Tuesday, 8 April, 2014 - 19:07

OK, I confess: I like reggaeton music

by IainG

Many months in Latin America have taught me that this confession may bring shame upon my family. Nevertheless, it has been too long I can no longer hold it in: I like reggaeton music.

Reggaeton is not a genre of music that is particularly well known, outside of the Americas. Unless you happen to have some connection to Latin American culture, most people are unlikely to have heard of this music, most often described as a fusion of other styles including Jamaican dancehall, Latin American salsa, electronica and hip-hop music.

The lyrics are a mixture of singing and rap, usually in Spanish though sometimes also in Portuguese, and often with a little English. While having certainly originated in Latin America, unlike almost all other styles of music, nobody really knows where the genre was born. Some have suggested that its origins are in Panamá but, with no clear idea of its origins, people describe reggaeton as the first 'transnational' music in existence. Regardless of its origins, a large number of reggaeton artists are from Puerto Rico, including one of the most famous, Daddy Yankee.

Reggaeton must be a very popular style of music. The most successful artists such as Don Omar and Tito El Bambino are exceptionally rich, famous and, by all accounts, very successful. In some cases artists have also become well known internationally after releasing singles with English-speaking artists.

In spite of this success, here in Colombia I really do find it very difficult to find any reggaeton fans. Every time I mention to friends and colleagues that I like to listen to Wisin and Yandel, or a bit of J Balvin, their jaws drop to the ground as they start to question whether or not they wish to continue their friendship with me. 

OK, so perhaps I am exaggerating a little but it is hard to meet any fellow reggaeton fans. I hear the music everywhere I go: in clubs, in taxis, on buses and in plenty of shops. But ask anyone if they like it, and they reply with a very flat 'no', and I cannot seem to find any real reason for this.

Reggaeton is everywhere in Colombia and it must, therefore, be very popular. Its fans, however, are nowhere to be seen. They must logically exist: are they just too afraid to admit that they like it?

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Do you like reggaeton music? What other styles of music do you like?

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