History of Latino-Caribbean Music

- From 1860 to 1900, the Louisiana-born composer Louis Gottschalk created Latin-influenced music that immediately became popular in America. New York’s El Barrio, which was a community mostly of Puerto Rican decent, was also well-established in New York at this time.

- In the 1930’s and the 1940’s, Vincent López helped to introduce Latin and jazz fusion into the music halls and the samba, paso doble, rumba, mambo and conga all became popular with dancers.

- In the 1950's, the Cha-cha-cha was made popular by Perez Prado and the Afro-Cuban jazz of Dizzy Gillespie became very popular as well.

- By the 1960’s, there was much Cuban-influenced Latin pop and jazz due to the Cuban emigrants. Plena and bomba elements were more prominent in Latin music. The Caribbean-influenced music of Ray Barretto, Eddie Palmieri, Celia Cruz, and Larry Harlow was widely distributed with the help of Fania Records, a Latino-owned recording company in New York.

- In the 1970’s, salsa became the popular name for New York-based Latino music. Next came Latino Rock, and artist like Santana gained worldwide and lasting popularity. Other artists, too, such as Latin funk band War.

- By the 1980’s, Dominican merengue had become the newest craze. “Salsa Romantica” emerged emphasizing romantic lyrics with an upbeat salsa tune. It was especially popular among females, and handsome young lead singers took advantage.

- The 1990’s brought the more traditional salsa music to worldwide popularity. Mark Anthony and La India returned to Latin music with influence from new Cuban sounds and rock and rap. Other well known groups that formed during this time period are the Latin hip hop/rock music group Ozomatli and the Mexican rock and hip hop band Molotov.

- In the 2000's, reggaeton made its debut in the United States where it has become quite popular. Many of the lyrics in reggaeton deal with socio-economic issues and topics of gender and race in contemporary America.

Dizzy Gillespie playing some Afro-Cuban Jazz