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Study the Sounds of Havana in Person

In Spring 2015, Dr. Celia López-Chávez, Associate Professor in the UNM Department in the UNM Honors College and faculty affiliate of the LAII, will offer students the opportunity to study Latin American music in Havana, Cuba, as part of "The Sounds of Havana," a two-credit field study course in Cuba (March 5-15, 2015).


"The Sounds of Havana" (UHON 312.001) will complement a more extensive, three-credit course on "Drums and Dreams: Latin American Music as Text" (UHON 302.026), which will be offered throughout the Spring semester. From the European conquest and the Western musical forms, to the Latin American response through Indigenous and African influences, students will learn about the cultural, ethnic, geographic, and historical contexts in which Latin American music originated and developed. The seminar will cover four main modules or sections. The class will begin with an introduction to Latin American history, geographies, cultures, and ethnicities that will give students the basic knowledge to connect with the musical context. Special attention will be given to the African influences in music, especially the case of Cuba. A second module will focus on music, nation and identity, with the analysis of the case of Mexico. Other aspects of musical history within the context of nation and identity in Latin America will be covered through students' presentations. The third module will cover the interesting case of Brazil, its Modernism and the musical legacy of this movement in the 20th century. Module 4 will be about Argentina and its Tango. This class is designed to be an interdisciplinary exploration of music of Latin America, and students will be required to analyse and interpret readings and musical examples to be able to find the connection of different fields, including music, history, geography, and cultural studies. A final research paper will be based in the integration of those disciplines.

Students who are not pursuing a degree in the Honors College are welcome to register, provided previous permission is granted by the faculty. Students may enroll in one course or the other; they do not need to take both. However, students who take "Drums and Dreams: Latin American Music as Text" will receive priority for acceptance into the "Sounds of Havana" course in Cuba.

Please direct all questions to Dr. Celia López-Chávez at

Image: Photograph of musicians in Cienfuegos, Cuba. Reprinted Attribution CC © from Flickr user Bruce Tuten.

--Posted Monday, December 1, 2014.