Compare/Contrast – Latin American Music

The Latin American musical genres have many similarities. Brazil’s “samba,” Uruguay’s “candombe,” Ecuador’s “pasillo,” and Bolivia’s “diablada” all have homes in the carnival scene and historical significance. Additionally, each are icons of their respective nation’s cultural identity.

The Brazilian Carnival heavily features the  “samba,” and, in Uruguay, the largest display of the “candombe” occurs during the annual Carnival. Ecuadorian Carnivals, including the Carnaval de la Vida, feature performances of the “pasillo.” The city of Oruro in Bolivia, where the “diablada” originated, is famous for the Carnaval de Oruro. Because of this huge event, Oruro is called the Folklore Capital of Bolivia.

The Latin American countries’ musical forms have rich histories. Former slaves invented the Brazilian “samba.” This story holds true for Urugay. Slaves were brought into Uruguay during the country’s early colonization period, and they found a way to express themselves through drumbeats, leading to the emergence of the “candombe.” The “pasillo “originated from the Viennese waltz and became associated with Ecuadorian nationalism. Like the “pasillo,” Bolivia’s “diablada” incorporates nationalism by blending traditional Andean religious ceremonies with religious theater brought from Spain.

The “samba” is a cornerstone of Brazilian culture, with historical traditions including food, dance, clothing, and art. The “candombe” too is now a staple of Uruguayan culture, with “candombe” drum groups still playing in the streets of the capital. The “pasillo” became a cultural icon and an international sensation with Julio Jaramillo’s rise to fame. Similarly, the Brazilian “diablada” is considered a lifestyle, with a dance all its own.

On the other hand, the Latin American countries’ music genres also have their differences. A major difference is in their evolution. Brazil’s “samba” led to the emergence of “bossa nova,” a genre with origins in samba but influenced by impressionist music and jazz. “Candombe” has also blossomed into modern genres, particularly “candombe beat.” The Ecuadorian “pasillo” shifted from a festive tone to a gentler, melancholic genre in the beginning of the 20th century. However, in contrast, the “diablada” has stayed pretty true to its origins.


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