Black Resistance Through Music

Afrodescendant musical creation as pathways of survival, kinship&liberation

Dash Harris Machado
Katelina Gata by Vanessa Leroy for Huffpost
Victor "El Yuco" Machado


Conference Session 14
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Chaired by Dash Harris Machado (Panama), AfroLatinx Travel;

with Katelina 'Gata' (USA), Reggaeton Con La Gata;
Victor "El Yuco" Machado (USA)

Music creation and expression has been and continues to be central in the lives of Afrodescendants in the Americas. The most famous and well-known musical genres from Latin America and the Caribbean come from the fellowship and spirituality of gatherings of Africans and their descendants. Music from the sacred batá drums, from the cajón, from the bells, pots, and spoons that Afrodescendants improvised were the basis for various Afro-Cuban musical genres. Reggae's migration through channels of labour to Panama was the basis for the current iterations of today's reggaeton.

These were songs that held stories and legacies of pain, joy, magic, kinship, spirituality, day-to-day realities of racialised hierarchies, police and state violence and the indomitable will to survive. We will talk about the history of these genres amid the proliferation machine that erases and whitewashes them.