Invisibles, Kinky, Gotan Project, Manu Chao (and there are tons more, believe me) simply defy neat cultural categorization. Is it salsa? Disco? Hip-hop? Tango? Are they singing in Spanish? English? French? Provencal?

Aw, who cares. In the end, it's just incredible, fun, adventurous music. Ready to try something new? Here are some good places to start:

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