I DETEST the sound of Gloria Estefan's voice. Oh, she's capable enough a singer, but some quality in her voice is like nails on a chalkboard to me. I think it was horrid "Conga" dreck what done me in on her forever. For some reason, major retail chains like playing her music in their stores. I suppose it means I spend less time shopping, so there's a discernible dividend to this aversion.
I seem to notice every time I'm in T.J. Maxx there's some Miami Sound Machine oozing from the speakers, Estefan's cloying voice dribbling throughout the store and setting in while I'm doing my label-whore best to dig around for All-Clad cookware. It may be the way her voice sounds as though it's projected up through the mask that grates on me so. This is not quite nasal, but it sounds as if a lot of her resonance comes through the bones and tissue above the mouth, giving what I call a "hooded" quality. Anyway. She makes my skin crawl. Still, of course, I'd encourage her to keep singing, because she seems to enjoy it and obviously one or two people have enjoyed buying her records. Then again, if the tuneless, shitty humming-along in stores to her music is indicative of her prime audience, I'd say it figures.
NOT that I'm opposed to tuneless, shitty humming-along in stores. I think there's not enough of it, actually. In the case of Estefan's music, I welcome the distraction, and it's always nice (to me) to hear someone enjoying music and participating. I think the falling away of personal music-making is in some way indicative of a serious failing in our culture. Time was when at every gathering someone in the family or social circle would sit at the piano or saw away on a violin or some such, and now there is less and less of that sort of thing. I think we as a society seriously suffer for that, too. Music is not meant to be only a pre-packaged product that is so removed from one's life: rather, music should be something reflective of what is going on in life and in some way spell out a common experience. One of the greatest musical experiences in my life was walking into a pub in England with friends (about 10 years ago) and a song came through the speakers and the whole place just erupted in song, everyone singing vibrantly and full-voiced, good and bad. Don't look back in anger, I heard you say. It was a transcendent moment. Now that kind of group experience is worth leaving the house for.