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South American Music

South American music forms the heart of South American culture and traditions. Music in South America originated in the Andes. The present picture of South American music is colored by the natives of South America,
the Spanish and the Africans who came to South America as slaves. Music in South America has also had the influence of Roman Catholicism.

In South America music makes up the daily lives of the people. There is music for everything such as agricultural labor, building houses, funerals, marketing cattle, sheep and goats etc. There are also a number of traditional dances and traditional dance songs in South America. The region in and around Andes including the countries of Peru, Bolivia, Argentina and Chile have a diverse range of musical traditions. The traditional music of Andes is called Huayno which is popular for its use of pan flutes.

The lyrics are in Spanish and Quechua. The songs have various subjects like earth, seasons, harvest time, love, family, children, and stars. The instruments used in South American music are pan pipes, flutes, rattles, guitar, a native guitar-charango and the drum. The rhythms speak of the African influence on South American music. Valses (waltzes) though have a European origin have emerged in a unique manner in Peru. The famous Salsa music is again a cultural characteristic of Peru. Other popular South American dances and dance songs include Carmen Miranda, the Bossa Nova, and the Lambada.

Soca is a musical form prevalent in the Caribbean region. It is dance music with a one-two beat. Sung in English it is a mixture of soul and calypso. Tango form the most famous dance and song of Argentina. Immigration of people from Europe along with a cultural amalgamation gave rise to the Tango. Incorporating a particular language, customs and usage and a certain philosophy, Tango is much more than just music.

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