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Arts & Culture

Latin Music USA: Bridges & The Salsa Revolution

Graphic design with dancers and text that reads "SALSA" by eatdrink and James Adamé.
2009 WGBH Educational Foundation
Graphic design with dancers and text that reads "SALSA" by eatdrink and James Adamé.

Airs Wednesday, September 8, 2010 at 10 p.m. on KPBS TV

Exploring the Music

In this interactive feature, click on a key musical genres to start exploring!

"Latin Music USA" is a four-part documentary. From Latin jazz and mambo to salsa, Tejano, Chicano rock, Latin pop and reggaeton, "Latin Music USA" tells the story of the rise of new American music forged from powerful Latin roots and reveals the often overlooked influence of Latin music on jazz, hip hop, rhythm and blues and rock 'n' roll — and on all of American culture. It’s a fresh take on America's musical history, reaching across time and across musical genres to embrace the exciting hybrid sounds created by Latinos, musical fusions that have deeply enriched popular music in the U.S. over more than five decades. Jimmy Smits narrates.

"Bridges:" The first hour traces the rise of Latin jazz and the explosion of the mambo and the cha-cha as they swept the U.S. from East to West and looks at how Latin music infiltrated rhythm and blues and rock ‘n’ roll through the 1960s.

"The Salsa Revolution:" The second hour explores how Puerto Ricans and other Latinos in New York reinvented the son cubano and the plena from Puerto Rico by adding elements from soul and jazz to create salsa — which became a defining rhythm for Latinos the world over.

Preview: Latin Music USA