Tuesday, September 11, 2007


Music is an essential part of any Latin culture. Costa Rica is no exception. On Monday we had the privilege of hearing Manuel Monestel, who is quite knowledgeable and talented in Afro-Caribbean music. We learned that the Afro-Caribbean culture and music was mainly influenced by the slaves and cheap laborers brought, at various historical intervals, to the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica. The distinction in music and development of different styles reflects the class system that emerged upon emancipation of the slaves, as well as assimiliation into the upper-class European ways. Manuel Monestel guided us in playing and singing traditional Afro-Caribbean music, before he shared some of his own. It was a pleasure enjoying his music and lyrics, in both English and Spanish.

While we didn't discuss other popular types of music here, many are present on a daily basis. In taxi rides we are accustomed to hearing some type of 80's music, while a live band in a bar usually plays popular Latin songs. Salsa, merengue, cumbia, and other traditional styles are also popular, but nothing outweighs reggatone. This style music equates to our hip-hop music, and naturally draws a younger crowd, especially on the club scene.

There is different music here for whatever mood you are in. Part of our experience here is experiencing all styles of music. We have heard some Afro-Caribbean live, traditional salsa (out and in our dance class), and reggatone. I look forward to learning all the dances that accompany many of these music styles, as dance is another prominent aspect in this culture.

-Kim Hultslander

No comments: