How Bicultural, Bilingual Latinos Are Transforming The Music Scene


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Your playlist might look like this: perhaps a sprinkling of Oro Solido merengue mixed with the romantic Mexican band Camila along with Drake and Ariana Grande.
Just like we love listening to a bilingual, bicultural playlist, songwriters and musicians are increasingly blending their heritage into their distinctive new sounds.
Take the group La Santa Cecilia. The band, based in Los Angeles, is comprised of members who grew up bilingual and bicultural, in a working-class immigrant background. They blend different genres of music such as boleros, cumbia and bossa nova and sing in Spanish and English.
Marisoul, the lead singer of the band, tells NBC News Latino she would listen to Juan Gabriel and Mariachi music in her household, then she would listen to The Beatles and Operation Ivy with friends from school, giving her a taste of two different music genres and music worlds.
“Being bicultural has definitely inspired the music that we make in La Santa Cecilia. Growing up you feel like you have this divided life. At home we would listen to traditional music and music in Spanish and at school I would listen to rock,” she says.
“In La Santa Cecilia we were able to merge these two lives together and really celebrate that we like all kinds of stuff and that we listen to English and Spanish music,” she adds. “If you listen to our band’s music, we jump from a cumbia to a bossa nova to an English song, and then to a Spanish song.”
Showcasing their bilingualism and bicultural lives has earned the Grammy-winning band scores of fans. Their hits like “Ice el Hielo,” – a play on words, since ICE also refers in the song to Immigration and Customs Enforcement – are sung in both languages with a unique blend of rhythms.
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