Examines the early years (1920-1930) of Puerto Rican music in the United States.
This paper explores the origins of Puerto Rican music during the 1920s and 1930s. Puerto Rican music has its roots in many different types of Latino music, from the Tango to the jazz, blues and ragtime from New Orleans, Mexican, Caribbean, and Cuban rhythms, and it, in turn, helped influence many of these musical types, too. The paper shows that the early years of Puerto Rican music in the United States created a lasting Latino beat that still weaves its rhythms today around the world.
“By the 1930s, Latin music had become so popular it was replacing other types of music in East Harlem and El Barrio in New York City, and Puerto Rican dance clubs were springing up where Jewish theaters had captured audiences just a few years before. Because Puerto Ricans were migrating to New York in record numbers at the turn of the 20th century, they needed creative and artistic avenues, and hungered for familiar music during their leisure time. As Latin music grew more popular, so did the number of Puerto Ricans entering New York, and the two seemed to merge and blend into their own form of entertainment. Little by little, the Puerto Ricans came to dominate the New York music scene, overshadowing even the popular Cuban music that had become so popular with Latinos and Americans alike.”