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Daddy Yankee's 2004 picture.
Daddy Yankee's "Gasolina" is officially part of the National Recording Registry. Photo: @daddy_yankee.

Reggaeton and Mariachi take center stage in this years National Recording Registry inductees

Both genres featured heavily on the 25 records selected to enter the national registry this year.

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Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden said the most recent selection of albums set to enter the National Recording Registry were "audio treasures worthy of preservation for all time based on their cultural, historical, or aesthetic significance in the nation's recorded sound heritage."

Among the 25 selected, is Daddy Yankee's "Gasolina," the global hit and first reggaeton song to hit mainstream airwaves, was one of a number of reggaeton and mariachi songs to make the cut in 2023.

Hayden pointed out:

The National Recording Registry preserves our history through recorded sound and reflects our nation’s diverse culture.

The recordings selected for the National Recording Registry bring the number of titles on the registry to 625, a small percentage of the Library of Congress' vast collection of nearly 4 million items.

“With roots in Panama in the 1980s, reggaeton has been described as reggae, reggae en español, dancehall, hip-hop and dembow. But it was Daddy Yankee’s 2004 hit single 'Gasolina' that ignited a massive shift for reggaeton with its crossover appeal from Latin radio to broad audiences. ‘Gasolina’ appeal was so great, it even moved some radio stations to switch formats from English to Spanish to tap into this revolution,” read a recent press release.

Latino contributions to U.S. musical history

According to the Library of Congress, of the 625 titles that have been included in the National Recording Registry since its creation a little more than 20 years ago, only 26 are by Latino artists.

"When you do things with love, passion, determination and discipline and to all that you add the support of all my beautiful people for more than three decades, everything you dream of can be possible," Daddy Yankee wrote on Twitter after his selection.

Other songs with Latino roots that appeared on this year's selection list are "Las Primeras Grabaciones del Mariachi" by the Coculense Quartet; "Flashdance... What a Feeling" by Irene Cara; and "All I Want for Christmas Is You" by Mariah Carey, who is of Afro-Venezuelan descent.

“Some of the earliest sounds in this year’s class are The Very First Mariachi Recordings, an album recorded in 1908 and 1909. Four musicians from the Mexican state of Jalisco made this recording in Mexico City and performed for Mexico’s president. Even early recording technology could still capture the spirit of this music. Scholars and sound archivists collected and reissued this album in 1998 to revive an otherwise lost chapter in the history of mariachi,” underlined the Library of Congress. 

"Flashdance... What a Feeling" became the main song of the cult film Flashdance, with which Cara won the Oscar for Best Original Song, and is considered a hymn to empowerment and has immortalized the singer of Black, Cuban and Puerto Rican descent who died last November.

“The national library is proud to help ensure these recordings are preserved for generations to come, and we welcome the public’s input on what songs, speeches, podcasts or recorded sounds we should preserve next. We received more than 1,100 public nominations this year for recordings to add to the registry,” added Hayden.

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