The Influence of African Music on Latin Music

The Influence of African Music on Latin Music

by Maestra Moreno

To celebrate Black History Month in February, Grades 7 & 8 have been learning about the influence of African culture on Latin music.  On Friday, March 17th , the students will share what they’ve learned and welcome the community to join in an assembly reflecting these incredible lessons.

With the support of DEI funds, our school has been able to bring drumming and dance instructors to TWS’ Grade 7 & 8 Spanish classes for four weeks.  The lessons brought by Lassina Doumbya and Yarrow King have allowed students the opportunity to experience how Latin American culture has been enriched by the music and dance of African culture. 

The music and dance of Latin America has had many influences from African and indigenous rhythms through the colonization and slavery that existed at the beginning of the Latin American nations.  South America and Central America were the first areas of the American continent to be populated by Africans. Throughout the 15th and 16th centuries, slavery moved up the coast of South America through the Caribbean. In the four centuries that followed, millions of slaves from Africa were brought to the New World, and today their descendants form part of ethnic minorities in several Latin American countries and are the dominant element in many of the Caribbean nations. 

Lassina Doumbya and Yarrow King, creative and life partners, have over 40 years of combined experience sharing their passion for the music and dance of Africa and the African Diaspora. Lassina was born and raised in Ivory Coast, West Africa. Drumming and the celebration of bringing joy to the community, helped him through difficult losses and became his life passion as well. He lifts hearts, minds, and bodies through his masterful drumming, teaching, and joyous presence. Yarrow has studied, taught, choreographed, and performed throughout the western United States, Cuba, the Caribbean, and Brazil. In her spirited dance classes, she shares traditional and contemporary dances of West Africa and the African Diaspora, bringing focus to deep and joyful movement. Together, Yarrow and Lassina formed King-Doumbya Community Drumming and Dance, bringing people together in the community to joyfully explore, embody and express themselves through music and dance.