The term 'Latin America' encompasses not only South and Central America but the Caribbean also. The many different ethnicities and cultures present in Latin American music make it diverse and hard to categorise.
Latin American music is extremely rich due to having native Indian, African and Western influences. The Spanish and Portuguese colonists introduced Western music to the South American continent. The arrival of slaves contributed African styles to the music.
Amongst the instruments the indigenous population used before the Europeans arrived were maracas, whistles, panpipes and trumpets made out of bamboo or bark. Westerners introduced guitars, violins and harps, which the natives incorporated into their music.
Types of Latin Music
There are several different styles, and while each country has a specific genre considered the 'national' style, there is much crossover between regions. Some of the most famous styles are the Argentinian tango, the Cuban son, the Mexican ranchera, the Brazilian samba and bossa nova and the salsa, among others.