One Latino music concert appealing to young and old? Why the Bésame Mucho festival created a cultural moment

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The sold-out, one-day festival, produced by Live Nation and held Saturday at Dodger Stadium, brought together 58 Latin music artists across various genres, including rock, pop, salsa and Mexican regional music and spanning decades, from the 1960s to the 2000s.


Tickets quickly sold out when they were made available in February. The festival’s popularity is rooted in nostalgia and its connection to the Spanish language.

“I think that people take pleasure out of identifying with Spanish, having music that they feel speaks directly to them — even if they’re not Spanish dominant,” said Ed Morales, an author and lecturer at Columbia University’s Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race.

Oscar’s older brother Christian, 26, who had more of a rocker vibe and was decked in black jeans, a black T-shirt and piercings, said the festival was perfect for the family.

«We can hop from one genre to another,» he said. «Some of us relate to one a little bit more than another, but ultimately, you know, it’s music. It’s one of the things that brings us all together.»

2021 was a record year for Spanish-language music. The Mexican grupera (a form of regional music) band Los Bukis became the first Latin music band to sell out two shows at the 70,000-seat SoFi Stadium. Puerto Rican trap-reggaetón superstar Bad Bunny‘s latest album, “Un Verano Sin Ti,” earned two Grammy Award nominations this year, including the first Spanish-language album to be nominated for album of the year and the first Latin artist named as Apple Music’s artist of the year.

Latinos account for 54% of the nation’s overall growth in the last 20 years, reaching 62.5 million in 2021, or 19% of the total population, according to a recent study by the Latino Policy and Politics Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles.

The festival’s Spanish-language dominance was a big marketing tool, Morales said, adding that the concert’s popularity also reflects the country’s demographic changes.

Puerto Rican Merengue singer Elvis Crespo, whose career has spanned over two decades, has seen Latin music’s changes and growth. He’s experienced how different generations create cultural moments — most recently through the viral videos of «Wakanda Forever» actors dancing to his hit “Suavemente,” as well as Bad Bunny’s homage to Crespo’s music video in his own music video for his song, “Neverita.”

“I feel really grateful to be able to live this moment,” Crespo said in an interview at the festival. He believes music can transcend language barriers, recalling sneaking out as a teen to attend disco parties playing English-language songs.

“I didn’t understand, but the melodies captivated me,» said Crespo. «That’s what I see with Latin music — it makes me feel very proud.”

The pop-rock indie artist Julieta Venegas, a pioneering American-born Mexican singer, songwriter and instrumentalist, sings in Spanish.

“I feel that today is a day to feel pride, to be proud that you are Latino,” said Venegas about the festival. “It demonstrates the variety and diversity of the music that we have.”

Source: NBCNews

Escrito por Mariola Rubilar

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