DVR 'Red-Hot' Alert: Latin Music USA on PBS
FOUR-PART DOCUMENTARY SERIES PREMIERE OVER TWO EVENINGS, OCTOBER 12th and 19th, 2009 (check local listings)
five stars (out of 5)
FIVE BIG RED-HOT STARS on this!
I can't remember ANY music documentary starting with so much passion .. and maintaining the fever throughout. We re NOT in Ken Burns territory here … less textbook – all visceral! I was getting "chills" and "moved to tears" in just the first 15 minutes. This is, without a doubt, MUST-SEE TV … no matter whether you are Latin or not! What is going on here is ASTONISHING – History, interviews, glamorous footage from the past .. and SO WELL DONE!
"So good it's DIZZYING!"
MISS AT YOUR OWN RISK!
Here are the facts:
Golden Globe and Emmy Award-winning actor Jimmy Smits will narrate Latin Music USA - a four-hour documentary series scheduled to broadcast in primetime over two consecutive Mondays, October 12 and 19 during Hispanic Heritage Month (9:00-11:00 p.m. check local listings) on PBS. Latin Music USA is a story about American music, reaching across time and across musical genres to embrace the exciting hybrid sounds created by Latinos - fusions that have deeply enriched popular music in the US for more than five decades.
As part of the project's multimedia and multicultural approach, Latin Music USA has partnered with the Spanish TV network V-me to premiere the series on two consecutive Tuesdays, October 13th and 20th at 10 p.m., fully translated and narrated in Spanish by Leila Cobo, one of the world's foremost experts in contemporary Latin music.
Produced by WGBH and the BBC, the documentary series anchors a comprehensive, multimedia project - on air, online, in print and in the community -- exploring the vibrant musical conversations between Latinos and non-Latinos that have helped shape the history of popular music in the United States. Smits, who is perhaps best known for his long-running roles on L.A. Law and NYPD Blue, will narrate the English language version of the series. All of the project's media platforms will be in both English and Spanish.
In addition to the broadcast partnership with V-me, which will place Latin Music USA before an even broader audience, Latin Music USA has extended its reach to various communities through several strategic partnerships. The project has developed a multiplatform brand partnership with People en Español, the top-selling Hispanic magazine in the United States, and its Web site peopleenespanol.com. People en Español will create exclusive Latin Music USA editorial and promotional features and content that will give visitors and readers a sneak peek at interviews and concert footage from the series.
Latin Music USA is a story about American music. Fusions of Latin sounds with jazz, rock, country, rhythm and blues - music with deeper roots and broader reach than most people realize. Latin Music USA features the memorable stories of artists including among others, Salsa greats Willie Colón and Marc Anthony; the Latin-inflected sounds found in much of sixties rock and roll from the Drifters to Motown to the Rolling Stones; Carlos Santana; the legendary Chicano rock band Los Lobos; megastars Gloria and Emilio Estefan; Ricky Martin and Juanes; reggaeton performers Daddy Yankee and Tego Calderón; and Lin-Manuel Miranda from the Tony Award-winning musical In the Heights. The life experiences of these and many other unforgettable artists will reveal how Latinos have reinvented their music in the United States and forged new identities within this country, while never losing sight of their own rich traditions.
Comprised of four 60-minute episodes, the documentary series features a fast-paced mix of music and interviews:
· Episode One, BRIDGES: The first program traces the rise of Latin jazz and the explosion of the mambo and the cha cha cha as they sweep the U.S. from East to West. Latin music infiltrates R&B and rock and roll through the 1960s.
· Episode Two, THE SALSA REVOLUTION: Puerto Ricans and other Latinos in New York reinvent the Cuban son and the Puerto Rican plena, adding elements from soul and jazz to create Salsa, which becomes a defining rhythm for Latinos the world over.
· Episode Three, THE CHICANO WAVE: Mexican Americans in California, Texas and across the Southwest create their own distinct musical voices during the second half of the 20th century. Their music would play an important role in the struggle for Chicano civil rights and ultimately propel them from the barrio to the national stage.
· Episode Four, DIVAS AND SUPERSTARS: Focuses on the Latin pop explosion of the turn
of the century and the success of artists like Ricky Martin, Gloria Estefan and Shakira in the English-language market. As studios concentrate on star-driven pop, Latino youth gravitate toward urban fusions - Spanish rap and Reggaetón, as well as Rock en Español.
Latin Music USA was produced by a team led by WGBH, in co-production with the BBC. Funding for Latin Music USA is provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and public television viewers.
Click here for more information.
From This Author Naomi Plume