Latin Music
Musicians, Genres, and Themes
by Ilan Stavans, Editor-in-Chief Joshua Stavans, Project Manager
July 2014, 923pp, 7x10
2 volumes, Greenwood

Hardcover: 978-0-313-34395-7
$198, £153, 173€, A272
eBook Available: 978-0-313-34396-4
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

Defining what constitutes “Latin music” is more complicated than it would seem.

This definitive two-volume encyclopedia of Latin music spans 5 centuries and 25 countries, showcasing musicians from Celia Cruz to Plácido Domingo and describing dozens of rhythms and essential themes.

Eight years in the making, Latin Music: Musicians, Genres, and Themes is the definitive work on the topic, providing an unparalleled resource for students and scholars of music, Latino culture, Hispanic civilization, popular culture, and Latin American countries. Comprising work from nearly 50 contributors from Spain, Latin America, the Caribbean, and the United States, this two-volume work showcases how Latin music—regardless of its specific form or cultural origins—is the passionate expression of a people in constant dialogue with the world.

The entries in this expansive encyclopedia range over topics as diverse as musical instruments, record cover art, festivals and celebrations, the institution of slavery, feminism, and patriotism. The music, traditions, and history of more than two dozen countries—such as Argentina, Brazil, Costa Rica, Cuba, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Spain, and Venezuela—are detailed, allowing readers to see past common stereotypes and appreciate the many different forms of this broadly defined art form.


  • Covers nearly every conceivable aspect of Latin music across almost 1,000 pages of insightful, authoritative information
  • Makes clear to readers how diverse and varied "Latin music" is in its integration of influences as unexpected as the Arab world and Russia, and results from European and aboriginal cultures intermingling throughout history
  • Examines why the United States in general continues to be the epicenter of Latin music and how cities such as New York and Los Angeles influence modern Latin music
Ilan Stavans, PhD, is Lewis-Sebring Professor in Latin American and Latino culture at Amherst College. A preeminent essayist, cultural critic, and translator, His books include The Hispanic Condition: Reflections on Culture and Identity in America, On Borrowed Words: A Memoir of Language, Spanglish: The Making of a New American Language, and Love and Language. He is the editor of The Oxford Book of Jewish Stories, The Poetry of Pablo Neruda, the three-volume set, Isaac Bashevis Singer: An Album, Becoming Americans: Four Centuries of Immigrant Writing, and The Norton Anthology of Latino Literature. Stavans received his doctorate in Latin American literature from Columbia University.


"Editor Stavans has taken on an extraordinarily ambitious undertaking, seeking not only to describe centuries of styles, rhythms, and musicians but to cover larger thematic issues as well as events, cultural ideologies, and aesthetic trends. In two volumes of just over 900 pages, Stavans’ 63 contributors make a solid effort to fulfill this promise. . . . The 62-page index provides an almost overwhelming wealth of access points to the 238 entries. . . . This focus on musicians as well as the broader coverage of genres (opera, jazz, and even punk), and the more comprehensive coverage of Latin music in general, distinguish this tome from the Encyclopedia of Latin American Popular Music (2013). . . . Latin Music: Musicians, Genres, and Themes is a comprehensive resource that provides several paths for entrance into this subject. Recommended for large public libraries and academic libraries, particularly those where there is high interest in Latin American music."—Booklist, December 1, 2014

"Scholars of music of Latin origin will be delighted with this gem in public and academic libraries where it will be used and treasured."—ARBAonline, December 1, 2014
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