I am addressing the New Amsterdam Musical Association in Harlem, New York City, the largest African-American musical association in the U.S. on African history in Latin Music.
Years ago, I was coming home from work on the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) train from San Francisco where I worked headed to Oakland where I lived. On the train, I ran into a black friend from Cuba. A couple of stops later, a friend (black) from Colombia, South America joined us. Because his English was limited, the three of us switched our communication to Spanish, and it became evident that the rapport between the three of us was quite strong.
Kimba Kúa dancers of Paraguay, South America
Yet, despite our black skins, brown eyes, and wide noses, we still saw each other as foreigners. It never occurred to any of us that there could have been the possibility of our having the same ancestors from the same village in Western Africa as family members and fellow villagers that were broken up during that notorious slave trade, and scattered throughout the Americas.
Singer Pépe Vasquez of Perú
Afro-Venezuelan dancing to tambo music at a festival
The legacy of black music took various forms all over Latin America depending upon the nation, and the various regions in those nations. This is just a short list:
Argentina: the tango
Bolivia: saya music
Colombia: champeta, cumbia, and vallenato
Costa Rica: calypso and reggae
Cuba: rumba, son-montuno, changui, songo, and timba
Dominican Republic: bachata and merengue
Ecuador: bomba and marimba
Honduras: punta rock
Panama:calypso, congo, cumbia, reggaetón, and tamborito,
Perú: festejo, landó, and zamacuenca
Puerto Rico: bomba and plena