Salsa Consciente: Politics, Poetics, and Latinidad in the Meta-Barrio

On today’s episode, we’re joined by Andrés Espinoza Agurrrto to discuss his book Salsa Consciente: Politics, Poetics, and Latinidad in the Meta-Barrio.

Andrés Espinoza Agurrrrto’s new book, Salsa Consciente: Politics, Poetics, and Latinidad in the Meta-Barrio, explores the Salsa consciente movement, a Latino movement of music, poetry, and political discourse that exploded in the 1970s. Largely linked to the development of Nuyo latino popular music, Salsa consciente was brought about, in part, by the mass Latino migration to New York City beginning in the 1950s and the subsequent social movements that were tied to the shifting political landscapes. Defined by its lyrical content, its unique sound, and the political and social issues facing U.S. Latinos and Latin Americans, Salsa consciente evokes the overarching cultural-nationalist idea of Latinidad (Latin-ness). Analysis of over 120 different salsa songs spanning sixty years, the book draws on lyrical and musical perspectives to argue that the urban Latino identity expressed in Salsa consciente was constructed largely from diasporic, de territorialized, and at times imagined cultural memory. From this perspective, Latino / Latin American identity is in part based on African and Indigenous experience, especially as it relates to Spanish colonialism. A unique study of the intersection of Salsa and Latino and Latin American identity, Salsa consciente appeals to scholars of ethnic studies and fans of salsa music alike.

ANDRÉS ESPINOZA AGURTO serves as assistant professor in the Department of Music at Florida Atlantic University. He studied Afro-Cuban percussion at the Escuela Nacional de Arte (Cuba), graduated summa cum laude from Berklee College of Music with a degree in jazz composition, and holds an MA in music from the University of York (England). He received his PhD in musicology and ethnomusicology from Boston University. He is also a composer, musical director, and percussionist for his own group, Ayé, an also a consecrated drummer in the lineage of Añá Ilu Kan and is currently conducting research on the lineage, performance practice, and aesthetics of Afro-Cuban batá drummers and drumming. He is an active participant in the Percussive Arts Society where he serves as the cochair of the World Percussion Committee.

Andrés Espinoza Agurto’s Salsa Consciente: Politics , Poetics, and Latinidad in the Meta-Barrio is available at msupress.org and other fine booksellers. You can find Andres online at aespinozaphd.com. You can connect with the press on Facebook and @msupress on Twitter, where you can also find me @kurtmilb.

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