Latin American Music and Culture

Course details

From £205.00
10 CATS points

24 Apr 2019 - 26 Jun 2019
Day of week

Latin American Music and Culture


This course is a journey through some of the most popular Latin American (and Spanish) contemporary musical genres. It will explore narratives with social, cultural and political aspects expressed through music.

Discover the depths of Latin American culture and broaden your understanding of the complexities and beauties of its music. We will listen to and discuss music from across all of Latin America, including the famous Boleros, the Mexican Mariachi, Tango, Salsa and more. We will look at how music relates to the cultural, political and social challenges faced across the decades in Latin America. 

We will also study specific subgenres such as narco-corridos in which music is a form of narrative and progress towards a final consideration of modern musical tastes across Latin America. The course will be taught in English and no Spanish language proficiency is required.

Programme details

Term Starts: 24th April

Week 1:          Introduction to the course. Music across Latin America

Week 2:          Boleros: Agustín Lara, Toña la Negra, Los Panchos

Week 3:          Mariachi: amor a la mexicana

Week 4:          Tango

Week 5:          De mambo, rumba y salsa

Week 6:          Paquita y Chava Flores

Week 7:          Trova: bringing romance to politics

Week 8:          Corridos and narcomusic

Week 9:          Modern music around Latin America

Week 10:        Modern Music around Latin America II


Background Reading:

Edberg, M. C. El narcotraficante [electronic resource] : narcocorridos and the construction of a cultural persona on the U.S.- Mexico border

Madrid, L. A. ( Danzon : circum-Caribbean dialogues in music and dance [electronic resource]

Morales, E. The Latin beat [electronic resource] : the rhythms and roots of Latin music from bossa nova to salsa and beyond

If you are planning to purchase books, remember that courses with too few students enrolled will be cancelled. The Department accepts no responsibility for books bought in anticipation of a course.

If you have enrolled on a course starting in the autumn, you can become a borrowing member of the Rewley House library from 1st September and we will try to ensure that as many titles as possible are available in the Library by the start of each term. If you are enrolled on a course starting in other terms, you can become a borrowing member once the previous term has ended.

Recommended reading

All weekly class students may become borrowing members of the Rewley House Continuing Education Library for the duration of their course. Prospective students whose courses have not yet started are welcome to use the Library for reference. More information can be found on the Library website.

There is a Guide for Weekly Class students which will give you further information. 

Availability of titles on the reading list (below) can be checked on SOLO, the library catalogue.

Recommended Reading List


Students who register for CATS points will receive a Record of CATS points on successful completion of their course assessment.

To earn credit (CATS points) you will need to register and pay an additional £10 fee per course. You can do this by ticking the relevant box at the bottom of the enrolment form or when enrolling online.

Coursework is an integral part of all weekly classes and everyone enrolled will be expected to do coursework in order to benefit fully from the course. Only those who have registered for credit will be awarded CATS points for completing work at the required standard.

Students who do not register for CATS points during the enrolment process can either register for CATS points prior to the start of their course or retrospectively from between January 1st and July 31st after the current academic year has been completed. If you are enrolled on the Certificate of Higher Education you need to indicate this on the enrolment form but there is no additional registration fee.



Course Fee: £205.00
Take this course for CATS Points: £10.00


Dr Lorena Nessi

Lorena Nessi PhD is a Swiss Mexican journalist, researcher, and cultural sociologist. Her Bachelor's was in International Relations, Master’s degree in Globalization, Identity and Technology, and PhD in Communication, Sociology and Digital Cultures.

Course aims

The aim of the course is to assist students' study of Latin American music through the discussion of specific popular genres in order to introduce them to the analysis of some of its most relevant social, cultural and political aspects.

Course Objectives:

1. To provide an insight into Latin American culture.

2. To explore and interpret the music and lyrics of some of the most popular Latin American musicians.

3. To analyse different Latin American musical genres and to gain cultural, political and social insights.

Teaching methods

Each class will include presentations which may make use of PowerPoint and sound clips. Informal conversations and debate will be used to discuss and explore the symbols and meanings behind the music and the rhythms, and students will be encouraged to contribute to group discussions and debates.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course students will be expected to:

1. be able to appreciate and differentiate the key Latin American musical genres;

2. be able to analyse Latin American music through a cultural lens; and

3. gain an insight into into some of the culltural, social and economic challenges in Latin America as expressed through its music.

Assessment methods

Students will be assessed on one 1000 word essay on one of music genres seen in the course. An optional writing task of 500 words will also be given in week 5 so that students can benefit from tutor feedback in advance of the formal assessment.

Due to the continuous assessment required for language classes, students must submit one completed Declaration of Authorship form per term. CATS points cannot be awarded without the aforementioned form.


To earn credit (CATS points) for your course you will need to register and pay an additional £10 fee for each course you enrol on. You can do this by ticking the relevant box at the bottom of the enrolment form or when enrolling online.

Please use the 'Book' or 'Apply' button on this page. Alternatively, please complete an application form.