EL PASO — From rumba to mambo to cha-cha-cha, Latin music rhythms played an important role in the development of rock-and-roll music, strongly influencing songs like Rock Around the Clock and Tequila. “I would consider rock-and-roll music a Latin genre because there are so many Latin connections to it and Latin music was part of it from the very beginning, ” said Dr. Roberto Avant-Mier an associate professor at the University of Texas at El Paso. His book Rock the Nation: Latin/o Identities and the Latin Rock Diaspora explains how Latin rhythms form part of the foundation of rock-and-roll music. Born and raised in El Paso, Avant-Mier told UTEP students and faculty recently that Rock around the Clock by Bill Halley was a song based on the clave, which was a Cuban rhythm. Scholars believe this rhythm came from Africa and is a foundation for Cuban music.
EL PASO, Texas — Dr. Mario G. Obledo’s heart went out to those who had no voice. He fought for decades for the rights of Latinos through civil unrest and through the creation of powerful institutions. On August 18, his heart fought its last battle. The man known by many as the godfather of the Latino movement in the U.S. died at his home in Sacramento, California, of an apparent heart attack. He was 78.
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. — Javier Martínez Vargas se sentó en una caseta un día el pasado otoño, contando el dinero que había ganado como mesero esa tarde en El Matador en Johnson City, TN. Un cliente le preguntó que si estaba planeando hacer algo para el Mes de la Herencia Hispana. Martínez Vargas, un ciudadano mexicano y residente permanente legal de los Estados Unidos, sacudió su cabeza. Luego, el cliente le preguntó qué pensaba sobre la palabra ‘hispano.’
“En verdad, no me importa lo que me llamen,” dijo Martínez Vargas.
At first glance, the words ‘Hispanic’ and ‘Latino’ appear to mean the same thing. When you ask the Spanish-speaking community, however, you’ll find that there are plenty of differences between the two.