Today starts the Hispanic Heritage Month, and we join the celebrations to explore the Hispanic culture.

The first question that comes to our minds is what it means to be Hispanic? To be Hispanic means to belong to a community of people bonded by a shared history and language.

But in reality, it is a complicated question to answer because although the language is a crucial element in that definition is not even necessary to speak it to be considered Hispanic.

There are probably millions of people in the US that are descendants of people coming from the Hispanic world who don't speak Spanish. 𝗕𝗲𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗽𝗮𝗿𝘁 𝗼𝗳 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗛𝗶𝘀𝗽𝗮𝗻𝗶𝗰 𝗰𝗼𝗺𝗺𝘂𝗻𝗶𝘁𝘆 𝗶𝘀 𝗺𝘂𝗰𝗵 𝗺𝗼𝗿𝗲 𝘁𝗵𝗮𝗻 𝘀𝗽𝗲𝗮𝗸𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗮 𝗹𝗮𝗻𝗴𝘂𝗮𝗴𝗲, 𝗶𝘀 𝗶𝗺𝗽𝗹𝗶𝗲𝘀 𝘀𝗵𝗮𝗿𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗵𝗶𝘀𝘁𝗼𝗿𝘆, 𝘃𝗮𝗹𝘂𝗲𝘀 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗰𝘂𝗹𝘁𝘂𝗿𝗮𝗹 𝘁𝗿𝗮𝗶𝘁𝘀.

It is a complex definition because the Hispanic world is vast in terms of geography and culture. Just think in Spain and its former colonies; In comparison with its former colonies, Spain occupies a tiny part of what we call today the Spanish world.

The Spanish language nowadays is spoken by almost 600 million people around the globe. Most of the Spanish speakers live in Latin America, but many live in the US. The US has 56M Spanish speakers, a big number.

Talking about the art song repertoire in Spanish: It is immense, enormous, huge!. It makes sense it is so big because, as I mentioned before, the Spanish language is spoken in a very big geographic area. Personally, when I refer to the song repertoire in Spanish, I refer to Song in Spanish, never to Spanish Song. This is a critical distinction, one that acknowledges the fact that the repertoire is produced in a large and diverse cultural and geographical area.

𝗧𝗼 𝗿𝗲𝗳𝗲𝗿 𝘁𝗼 𝗮𝗹𝗹 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗿𝗲𝗽𝗲𝗿𝘁𝗼𝗶𝗿𝗲 𝗶𝗻 𝗦𝗽𝗮𝗻𝗶𝘀𝗵 𝗮𝘀 𝗦𝗽𝗮𝗻𝗶𝘀𝗵 𝘀𝗼𝗻𝗴 𝗵𝗮𝘀 𝗰𝗼𝗹𝗼𝗻𝗶𝗮𝗹𝗶𝘀𝘁𝗶𝗰 𝗰𝗼𝗻𝗻𝗼𝘁𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻𝘀. So, from now on start saying Song in Spanish. If I'm singing a song in Spanish by a Peruvian composer, I say Peruvian art song, or Colombian art song, Argentinian art song. If you ever sing a song by a Spanish composer, it will be correct to say Spanish art song.

In our next video, we will start talking about specific songs, composers and poets. Remember, if you have suggestions, thoughts or questions, 𝗳𝗲𝗲𝗹 𝗳𝗿𝗲𝗲 𝘁𝗼 𝗷𝗼𝗶𝗻 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗰𝗼𝗻𝘃𝗲𝗿𝘀𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻.

Patricia Caicedo