Bailes hispanamericanos

Hispanic Music Genres

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Hispanic-American music is as broad and rich as the culture it represents. Many musical genres make the culture of the vast Hispanic-American universe unique, some well known worldwide, others not so much.

The truth is that Hispanic-American musical genres are a mixture of influences that add flavor, joy, and feeling to life. The tumbao of the Latin Caribbean, the Spanish and Muslim influence, along with African and Andean rhythms, among other elements, have laid the foundations for Latin American musical diversity.

In this post, we will review some of the best-known musical genres of Hispanic American culture.


Reggaeton is one of the most popular Hispanic musical rhythms today. The genre is like the Latin version of hip-hop. However, although this genre is urban-like hip-hop, it mixes with the tropical due to its festive and danceable nature.

There is an eternal dispute between those who affirm that reggaeton is from Panama and others who say, Puerto Rico. However, the vast majority agree that reggaeton originated in Panama in the 1980s. At first, it was called Spanish Reggae due to its influence on Jamaican rhythm. One of the first exponents of reggaeton was El General, a Panamanian singer from the early 1990s.


Of course, salsa cannot be missing from this Hispanic musical genres list. Without a doubt, it is one of the best-known Latin social dances worldwide and danced to the rhythm of the music that has the same name.

There are many theories of the origin of the name Salsa. One of the best known refers that the world salsa as a musical and dance genre became popular in New York at the end of the 1960s. Salsa is the product of the mixture of too many Afro-Caribbean rhythms. Its foremost influence is the Cuban Son. But mambo, chachachá, guaracha, and rumba, among other rhythms, are also part of salsa.

Cuban Son

Cuban Son is practically the father of salsa. It is one of the most influential Cuban music and dance genres in the world. From the son was born the mambo and other Afro-Caribbean rhythms. In addition, thanks to the influence of Son, the bolero became a piece of danceable music.

The birth of the Cuban Son came from the fusion of African musical traditions of Bantu origin with Spanish musical traditions. Today the Son is present in salsa, musically and danceable. It is worth mentioning that, from Son, salsa inherited many of its steps and dance movements, the rhythm of the key among other elements.


Mambo is another Cuban musical genre and dance that gained popularity in various parts of the world. Its international boom occurred in the 40s and 50s, conquering Mexico, the United States, and some European countries.

According to comments, the word mambo means conversation with the gods in the Kilongo language, one of the many African languages ​​that arrived in Cuba. Some historians also claim that “Mambo” was the name of the priestess in some African traditions. This priestess helped people to enter into communion with the gods through the trance of dancing. Mambo dance from Cuba inherited this characteristic of trance and frenzy. Therefore, since it hit the tracks, mambo was a revolution in expression that became popular.

Cha Cha Cha

Another dance and musical genre from Cuba since 1950 is Cha Cha Cha. Its root is the danzon. It is a danceable rhythm, but with a slower than mambo. When the Cha Cha Cha came out, the dancers began to create new steps taking the mambo dance as a reference.

The name Cha Cha Cha refers to the steps of this dance. Describe the sound of the shoes when the dancers make the most distinctive steps Cha Cha Cha: 3 steps that danced in 2 beats. His popularity conquered the United States and much of Latin America. Today, like salsa and bachata, Cha Cha Cha is one of the many styles taught in dance academies.


Guaguanco originates from the Cuban rumba. It is the most popular style outside Cuba. It is a type of rumba with the fastest rhythm. In addition, guaguanco is considered a dance of seduction and sexual conquest. The man tries to seduce the lady with pelvic movements, and the woman resists and rejects her advances, but she also does her seduction dance more subtly.

Currently, the movements of guaguanco are present in the vast majority of Latin dances. The movement of the hips, pelvis, and shoulders, widely used in salsa and other dances, are inherited from guaguanco.

Other musical genres also enrich Hispanic American culture and which we will talk about in the second part of this post.

We also invite you to read our post: The Ancient Art of the Payada

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