This semester, a group of final year Hispanic Studies students at the University of Sheffield have taken part in a unique module run by Dr Peter Watt. The module, ‘Popular Music in the Hispanic World’, has not only taught students about the undeniably strong relationship between music and political movements in South America, but it has also given students the opportunity to do something creative and ‘hands on’ as part of their degree.
Over the course of the semester the students have worked tirelessly to research, record, fund, advertise and produce a ten-track album of Latin and Hispanic Music in under ten weeks. The album, produced by Dr Peter Watt himself, was a collaborative effort with music recorded by many of the students, featuring stunning artwork by some of the class members. As an alternative to performing and recording the album, some students instead chose to record podcasts addressing fascinating topics related to Latin music, including ‘Music in the Slave Trade’ and ‘Women in Protest Music’, which will be available to download soon on the website that the students also created – you can see the website here.
The group took the name Buenas Vibras (Spanish for ‘good vibes’) and, performing under the same name, on the 29th November 2018, organised a spectacular live concert at Cubana Tapas Bar in the centre of Sheffield for the album launch. In the run-up to the live event students pulled out all the stops; producing YouTube videos, a website, and arranging an interview on Forge Radio in order to promote their live concert. The evening was a resounding success, and a fantastic example of what can be accomplished through teamwork, co-operation and passion.
The students would like to personally thank James Pearson for his help with putting the album together, and Piero Tucci, Rich Keates and Emerson Lee-Scott for their incredible instrumental skills which ‘spiced up’ the concert. The students will also like to thank Cubana Tapas Bar and the Herbert Hughes Memorial Fund for their sponsorship of the concert. Last, but certainly not least, the students want to thank Peter Watt for playing the piano, teaching, recording, organising and generally putting his heart and soul into the module!