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Latin Music

Latin Music is a genre of music that refers to any form of music that comes from a Spanish or Portuguese speaking country or music that is sung in those languages. In the US, Latin music is categorized as any song sung in mostly Spanish or Portuguese regardless of the artist’s nationality or where the song is from. The largest Latin music markets in the world include Spain, Brazil, Mexico, and the United States. The Billboard Latin Music Awards began in 1990 as the conclusion of a weeklong Latin Music Conference. It has been held annually ever since. The Latin Grammy Awards were established in 2000 by the Latin Recording Academy to recognize artists who record and perform in Spanish and Portuguese.


In the 1940s, Latin music saw its first generation of popularity in the United States. There was a growing impact of Latin music in the American market. This was due to the fact that Latin America had mostly not been affected by World War II. Americans would listen and watch Latin music and film as an escape from the ongoing war. This is also when the term “Latin music” first became mainstream. In the 1960s, Brazilian bossa nova became very prominent in Latin America. “Bossa nova” literally translates to “new trend”, as the genre was a new fusion of samba and jazz. It was during this decade when Mexican-American guitarist, Carlos Santana, emerged as one of the most popular musicians for years to come. Then in the 1970s, salsa music rose to popularity. Salsa music was so successful due to Fania Records and the acts the record label signed to expand the audience.


Beginning in the 1980s, the main form of Latin pop music was the Latin ballad. Latin ballad music derived from Bolero, which is a slow-tempo Latin style genre of music. The Latin ballad became popular with names like Juan Gabriel, Julio Iglesias, and Roberto Carlos. The popularity of this genre continued in the ‘90s. Latin pop also found itself in the mainstream with names like Ricky Martin, Shakira, and Enrique Iglesias (Julio Iglesias’s son). Into the new millennium, reggaetón was the new Latin music trend. Reggaetón was a fusion of hip hop, Latin America, and Caribbean music that originated in the 1990s in Puerto Rico. Pioneers of the genre included acts such as Daddy Yankee, Don Omar, and Wisin & Yandel. In this most recent decade, Latin trap has become the most popular subgenre of Latin music. Latin trap takes elements of reggaetón and American trap music and usually involves rapping and/or singing in Spanish. Popular Latin trap artists included Ozuna, Bad Bunny, and Noriel.


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