Produced by a team led by WGBH, in co-production with the BBC, Latin Music USA invites the audience into the vibrant musical conversation between Latinos and non-Latinos that has helped shape the history of popular music in the United States.
Episode One: Traces the rise of Latin jazz and the explosion of the mambo and the cha cha chá as they sweep the US from East to West. Latin Music infiltrates r&b and rock and roll through the 1960s.
Episode Two: 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: Mexican-Americans in CA, TX 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: Focuses on the Latin pop explosion of the turn of the century, focusing on the success of artists like Ricky Martin, Gloria Estefan and Shakira in the English-language market – in the context of an increasingly Latinized US. As studios focus on star-driven pop, Latino youth gravitate toward urban fusions – Spanish rap and reggaeton, as well as Rock en Español.