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    Sonidos de Cultura: How heritage is embraced through music



    Story by Petty Officer 3rd Class Molly Crawford 

    Navy Public Affairs Support Element Detachment Hawaii

    Sonidos de Cultura
    How heritage is embraced through music
    U.S. Navy story by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Molly Crawford

    it be the smooth sweet note of a brass flute or the sharp and jarring chords from an electric guitar, many people use music to take a break from reality and briefly forget about their daily stresses. To Salvadorans, music plays a large role in their culture by helping to tell stories, practice religion, express personal emotions and promote social change.

    Listening to music has proven to positively affect the brain and body, but for U.S. Navy Sonar Technician 2nd Class Kevin Siguenza, assigned to Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Wayne E. Meyer (DDG 108), this is irrelevant.

    “I’ve been in Hawaii two years now without going home and there aren’t a whole lot of Hispanic communities here,” said Siguenza. “Back home in Los Angeles you’re super close and there’s Latinas everywhere, so playing the music here kind of brings me back to being around all those cultures at home.”

    While growing up, Siguenza’s mom would constantly blast music. It wouldn’t matter if he was trying to focus on homework or watching cartoons, the rhythmic beats of cumbia and bachata rang through the house.

    “My mom always had to have music,” said Siguenza. “She’s the type of person where if there isn’t music playing she doesn’t know what to do. She’ll even yell at you saying, ‘Is this a funeral? Why is there no music playing? What is this?’, then she'll turn the radio all the way up.”

    Siguenza admitted that as a child his mother’s incessant love for music was an annoyance, but as he grew up it shaped and broadened his own interest.

    “I think growing up around music really diversified my taste,” said Siguenza. “I was born in California so I grew up speaking English, but I was around multiple types of cultures and backgrounds, so I got a little bit of everything. The majority of music I heard was in English, but then I would go home and listen to everything from cumbia, bachata, nortena, corrido, whether it was from El Salvador, where my family’s from, or somewhere else in Latin America.”

    Siguenza regularly bonds over music with his wife, U.S. Navy Aviation Structural Mechanic Airman Jalissa Ta, assigned to Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 37, who has noticed the similarities between him and his mom.

    “Music is always playing in the background,” said Ta, a native of San Diego. “We have our speaker in the living room to play music while we’re cooking. I think it reminds him of his mom, who on Sunday mornings would always be blasting music and cooking platanos con frijoles for breakfast.”

    Through his music, Ta has been able to learn more in depth about the richness in Siguenza’s family background and how music contributes to his culture.

    “I’ve learned more about his Hispanic heritage through his music ‘cause he’s always like, ‘Oh this is from El Salvador’,” said Ta. “I just think, ‘Oh this is Mexican’, but obviously there are different types of music in different countries and he taught me that each has a unique sound. It’s a whole other world but he’s shown me a lot from individual cultures.”

    Siguenza explained that even if a certain genre started in one country and came over to another, like Cumbia coming from Columbia and going to El Salvador, each country makes their music distinguishable through the notes, the mood and the story that the singer tells, “…it just kinda puts a stamp on that culture saying, ‘this is going to be ours.’”

    Music has been and forever will hold a special place in Siguenza’s life. It regularly surrounds him, from going to work to making dinner with his wife, making it an essential piece of his day-to-day life. He urges everyone to broaden their musical horizons and learn something new about different cultures and heritage.

    “Try new music,” said Siguenza. “Give it a taste and see if you like it, even if you don’t know what they’re saying, just jam out to the beat itself. Try to get a feel for what the people are singing and feeling and put yourself in the mindset of how the music reflects its people.”



    Date Taken: 09.27.2021
    Date Posted: 10.25.2021 18:56
    Story ID: 407971
    Hometown: LOS ANGELES, CA, US
    Hometown: SAN DIEGO, CA, US

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