Saturday, September 22, 2007

Exhibition: American Sabor: Latinos in U.S. Popular Music

Joe Cuba band member dancing with partner at the Palladium, New York City, circa 1955. Courtesy of Johan Kugelberg.

October 13, 2007 - September 7, 2008 American Sabor: Latinos in U.S. Popular Music

This exhibition is the first interpretive museum exhibition to tell the story of the profound influence and impact of Latinos in American popular music. Rich with artifacts, instrument interactives, listening kiosks, and films, American Sabor opens at EMPSFM October 13, 2007.

The 5,000-square-foot exhibition focuses on five major centers of Latino popular music production in the post-World War II United States—New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, San Antonio and San Francisco—which represent the diversity of Latino music. Each city section draws visitors into the broader histories and cultures that shaped these musicians’ contributions through artifacts, hands-on instrument interactives designed to teach key concepts, highly produced listening kiosks that allow critical listening and learning, three films created for the exhibit and interpretive text presented in English and Spanish.

Latino contributions to popular music in the United States have too often been relegated to the margins and footnotes of a narrative dominated by the interaction of African and European Americans—an overly black and white view of our musical history. American Sabor (sabor is the Spanish word for taste or flavor, commonly used to describe good music) is a museum exhibit that turns that phrase and that perspective on its head, documenting the roles of post-World War II U.S. Latino musicians as interpreters and disseminators of Latin American genres, but also highlighting their roles as innovators within genres of music that we understand to be indigenous to the United States, such as jazz, R&B, rock ‘n’ roll and hip-hop.

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