SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – “American Sabor: Latinos in U.S. Popular Music,” a Smithsonian Institution traveling exhibition sponsored by the Ford Motor Company Fund, is on display in Puerto Rico at the Museo de Las Américas.
“American Sabor” focuses on five major centers of Latino music production, New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, San Antonio and San Francisco, showing the contributions and influence Latino musicians and music have had on the formation and evolution of popular music in the United States since World War II. The exhibit explores the combination of cultural stories and life experiences of Latino musicians and fans, demonstrating how their creativity and rhythmic innovations have had a profound impact on traditional music genres across ethnic and racial boundaries, contributing to the formation of a rich hybrid tradition of popular music that has diversified the country’s musical landscape.
“Ford Motor Company Fund is proud to support ‘American Sabor’ as part of our long time commitment with the arts and Hispanic culture," said Jim Vella, president, Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services. “Visitors to the exhibition will be able to learn about the many contributions Hispanic musicians have made to the music of the U.S.A. and about the richness of Latino rhythms.”
“American Sabor” is bilingual (English and Spanish) and includes didactic panels, interactive units and a dance floor with a jukebox so guests can select and dance to music of their choice. The exhibit also includes short films that present the stories of Latino and Puerto Rican musicians in New York, including Tito Puente, Tito Rodríguez and Fania All-Stars, interviews with Latino musicians, such as Johnny Pacheco, Willie Colón and Carlos Santana, who have shared their experiences in different musical events, and comments by experts on different aspects of Latino music in the United States.
“The impact of Latino musicians on U.S. popular music goes beyond their unmistakable rhythms and dance,” said Myriam Springuel, acting director of the Smithsonian’s traveling exhibitions.
As part of the educational and public programs of “American Sabor” supported by the Ford Motor Company Fund, the museum has prepared numerous activities to complement the exhibition in Puerto Rico, including talks, movies, a school bands contest, creative workshops for children and dances for older adults.
More information about programs is available at americansabor.org, including historical photos, educational materials, oral history, videos, a “Jukebox” with a selection of the music included in “American Sabor,” a blog, a section for community participation and an interactive musical mixer.
“We are very proud to bring this exhibition to Museo de Las Américas; it presents the contributions Latinos have made to United States popular music from the 1940s to the present day,” said museum director Mary Angela Lopez Vilella.
Developed by the University of Washington and EMP Museum in Seattle, and organized as a traveling exhibition by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES), “American Sabor” will remain in Puerto Rico until July 6, then travel to 12 cities until 2015. The exhibition, its national tour and all related programs are made possible by Ford Motor Company Fund.
(left to right) Pablo Haase, managing director, Ford Puerto Rico; Maria Angela Lopez, executive director, Museo de las Américas; Joedis Avila, community outreach manager, Ford Motor Company Fund; Evelyn Figueroa, American Sabor project director; Myriam Springel, interim director, SITES; and Jim Vella, president, Ford Motor Company Fund.