Discover the fascinating musical fusions that propelled Latin music to the top of the US charts with LATIN MUSIC USA, coming back for audiences on Fridays, April 28th and May 5th at 9:00 P.M. ET (check local listings). Produced by public media leader WGBH Boston in co-production with the BBC, this two-part, four-hour documentary explores the Latin rhythms that influenced jazz, rock, country, and rhythm and blues, highlighting the enduring contributions made by Latino musicians to the American songbook.
LATIN MUSIC USA invites audiences into a vibrant musical conversation that has helped shape the history of popular music in the United States. The re-broadcast of the series recognizes the contributions of Latinos to the United States, celebrating their heritage and culture, which is integral to understanding popular music in the U.S.
This encore broadcast of LATIN MUSIC USA is accompanied by a bilingual social media and mobile-responsive campaign, initiatives that are new since the series’ original broadcast in 2009. Content and episodes will now be more accessible to music lovers everywhere, as well as fans of American history and Hispanic culture.
“We’re bringing back LATIN MUSIC USA with a fresh take that includes an ambitious social media campaign that will reach a new and more diverse audience,” said Adriana Bosch, Co-creator and Senior Producer of LATIN MUSIC USA. “With generous support from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, audiences are immersed in how Latin music is such an influence on the American music scene.”
Hour one, “Bridges,” begins with the rise of Latin jazz, the explosion of mambo and cha-cha-chá—a new wave of music and dance styles that swept across the nation from New York City to San Francisco—and continues with the Latino infiltration of R&B and rock n’ roll in the 1960’s. The second hour looks at the salsa revolution in New York, a hybrid sound created by Puerto Ricans, Cubans, and other Latinos in the city.
Continuing this musical journey, the third hour, “The Chicano Wave,” highlights the contributions of Mexican-Americans in California, Texas, and the Southwest and reveals how music and artistic expression played an important role in the American civil rights movement. In the final hour, “Divas and Superstars,” Latin pop explodes, becoming a global phenomenon with chart-topping songs from dynamic artists and inventive producers. At the turn of the century, reggaetón, a hot new sound with the style and swagger of hip hop, speaks to young Latinos.
Woven throughout the series are the sounds and stories of an extraordinary range of musical artists and influencers: Carlos Santana, Gloria Estefan, Jennifer Lopez, Marc Anthony, Pérez Prado, Pitbull, Ricky Martin, Ritchie Valens, Selena, Shakira, and Tito Puente to name a few. LATIN MUSIC USA also features Lin-Manuel Miranda, creator of the Tony Award-winning musicals Hamilton and In the Heights. The life experiences of these and many other unforgettable artists reveal how Latinos have reinvented music in the United States, while never losing sight of their own rich traditions.
Narrated by acclaimed actor Jimmy Smits (24 Legacy, Dexter, The West Wing), LATIN MUSIC USA airs in English and a Spanish-language track is available.
LATIN MUSIC USA Episode Descriptions
Ep 1: “Bridges”/Ep 2: “The Salsa Revolution” (4/28, 9-11 P.M. ET) 120 mins.
Trace the rise of Latin jazz, the explosion of the mambo and the cha-cha-cha as they swept across the U.S., infiltrating rhythm and blues and rock ‘n’ roll through the 1960s. As the musical journey continues, LMUSA explores how Puerto Ricans and other Latinos in New York reinvented Cuban and Puerto Rican rhythms by adding elements from soul and jazz to create salsa—which became a defining rhythm for Latinos the world over.
Ep 3: “The Chicano Wave”/Ep 4: “Divas and Superstars” (5/5, 9-11 P.M. ET) 120 mins.
Mexican Americans in California, Texas and throughout the Southwest created their own distinct musical voices during the second half of the 20th century. This episode shows how their music played an important role in the struggle for Chicano civil rights and ultimately propelled them from the barrio to the national stage. The final hour focuses on the Latin pop explosion of the turn of the 21st century and the success of artists like Jennifer Lopez, Ricky Martin, Gloria Estefan and Shakira in the English-language market. As studios concentrate on star-driven pop, Latino youth gravitate toward urban fusions like Spanish rap and reggaetón, as well as rock en Español. Lin-Manuel Miranda describes his first Broadway success, In the Heights, with its range of Latino characters and sounds.