As you would expect there are many things about Honduras that are very different from home and some of these things are difficult to get used to… the food, the way of life, the culture etc. But one of the things that I think, due to my Britishness, I will never be able to pick up is… the dancing. Music is a huge part of the culture in Honduras with so many influences from its people and its surrounding countries. They have salsa, merengue, reggaeton and punta to name a few. And from these musical influences comes the dancing. One of the most popular types of music in Honduras, and my favourite, is reggaeton. Here is a Urban Dictionary definition for it:
Reggaeton is the most popular music in Latin America, as well as a huge youth-based cultural phenomenon. It is not a form of Spanish Reggae, but instead an evolution of the modern Jamaican popular music, called dancehall. Upon listening to both dancehall and reggaeton songs, the similarity becomes obvious. Reggaeton also can draw influences from Merengue, Bachata, Salsa, Vallenato, and House, and combine these forms of music in a new and unique way. It is this mix of different styles found throughout latin america that continues to drive the music forward and keep it from becoming overly repetetive.
Reggaeton is based upon the “Dem-Bow” beat. Though many westerners may critique the music for hoving the same beat in every song, the fact is, this is the same as any form of latin music. Every salsa song has the same rhythm, as does every cumbia, every merengue, etc… Any music intended specifically for dancing, as reggaeton is, will always have the same beat to make it easier and more fun to dance to.
Also, though many reggaeton songs have explicit lyrics, this is only one form of the genre, called “Perreo,” which is usually accompanied by a form of grinding which goes by the same name. However, there are other forms of reggaeton: “Bachateo” and “Romantico” are two of the most common, both typically based around love. Reggaeton can be danced fast, slow, in pairs, or even single.
As this short definition hinted at the lyrics tend to be quite explicit and sometimes even sexist. Music videos follow this by showing men in suits with lots of money surrounded by girls in barely any clothes dancing and shaking their bums. Me and Loui were in a cafe yesterday and there was a reggaeton music video on which I swear could have been a porn film!! Someone mentioned that reggaeton music is even banned in Cuba as it is so sexually charged but I’m not sure if this is true…
Anyway, as these ‘sexy’ styles of music are played in bars and clubs, the dance style follows and the dancefloor becomes a sea of people grinding against each other. People often say that the style of dancing was introduced because (due to the no sex before marriage tradition) people couldn’t have sex so they introduced a dance that was as close to doing it as possible. Obviously in the UK we like to go out and party, have a dance and maybe even find someone to dance with. But myself and Laura have discovered that we are just far too British to grind up against some random guy and move our hips like the Hondurans do – we’re just too reserved and self conscious! I do have a lovely dance partner though (who happens to be gay) and I give the hip shaking my best with him but most of the time I’m just too shy to go for it! It is fun to watch though and our Honduran friends have the most amazing dance moves! But being as British as possible me and Laura really get moving when the classic British songs come on like Flo Rida telling us to get low!!! I even managed to look so British last night that a guy came up to me and asked me in english if I wanted to dance… I’m clearly just so white.
Here are some of my favourite songs I’ve discovered in Honduras so far – if you want an even better idea of how the Hondurans dance just type ‘reggaeton dancing’ into youtube. Enjoy!