Academic journal article Reference & User Services Quarterly

Latin Music: Musicians, Genres, and Themes

Academic journal article Reference & User Services Quarterly

Latin Music: Musicians, Genres, and Themes

Article excerpt

Latin Music: Musicians, Genres, and Themes. Ed. by Ilan Stavans and Joshua Stavans. Santa Barbara, CA: Greenwood, 2014. 3 vols. Acid free $189 (ISBN 978-0-313-34395-7). E-book (978-0-313-34396-4) available, call for pricing.

Latin Music: Musicians, Genres, and Themes is a two-volume encyclopedic work edited by Ilan Stavans and Joshua Stavans that comprehensively covers the historical, traditional, cultural, and thematic topics of Latin music. With entries from nearly fifty contributors from Spain, Latin America, the Caribbean, and the United States and almost 1,000 pages of information in total, these two volumes took approximately eight years to complete. Through these expansive entries that are both highly informative and interesting, the editors and contributors also manage to highlight the beauty of Latin music and its impact over the course of the five centuries covered in this publication.

The topics covered in these volumes range from biographies of famous musicians such as Placido Domingo to the traditional Spanish dance the Flamenco. However, the editors also make an effort to provide information on less well-known figures and topics within Latin music history that nonetheless had an impact. Perhaps the most valuable aspect of this work that sets it apart from other publications is its coverage of ideas like societal countercultures or historical institutions, such as slavery, and how they have affected Latin music as a whole. It is reflections like this one on the topic of slavery from contributor Ruthie Meadows that take these volumes from being merely informational to academic: "In regions such as the Caribbean, northern South America, and Brazil, music and culture strongly reflect the fusion and syncretization that occurred within the context of European colonialism and African slavery" (735). …

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