Powerful pic of Residente Calle 13 in the NYT coverage of the Latin American Music Conference, which took place in NY last week. Pretty much agreeing with Remezcla’s take on the paper of record’s piece; an example:
At its best Latin alternative music is a hybrid and a harbinger, devising and flaunting multicultural possibilities as the Latino and bilingual population grows in the United States.
Okay, I actually like that. BUT…
At its worst it’s American and British pop in translation, a reminder that economic power assists cultural dominance.
…that’s pretty much bullshit of the worst possible white-guilt, exoticizing, paternalistic, condescending kind. Yes: economic power assists cultural dominance, but cultural sharing is inevitable and should be encouraged. Unless the author is also under the impression that lilly white strains of music, too, should be kept free of influences from others, which, taken to its logical conclusion, would mean that there would be no American or British pop at all, what with Americans and Brits biting off of each other forever, while each cribbed heavily from the brown folks they subjugated.
To deny that Latin American musicians can have a legitimate interest in English language music – free from any nefarious imperialistic brainwashing – and be influenced by it is to deny that Latin Americans are people with their own tastes and their own thoughts, as capable as anyone else of drawing from other cultures without denying their own. Mexican kids like Morrissey because Morrissey is awesome, not because they’ve been deceived; they’re as allowed not to like rancheros, despite being Mexican, as white American kids are to not like banjos, despite being white and American.
In many ways the whole point of the LAMC is that the definition of “Latin music” is wider than it’s often given credit for. To not like American and British pop is one thing; to claim that a Latin artist influenced by it must be so because their innate Latin-ness is being pushed out by imperialism is unfair.
The NYT also has a photo gallery of the LAMC. Nice to see Kinky representin’ the hometown, with a Gabbanelli no less. Oh and 3BallMTY RULES.