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How does a genre of music seem to appear suddenly, grow and develop, and be taken seriously by listeners, businesses, and scholars alike? Rivera (Ctr. for Puerto Rican Studies, Hunter Coll.; New York Ricans from the Hip Hop Zone), Wayne Marshall (Florence Levy Kay Fellow, ethnomusicology, Brandeis Univ.), and Deborah Pacini Hernandez (anthropology, Tufts Univ.; Bachata) cover this and more in a densely packed collection of articles by experts on cultural and sociological aspects of this emerging underground music. Out of the barrios of Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, and Panama, mixed with other Caribbean and U.S. music such as rap and dance hall, this rich aggregate has puzzled the Latin music industry of Miami, befuddled authorities in Cuba, and provided the music for a generation of young dancers throughout the Caribbean and in U.S. cities with major Spanish populations. Exceptional coverage of gender relationships, life in slums across these areas, and how young musicians have coped and created something new out of a variety of older music makes this a fascinating study.
—William G. Kenz