To speak about Latin American music is to enter into a universe-sized space filled with complexity, combinations, historical flow, and tunes. It is vast. A quick tour of Mexican music is more manageable, since it is a single country, but its own history and complexity takes up a galaxy of space on its own.

Luís Islas, a native of the Mexico City area of Mexico and a long-time resident and business man in Whitewater, was our guide in this quick tour during an appearance at the UW-Whitewater University Center.

Mexican music offers its riches in part due to the influences that it absorbed.  Probably the sound that first comes to mind to a U.S. resident when Mexican music is mentioned is the sound of  banda, conjunto, norteña, ranchera, with brash horns or accordian. These types reflect the influence of German immigrants, both to run the breweries of northern Mexico or in the mixed quilt of cultures in what is now  the state of Texas. But a traditional sound in the south of Mexico and among Maya peoples is the marimba, a xylophone-like instrument with made of tropical wood and containing a vibrating reed. This instrument is evolved from similar instruments brought from Africa as part of the legacy of  slavery in the Americas.