Jorge Garrido lived in Columbia for 23 years before he came to America in May of 2016. I’ve worked with Jorge for over a month now, and if you were to tell me that he just moved to America a few weeks before I met him, I would have thought that you were lying. In the short time that Jorge has been here, he has fit in to a point that, with exceptions for his accent, I would not have even guessed that he was from another country. His American interests and mannerisms are apparent in his daily walk. I was surprised to find that these mannerisms quickly faded when I started to ask about his own country and his old interests; one of which being the music he listened to back in Columbia. After talking to Jorge, I found that his taste in things like music did not change while coming to America; they merely adapted to common American preferences.
Jorge Garrido came to America through a work studies program put on by the YMCA. He went from volunteering at his local YMCA in Columbia to working full time at the YMCA of the Rockies in Colorado. This May Jorge traveled to America to embark on his one-year journey working at the YMCA of the Rockies in Colorado. He came to America for opportunity and experience, while leaving behind the only life he ever knew for an entire year.(I don’t know is this is necessary). After a series of introductory questions to Jorge’s background and musical preferences, I found that his taste in music was a lot like a modern American’s. He liked styles like rap and hip hop, including artists like Fetty-Wap, Drake, and Justin Timberlake. He could name songs that he had listened to and heard (sounds a bit odd) on the radio often enough to know the song titles and artists. After further questioning, though, I found that maybe his interests went further than these musical preferences that he shared with me.
I asked Jorge what his musical preferences were like before coming to America. His reaction was filled with much more enthusiasm. He mentioned musical styles like vallenato, salsa, and merengue and started going on and on about his favorite artist Carlos Vives. Jorge was much more excited to talk about the music that he listened to before coming to America than he was excited to talk about the music he listened to after coming to America. Recognizing this, I asked him the question, “Which music do you prefer?” and he responded, “Columbian music” without hesitation. The question that this answer brought up then was, “Why did you give American examples when I asked for your initial music preference?”
When Jorge responded, he had a longer response than what I had expected. He explained how when he decided that he was going to America, he chose to listen to American music more because he wanted to improve his English. He explained how he used the music as a tool to improve his vocabulary and dictation, further going into detail about how he specifically chose moderately paced music that had a lot of articulation so that he could catch on to the words better. Jorge didn’t choose music on his preference of what kind of music sounded most pleasing to him; he made his decision based on what kind of music would be the most efficient to helping him learn English. By making himself listen to this music, he was able to develop a liking for the pop styled American music that he had listened to constantly. He had adapted his musical preference to fit into American society.
Jorge went into elaboration about how he found it easier to continue to listen to that style of music since more people in America have heard of it. He also explained his experience living, and working here in America. Jorge said that as he started working, he found it easier to work when listening to American music that had a more upbeat pace than his Columbian samba. He found out quickly that the different styles of American music could be suited to a much wider variety of activities than Columbian music could. He adapted to the level of work that he was doing with corresponding styles of music that included indie rock and even country music. Even though these styles didn’t fall under his preferences, it was what he needed to do to the work and connect socially at a similar pace as the Americans around him.
Jorge’s listening choices may have been adapted to American music, but his preferences still lied in Columbia. His favorite music, though he chooses not to listen to it often in America, is his original Columbian music with a Spanish influence. This adaptation to American music opposed to adopting an actual interest in American music was an interesting aspect to Jorge’s experience in music globalization, that I have never heard of previously.