By Veronica Kim
In his book “A Home on the Field,” Paul Cuadros chronicles the story of a soccer team comprising a generation of Latino immigrants, old enough to have crossed the border between the United States and Mexico into the U.S., but young enough to still feel the influences of American youth culture.
On the bus to a soccer game, Cuadros notes: “Gone was the old Mexican ranchero music, the corridas, the norteño sounds, and the Duranguense drums. The fierce rap of Daddy Yankee replaced them ushering in a Caribbean beat for this new generation.”
Today, these ever-changing music tastes are not only reflected in Cuadros’ soccer players but in all American youth. However, it is important to note the influence of parents’ music preferences – the Mexican ranchero music, corridas, norteño sounds, and Duranguense drums mentioned by Cuadros – on the music that their children choose to listen to.
“A Home on the Field” describes the change in music tastes brought about by a transition from one distinct culture into another: Mexican to American. Although this transition does produce a change, it is not an event that pertains just to children whose parents immigrated to the U.S.
In the case of Brittany Wiafe, 16, whose parents migrated to the U.S. from Ghana, the effect of her parents’ music preferences is evident in her own.
Wiafe said that her mother listens to Bob Marley, Whitney Houston, and a lot of traditional African music at home.
The music tastes of Wiafe’s mother have helped determine Wiafe’s own preferences. Although her mother never explicitly asked her to listen to traditional African music, Wiafe finds herself listening to music that relates to African music, with traditional beats.
When Wiafe was young, her father would dance to traditional African music with Wiafe standing on his feet.
Even though Wiafe’s parents have played a role in influencing her music tastes, she has developed her own preferences as well. When asked what type of music she enjoys listening to, Wiafe said, “All types of music – indie, R&B, rap.”
She listed some modern rappers among her favorites, such J. Cole and Drake, artists who emerged after her parents’ generation.
On the other hand, Stephanie Edmonds, 17, comes from a family that has resided in North Carolina for generations, with parents are from N.C., and a long line of ancestors from the Deep South.
Her parents have nevertheless played a large role in her music upbringing.
“As a young child, my parents would play their music in the car or at home while my mom was cooking dinner. I was brought up on their music,” said Edmonds.
Edmonds believes that her parents cultivated her taste in “oldies music,” or music from the ‘70s and ‘80s.
However, her tastes have grown beyond these limits. “Now that I’m older, I listen to a wide variety of music – Christian music to country music, music from the ‘70s and ‘80s,” Edmonds said.
Even Edmonds’ grandparents played a key role in influencing Edmonds’ music tastes. She mentions that “the history of [her grandparents’] youth correlated with the history of the music they listened to.”
The connection between the music that people listen to and the events happening around them has been evident throughout history. In the 1960s, during the Vietnam War, American pop music quickly became a place for anti-war protests and political discussions.
Since music is a central part of popular culture, a current generation’s taste in music will inevitably change with changes in popular culture.
But these changes also carry the weight of more personal connections. Jared Weber, 17, believes his strong family ties have helped to build his music preferences.
“I love rap music, classical, rock ‘n’ roll. I got rap from my brother, because I’ve always looked up to him. I got the music I like from my family,” Weber said.
His brother’s influence shows that not only parents, but any sort of role model, can influence a person’s taste in music.
Photo from Flickr.com