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Nostalgique Puerto Rico: plenas, guarachas, boleros & jibaras songs 1940-1960


Birthplace of many traditional rhythms, most famously the danza, the bomba and the plena, a unique blend of Africa, Spain and the Caribbean, Puerto Rico has played a major role in the emergence of contemporary salsa — notably by giving New York, through emigration, a large share of the artists and the public who gave shape to this new form of urban music. But if salsa was really born in the North American megalopolis at the end of the 1960s, it is rooted in the movement of musical syncretism that, in the Caribbean islands in general and in Puerto Rico in particular, has over the centuries led to the birth of popular mixed music, mostly for dancing.

It is this synthesis of musical genres, united by close ties of kinship, as well as the permanent creative dialogue that began at the beginning of the twentieth century between Puerto Rico and New York, that is the focus of the present collection. At the turn of the 1940s, Puerto Rican folk music was fed by its Afro-European origins, the strong Cuban influence and the culture discovered in the United States by the diaspora of this island once populated by Tainos