Monday, April 13, 2009

Duany's "Popular Music in Puerto Rico: Toward an Anthropology of Salsa"

In his article, Duany traces not only the musical history of salsa music but also the anthropological one. He discusses that, due to the various interracial relationships in Puerto Rico that began centuries ago, Puerto Rico, like many other islands in that area, experienced a great amount of transculturation that brought about new features and traditions of the culture, including salsa. Though salsa may be a distinctly Puerto Rican form of song and dance, its roots are in such cultures as Spanish (the seis) and African (the bomba). From this reading, it seems that salsa especially thrived because Puerto Ricans living in New York used it as a form of identification with their heritage, even though it was not necessarily something their ancestors did--a phenomenon also witnessed in the study of bhangra and several other genres of music.

Discussion Question: Why do you think there seems to be a phenomenon in which people (especially those part of a diaspora) seem to relate a music to their heritage even when that music is relatively modern or not necessarily a product of their original culture (that of the "home country")?

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