American Sabor: Latin flavor in American Music and an LA focus

American Sabor opens on Saturday Nov 16th at Cal State  University LA with a huge open house.  Its an exhibit on loan to CSULA until February 6 2014.  The Exhibit is here are part of a grant from Ford Motor Company.  The exhibit left me speechless.  Yes, I knew some of the famous names, but I never knew until touring this exhibit the depth that Latin Music, its flavor or sabor has influenced all of American Music.

More importantly this exhibit has a  portion dedicated solely to the contributions of Angelenos, specifically East LA in the 1990s.  That will be part of the permanent collection at CSULA when the Smithsonian moves on loan to its next city.  Famous Angelenos starting with Desi Arnaz and flash forward to  Black Eyed Peas I was amazed, outright blown away with the influence Latin music has had on pop music, hip hop, jazz and other genres.  Other artists of note that are showcased in the exhibit are Alice Bag, Los Lobos, Los Illegals, and Quetzal.

The exhibit starts with an opening statement that introduces you to the 5 hubs of Latin Music in this country.  The five hubs are Los Angeles, San Franciso, San Antonio, Miami and New York. Each of these hubs has its own set of exhibits showcasing a few of the big names from that area and what genre they impacted along with bits of trivia on the artists.  For instance…didya know that Carlos Santana was a violinist and as a kid played in his father’s Mariachi Band, bonus point if you did, but I didn’t know that bit.

There are numerous interactive bits where you can listen and create your own music all the while learning about Latin Music and seeing how it influenced the growth of music in this country.  There is a theater set up with a wonderful documentary on the history of Latin Music starting with Tito Puentes in New York back in the 30’s until now touching on the 5 hubs of Latin Music.  Dance is a big part of Latin culture and there is a dance floor set up in one room, replete with disco lights and an old school jukebox loaded with tunes from the history of Latin Music.  Dance your heart out if you are so inclined.

This weekend is the open house and formal opening of American Sabor at Cal State LA.  Parking there is tough and you DO NEED A PERMIT, and it can be obtained at the visitors center/information booth at the intersection of Campus Drive and Paseo Ranco Castillo.  The exhibit itself is Luckman Gallery and Theater in the NW section of the campus.  Parking structure C is closest.

Activities this weekend the campus is going to be jam packed with stuff to do as if the well curated exhibits themselves alone aren’t sensory overload.  Here is the schedule of events for Saturday 11/16/2013.

  • 10 AM “American Sabor” opens to the public at Luckman Gallery with a Salsa Performance in the Walkway Concert Area
  • 11 AM Latin Drumming workshop – Music Recital Hall
  • 11:30 AM Cha Cha Dance workshop at King Hall Dance Studio 1
  • 12:30 PM CSULA Mariachi Ensemble in Walkway Concert Area.
  • 1:30 PM Salsa Dance workshop at King Hall Dance Studio 1
  • 2 PM Latin Jazz Music workshop at Music Recital Hall
  • 3 PM CSULA Salsa Club Performance in Walkway Concert Area
  • 3:30-5:30 PM Fine Arts Gallery opening reception
  • 4 PM Salsa Dance workshop in Walkway Concert Area
  • 5:30 PM Afro-Latin Ensemble in Walkway Concert Area

A map of the campus is HERE to help you navigate your way around CSLA ‘s campus.

If you can’t make it to the exhibit, or are an teacher that would like to look at it as a teaching opportunity, you can visit the American Sabor web site.  It has many of the interactive elements found at the CSULA exhibit.  One I really liked is where you can leave comments in “Share Your Story” and insert photos, audio or video clips and it will become part of the permanent exhibit at the Smithsonian!
All photos in the image gallery by me and embiggen with a click. More raw images of the exhibits can be found in my flickr set American Sabor.