There is something about South America that means taking a vacation there will be an entirely different experience than going to Europe or North America. It may be the scenery that makes such an impression, the amazing food or the people. For some though, the main draw is the wide musical heritage that the continent offers.
The music of South America
South America comprises many nations, such as Brazil, Peru, Chile and Argentina, most of which have been heavily influenced by Latino countries as a result of the extensive colonization of the continent by Spain and Portugal during the 16th century. Much of South American music, therefore, is performed in either Spanish or Portuguese and incorporates several musical styles, such as salsa, bossa nova and merengue. In Argentina, for example, the most famous musical style export must be the tango, while Cuba is responsible for several different styles, but most notably the sensuous dance of love, the rumba. Argentina plays host to several large scale music festivals, such as the Buenos Aires Summer Break Festival, the Monsters of Rock, both in Buenos Aires and Lollapalooza in San Isidro. Cuba hosts the International Festival of Electroacoustic Music in March with La Huella de Espana celebrating its heritage with a festival devoted to Spanish dance music.
Brazil is famous for its early twentieth century development of the samba and the erotically-charged lambada, which enjoyed such notoriety in the mid-1980s. As a result, travelling to South America is the perfect romantic getaway for a couple. What’s more, anyone interested in the music of the region is sure to not only enjoy the world-famous Rock in Rio festival but the Cultura Inglesa Festival in Sao Paulo or the Planeta Atlantida festival in Rio Grande do Sul.
Of course, South American music is not all about pulsating rhythms and sensual dancing; the continent also has a great deal to offer in the realms of indigenous folk music and instrumental pieces. In the highlands of Bolivia, for example, Cumbia, a ritual dance performed by couples, is more popular amongst its citizens than the world famous salsa, and it is only since the 1950s that pop elements have entered the region and fusion music has developed. The music of Ecuador differs slightly in that it has been influenced by Indian and Black music and is usually played on string instruments, rather than drums. Travelers wanting to experience Ecuadorian music should pay a visit to the Quito Fest, a free music festival held during September at which homegrown and international bands perform.
It is sensible to travel light when vacationing in South America as there are likely to be many journeys undertaken on buses, taxis and trains, not to mention on foot. Keep shoes to a minimum, but remember to pack at least one pair of heels for those nights on the dance floor. Show off some skin in those hot South American nights by packing thin-strapped tops and shorts and splash out on some exotic lingerie for men and women.