Essay about Puerto Rican Music and Its Significance

Essay about Puerto Rican Music and Its Significance

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Puerto Rican Music and Its Significance


Although the policies of Americanization and degradation of Puerto Rican culture heritage improved by the United States in Puerto Rico during the early decades of the twentieth century, the utmost concern for the United States was the strategic location of the island for political and economic advantages, not of the people who inhabited it. Puerto Rico, though a poor colony, was a rich cultural spot in an area of dynamic cultural influence of the Caribbean. One aspect of the Puerto Rican culture that was greatly influenced by its location in the Caribbean and by its repossession by the United States is music. Music permeated the daily life of Puerto Ricans (Waxer, Oct. 29). Music was the means of bring Puerto Rican culture to the Diaspora, of establishing social relationships and uniting classes and of understanding and expressing the Puerto Rican history and identity.

Music reflected the political, social, and cultural changes that occurred on the island (Glasser, 1995). As the island became inhabited by other populations and as the Puerto Ricans moved from coast to inland to coast, they took their music with them, adapting and creating as part of their own, the influences of those encountered in their journey and experiences. The three traditional forms of Puerto Rican music created from these experiences are the bomba, the plena, and the danza. The bomba began as a synthesis of musical forms by migrant workers and slaves; slave music which developed on the sugar plantations in the nineteenth century. This music was played on barrels and drums, for which it is named. The use of drums, a great African influence, was often looked upon suspiciously though, by the Spanish. ...


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...". From Negrón-Muntaner and Grosfoguel (Eds.), Puerto Rican Jam: Essays on Culture and Politics. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 257-285.

Rivera, Angel, Q. "Music, Social Classes, and the National Question in Puerto Rico". In Glasser.

Scarano, Francisco. "Sugar and Slavery in Puerto Rico, 1815-1849: An Overview," from Scarano, 1984, Sugar and Slavery in Puerto Rico: The Plantation Economy of Ponce, 1800-1850. Madison: U of Wisconsin Press. pp.3-34

Trías-Monge, J. (1997). "The Shaping of a Colonial Policy". From Trías-Monge, Puerto Rico: the Trials of the Oldest Colony of the World. New Haven: Yale University Press, 36-51.

Walker, Rich. (1998). A Multicultural Alternative to Language and Nationalism. Http://frontpage.trincoll.edu/rwalker.

Waxer, Lise. (October 29, 1998). Puerto Rican Music Between Rafael Hernandez and Rafael Cortijo.

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