5 Latin American Music Types You Need to Know

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


From the cumbia of Colombia to the mariachi of Mexico, get to know 5 different Latin American music genres that are sure to get you moving.


Salsa is a popular form of dance music that originated in Cuba in the early 1900s. It is a combination of Cuban son and Afro-Cuban rhythms with elements of Jazz and Latin American popular music. The style of salsa dancing varies depending on the region, but it often features fast-paced footwork and turns.


Merengue is a type of music and dance that originated in the Dominican Republic. It is simplicity itself: two instruments, tambora (a type of drum) and güira (scraper), provide the beat while dancers move their hips in a simple side-to-side motion.

The music is fast and lively, and often features horns and piano as well. The lyrics are usually about love, dancing, or having a good time. Merengue is very popular in the Dominican Republic, where it is played at weddings, birthday parties, and other celebrations. It is also popular in Puerto Rico, Cuba, and other parts of Latin America.


Bachata is a type of music that originated in the Dominican Republic. It is a mix of Afro-Cuban and Spanish rhythms and usually features acoustic guitar, percussion, and bass. The lyrics are often about love, heartbreak, and relationships. Bachata is popular in Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as in Latino communities in the United States.


Cumbia is a type of Latin American music that has its roots in Colombia. It’s a mix of African and indigenous sounds, and it’s known for its traditional, folksy feel. Cumbia is popular all over Latin America, and it’s often played at festivals and parties.


Reggaeton is a musical genre that originated in Puerto Rico in the late 1990s. It is a fusion of reggae, hip hop, and Latin American music. The lyrics are typically sung in Spanish, although some artists do sing in English. The style is characterized by rap-like verses spoken over a catchy music beat.

Reggaeton became popular in the early 2000s, and it has since spread to other parts of Latin America and the Caribbean. Some of the most popular reggaeton artists include Daddy Yankee, Wisin & Yandel, and Don Omar.

Similar Posts