Professor Jairo Moreno Releases Book, "Sounding Latin Music, Hearing the Americas"

September 12, 2023
The cover of Sounding Latin Music is an art piece of five individuals playing instruments including the guitar, horns, drums, and piano.

How is Latin American music heard, by whom, and why?

Many in the United States believe Latin American musicians make “Latin music”—which carries with it a whole host of assumptions, definitions, and contradictions. In their own countries, these expatriate musicians might generate immense national pride or trigger suspicions of “national betrayals.” The making, sounding, and hearing of “Latin music” brings into being the complex array of concepts that constitute “Latin Americanism”—its fissures and paradoxes, but also its universal aspirations. Taking as its center musicians from or with declared roots in Latin America, Jairo Moreno presents us with an innovative analysis of how and why music emerges as a necessary but insufficient shorthand for defining and understanding Latin American, Latinx, and American experiences of modernity.
This close look at the growth of music-making by Latin American and Spanish-speaking musicians in the United States at the turn of the twenty-first century reveals diverging understandings of music’s social and political possibilities for participation and belonging. Through the stories of musicians—Rubén Blades, Shakira, Arturo O’Farrill and the Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra, and Miguel Zenón—Sounding Latin Music, Hearing the Americas traces how artists use music to produce worlds and senses of the world at the ever-transforming conjunction of Latin America and the United States.

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