Berklee Riffs: Everything's Coming Up Latin

By 
Lesley Mahoney
December 19, 2010
Clara Marcano talks about the Venezuelan merengue.
C4 performs and offers a historical context for the Venezuelan merengue.
Photo by Lesley Mahoney
Photo by Lesley Mahoney

Myriad Latin musical genres and more than 30 countries were represented during Berklee’s annual Latin Music and Culture Celebration in November, a varied feast for the eyes and ears. The month-long celebration went places you might not expect: There were capoeira and tango lessons, a film screening of a documentary chronicling the quest to be crowned Afro-Brazilian carnival queen, and a networking session conducted in Spanish. Of course, there were also musical performances, incorporating everything from salsa to merengue to flamenco and everything in between. Mariano Martos, Maria Mulata, C4, and Larry Harlow, along with several student groups, were among the concert headliners.

A snapshot of this rich international experience was on display during two clinics on November 9, offering context for the Venezuelan merengue, one of the country's most representative musical genres. Clara Marcano told its story through recordings, photos, and piano playing in Berk Recital Hall. Down the street in the David Friend Recital Hall, C4—composed of Jorge Glem, Héctor Molina, and Edward Ramírez—waxed on the style’s 5/8 rhythmic structure through a translator and told its history in geography, pointing to a map of Venezuela.

Berklee Riffs offer snapshots of day-to-day life at the college.