Beyond Latin Night

Latinx Musicians and the Politics of Music in Charlotte

Bakalao Stars, Smokey Joe’s Café, November 2011. Photo by Daniel Coston.

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Beyond Latin Night

Latinx Musicians and the Politics of Music in Charlotte

by Samuel K. Byrd
Southern Cultures, Vol. 24, No. 3: Music & Protest

“‘We rock whatever hats we want.’”

In the past decade, Charlotte’s Latinx rock musicians have moved from a politics of acknowledgement to a politics of engagement with the larger music scene and the city itself. A recent article about Latinx musicians on Charlotte’s Spanish-language news website Hola Noticias noted, “It’s been almost a decade since Carlotan Rock stopped beating in the Queen City.” The author went on to celebrate the rebirth of Latin rock by highlighting the efforts of both the still-active first generation of Charlotte’s Latinx musicians and a younger generation of musicians who have come together to create new events and networks, resulting in a flourishing output of music in the last three years. What has remained consistent in the last decade, however, is an ambivalence about politics, even as musicians seek to expand their community. This is a result of both the structure of corporate political governance in Charlotte and Latinx musicians’ still-developing sense of identity as immigrants and interlopers on a mostly white rock scene.

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