After a surge in popularity in the 1940s, their popularity continues to grow. During the Second World, Latin music was a favored choice for songs and films, because it allowed listeners to escape the stresses of war. Rising to prominence in the seventies, Latin music ruled the waves with salsa music that is still very popular today. Latin ballads took over the charts during the eighties, with acts such as: Juan Gabriel and Jose José. With the more recent introduction of electronic sounds, its’ influence continues to grow.
Rooted in traditional South American music, Latin music has also been influenced by African and American music. There are many styles including salsa, rumba, tango meringue and bachata, Within each style, there may also be a variety of genres including jazz, Latin-pop and hip-hop.
Drums and percussion instruments feature heavily throughout Latin music, pieces often include a lead drummer. String instruments, particularly the guitar make a strong contribution to Latin music. The piano and wind instruments such as a flute are played widely across all the genres.
All Latin music includes a clave- a basic rhythm. Complexity is added with two rhythmic patterns: the son clave, alternating patterns of threes and twos, and the tresillo, three notes, evenly spaced across two beats. These foundations are added to in different ways to form each genre. The rhythmic nature of Latin music makes it perfect for dancing and its’ popularity exists today, not just as a form of music but also as a favored style of dancing across the world.
One of the most popular styles of Latin music, for both music and dancing all over the world is salsa. A mixture of a range of Latin genres, including the: cha cha cha, mambo and guaracha, its’ infectious beat make it perfect for dancing. Featuring a tempo that builds during the chorus, verses, which have interesting melodies and rhythms, are often followed by a call and response.