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Cumbia in Mexican Culture Essay

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Cumbia serves as a unifier of Mexican people, especially families, and serves as a sociocultural outlet for celebration and upholds cultural traditions. A main theme of Mexican culture is togetherness of the family, and many celebrations create a community and place for family involvement. Celebrating together creates and maintains bonds and is an outlet for expression sharing commonalities such as cultural thoughts and ideas. Solidifying a connection in the community with people that listen to cumbia strengthens the culture and forms unity. Mexican cumbia is a significant aspect of Mexican identity and produces a gateway environment for embracing heritage and reflects a highly family and community oriented culture.
Cumbia originated in the coastal region of Colombia in the early 1800’s. There were three predominant cultures in Colombia at that time: the indigenous peoples, the Spaniards, and the African slaves. The cumbia began with the essential instrumentation of the tambor drums and the gaita flutes, which derive from both indigenous and Congo-based African roots. The genre was entertainment for the slaves, beginning as a courtship dance. It later became an outlet for national resistance and protest as Colombia was contesting for its independence. The music was able to diffuse throughout the nation, spreading from the coast, primarily for the reason that many African populations were scattered in various regions. Barranquilla, a port city in Colombia, was the core of where the music became established and played for the masses, and where instruments such as horns and bass began to be incorporated into cumbia, giving it a more Latin feel. As cumbia evolved and spread to Mexico around the 1930’s, it changed from the influence o...


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...n the Twentieth Century. College Station, TX: Texas A&M Univ., 2002. Print.
Morales, Ed. The Latin Beat: The Rhythms and Roots of Latin Music from Bossa Nova to Salsa and Beyond. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Da Capo, 2003. Print.
Peña, Manuel H. "Ritual Structure in a Chicano Dance." University of Texas Press: Latin American Music Review Spring- Summer 1980 1.1 (1980): 47-73. Print.
Ragland, Cathy. "Mexican Deejays and the Transnational Space of Youth Dances in New York and New Jersey." University of Illinois Press: Ethnomusicology. Autumn 2003 47.3 (2003): 338-53. Print.
Ragland, Cathy. Música Norteña: Mexican Migrants Creating a Nation between Nations. Philadelphia, PA: Temple UP, 2009. Print.
Wisner, Heather. “With a Hop, A Kick, And A Turn, Cumbia Enters the Global Stage.” Dance Magazine 80.9 (2006): 64-68. Humanities Abstracts (H.W. Wilson). Web. 7 Dec. 2011


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