- Carolina Robertson
- and Gerard Béhague
Term applied to those areas of Central and South America where Spanish, Portuguese and French are spoken. The countries constituting Latin America and the Caribbean present cultural and musical traits mainly derived from their tri-ethnic cultural heritage. The expression of that heritage, however, is not homogeneous in the various countries and regions, but is dependent on various factors, such as the ethno-history of a specific country and the dynamics of its cultural history in contemporary times. Thus, in a number of cases, one strain of that heritage has predominated over the other two. In fact, many parts of what is called Latin America are virtually devoid of any Latin cultural elements. Until recently, some lowland Amerindian cultures, for example, and some Amerindian groups of the Andean highlands and Central America had remained relatively untouched by European or mestizo traditions. In other cases the prevailing cultural influences have been more sub-Saharan African than European. Thus the study of folk and traditional music in individual countries or territories is bound to be somewhat artificial, although there are common cultural traits in very large geographical areas and among ethnic groups with similar historical developments....