domingo, 1 de agosto de 2010

Reggaeton reviewed in Dancecult: Journal of Electronic Dance Music

review by Alejandro L. Madrid

University of Illinois at Chicago (US)

When certain products or practices attain a more secure place in a particular cultural landscape they tend to become naturalized in the minds of those who experience such landscapes; it is almost as if they had always been there, they become "authenticated". This seems to be the case with reggaeton. As I sit down to write this review I ask myself when I heard about reggaeton for the first time and I cannot find an answer. When pushing myself to remember anything related to what I now believe belongs to the reggaeton performance complex, a number of fragmented images and sounds come to mind. I remember El General in local, low budget shows from the Telemundo or Univisión TV networks in New York City and Boston in the early 1990s; then students asking me about the genre (and actually calling it reggaeton) almost ten years later in Chicago; finally, its explosion into the mainstream media in 2005, and its pervasive presence in clubs in Havana, Cuba, that summer. Although most of these memories are rather vague and patchy, what I do remember clearly is not being able to explain thoroughly what reggaeton was. The sounds and the images seemed to have always been there since the 1990s, but in fact, reggaeton was something relatively new, and as such, also somehow elusive.

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