AUDIO COMMENTARY

Disco and Electronica

Time: 4:14 minutes
Excerpt: "Bataan’s 1979 song, “Rapo Clapo” was a smash hit in European dance clubs. His lyrics invite dancers of all nations to get down. Many Europeans first heard rap this way--over conga drums and a classic disco beat."
full transcript

“Rapper’s Delight” - Sugar Hill Gang

fade in at 0:10 fade down for voice at 0:40

“Rapper’s Delight,” the first commercial rap recording, starts out with Latin percussion. The bass line is borrowed from “Good Times,” a disco hit by Chic. In the 1970s, Latin music, disco, and hip hop were all mixed together by DJs in dance clubs.

“The bottle” - Joe Bataan 1975

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Before disco became the name for a kind of music, it was just a place to dance. Discotheque DJs favored songs with similar tempos, and layers of grooving rhythms. Latin music kept the dancers moving. This 1975 club hit by Joe Bataan, for example, rocked the house with conga drums and a salsa-style bass line.

“Rapo Clapo”  - Joe Bataan

bring up ca.1:00 mentions PR

Bataan’s 1979 song, “Rapo Clapo” was a smash hit in European dance clubs. His lyrics invite dancers of all nations to get down. Many Europeans first heard rapthis way--over conga drums and a classic disco beat. Speak “bu tsi pa tsi”

 “Can you feel the beat?” - Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam

Bring up at chorus, 1:58

In the 1980s, hip hop, disco, and electronic music found a common home in “Latin freestyle.”  Check out this 1985 song, “Can you feel the beat,” by New York Puerto Rican singer Lisa Velez, better known as Lisa Lisa, and her band Cult Jam.

[LISTEN chorus]

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“Conga” - Miami Sound Machine

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[LISTEN chorus]

Miami Sound Machine’s hit song “Conga,” released the following year, used a similar rhythm and melody, beefed up with more Latin percussion.

[LISTEN percussion]

“The Nervous Track” - Lou Vega

2:45-3:50

Bring up for Conga prominent at 3:00

As dance club music moved toward electronic sound and composition, so did Latino musicians.  This recording was produced in the 1990s by Lou Vega, nephew of salsa singer Hector Lavoe.  A conga drummer adds spice to the repetitive rhythm.

Ca.3:15

Early 20th century Latin dances like the tango or the rumba fascinated North Americans.  At the beginning of a new century, Latino participation in U.S. dance music is less exotic, but just as important

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