Academic journal article American Studies

OYE COMO VA! Hybridity and Identity in Latino Popular Music

Academic journal article American Studies

OYE COMO VA! Hybridity and Identity in Latino Popular Music

Article excerpt

OYE COMO VA! Hybridity and Identity in Latino Popular Music. By Deborah Pacini Hernandez. Philadelphia: Temple University Press. 2010.

To take on the task of explicating or analyzing Latin popular music presents a difficult endeavor; with the hybrid nature of the Latin music and US adaptations and appropriations, one could easily get lost in the array of musical styles, genres, artists, and record labels. Yet, in her book Oye Como Va: Hybridity and Identity in Latino Popular Music, Deborah Pacini Hernandez provides an organized, concise, and informative overview of Latin popular music, specifically in regards to the recording industry's relationship to Latina/o musicians and audience in the United States.

At the beginning of the text, Hernandez catalogues theoretical perspectives that have been used to explain the mixture and authenticity of Latino musical performance and frames problems as well as the usefulness of concepts such as hybridity and mestizaje in reference to Latino popular music. She then presents a history of the economics of Latino music and the ways in which the music has been marketed and sold. Hernandez also discusses Latino participation in rock 'n' roll and focuses particularly on differences between West Coast Mexican American and East Coast Puerto Rican preference for performing rock music. Hernandez later shifts to expressions by Latinos that were not necessarily based on Latino roots music such as disco, rap, house, freestyle, merengue, and reggaeton. With her explication of artists from these genres, she does effective work in illustrating how Latino musicians in the late 20th century formed cross-cultural expressions through musical expression. …

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