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Taft’s Latin Music Ensemble Club

Tafts Latin Music Ensemble Club

Latin music is full of vibrant rhythms and melodies as well as a rich cultural history. Taft High School’s Latin Music Ensemble Club explores the world of Latin music, from bossa nova to salsa and bachata.

 The club gives its members the opportunity to dive into the history and cultural significance behind the genre as well as the variety of subgenres within the umbrella term “Latin Music”. 

The umbrella term “Latin Music” has become controversial due to its loose definition and miscategorization of lesser known cultural subgenres. The club embraces the term using it as a way to define music by any hispanic artists. 

“I know when most people hear Latin music they think only hispanics. No. We have a mix of white, Filipino, and Italian members of our group. But I think we see Latin music as hispanic music. We don’t really see a difference from both of them,“ said Alison Salinas, the President of the Latin Music Ensemble Club. 

The club has a strong sense of cultural pride as well as community, something Salinas had in mind when coming to the decision to form the club. 

“I’ve seen a lot of clubs for culture, but not a lot of clubs for music and hispanics. In the school I see a lot of stuff for and about other races and not stuff about hispanics. Which is fine but I wanted something out there for us,” said Salinas.

The club celebrates culture by showcasing Latin music, history, impact, and tradition in a positive spotlight that highlights the uniqueness and speciality of the genre and culture. 

“First, anyone is welcome. You don’t have to be hispanic to join the club, but we do have a lot of hispanic members and some of us were taught spanish or just play some of our favorite songs that our parents and grandparents listened to. We talk about our families and try to keep the tradition going,” said Adrien Negri, member of the club. 

An important part of tradition is keeping the music alive. The club does this through practicing and performing a variety of Latin music chosen and voted on by members of the club themselves. Everyone in the club is going to play an instrument.

“If anybody looking to join doesn’t know how to play an instrument, we can join them. Plenty of people in our group didn’t know how to play an instrument so we teach them to play percussion because it’s one of the easiest to learn,” said Salinas.

The club is working on their performance for Taft’s 2024 International Day which is going to take place April 26. They are going to be performing  “Nunca es Suficiente” by Los Ángeles Azules y Natalia Lafourcade, “Un Sueño” by Los Angeles De Charly, & , “Si Una Vez” by Selena.

“The tradition makes Latin music special. A lot of people grew up listening to this kind of music and want to keep it alive. If you’re looking for a connection to hispanic culture and music and would like to continue the tradition you should take an interest in the ensemble,” said Negri.

“I think more students should take an interest because we get to play and have fun every time we have a meeting. We have fun and play music while we’re doing it,” said Salinas.

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About the Contributor
Ben Fitzner, Reporter