Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Representando: Reggaeton!

The first Reggae recordings in Latin America were made in Panama in the mid-1970s. A large number of Jamaican immigrants, brought in to build the Panama Canal, brought Reggae music with them and introduced it to the local population. Nando Boom is considered one of the first raggamuffin deejays from Panama. Without Panamanian ragga deejays like El General reggaeton would never have caught on. 

Reggae production took off seriously in Panama in the early nineties, about the same time Jamaican ragga imports were becoming popular in Puerto Rico. It was common practice to translate an original Jamaican reggae song (the same melody and rhythm, but with translated lyrics). Towards the middle of the decade, Puerto Ricans were producing their own "riddims" with clear influences from hip hop and other styles. These are considered the first proper reggaeton tracks, initially called "under", a short form of "Underground."

The reggaeton scene widened when Puerto Rican and Cuban styles perfused the Panamanian-style reggae. Today, the music flourishes throughout Latin America.

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