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Music is often times the most poignant expression of a culture.  It has the ability to encompass the history, the emotions, and the essence of a people in way that other many art forms struggle to do.

Latin Hip-Hop is an art form that has grown out of the fusion of several other styles and has gained extensive exposure in the world music scene.  While there are a variety of styles within this broad category, I’d like to focus on bands like Las Orishas and Yerba Buena due to the global proliferation of their particular style.  The style is primarily based in traditional Latin genres like Salsa and Meringue with ample usage of Afro-Cuban rhythms as well as brass instruments usually found in Jazz.  When mixed with modern Hip-Hop styles, Latin Hip-Hop has been able to attract a diverse global audience.

Las Orishas – El Kilo

Las Orishas is a European-based band, which has allowed them to introduce their Cuban style music to the European mainstream.  At the same time, they have not lost touch with their routes as their lyrics serve as social commentary on their country and people.  They embrace their African roots in a way that is discouraged by the Cuban establishment, which strives to make people colorless.  They speak to young Afro-Cubans, encouraging them to embrace their history, culture and differences.  Their music is reminiscent of early rap as it encourages thought and discourse regarding some of the serious problems facing Latin society like crime, kidnappings and corruption.  Through an artful blend of several genres, Latin Hip-Hop has evolved to a point of both mass global prominence and Cuban cultural relevance.  It pays tributes to its predecessors, while taking on a form of its own.

Justin Clouden

Las Orishas – Nací Orishas

Yerba Buena – Guajira

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