Ask any non-Hispanic American what he or she knows about Latin music and they'll probably exhaust their knowledge in two short phrases: La Bamba and Salsa. And it's true, outside of its community, the rich heritage and influence of Latin music is rarely given proper respect. That is until now.
The BBC and PBS have combined on a joint venture to air a 4 part documentary series titled Latin Music USA. Filmmakers Elizabeth Deane and Adriana Bosch are the main influences behind this series that attempts to make mainstream audiences more aware of Latin culture, specifically its music.
The series not only highlights the history of Latin music, but also how it has influenced major bands from the Rolling Stones to the Beatles to even Smokey Robinson & the Miracles. More interestingly is how this music has been influenced since coming to America, including how German polka bands in Texas influenced one particular singer.
The series begins tonight on most PBS stations (no known BBC programing that I can find, sorry Brits!) and should be quite engaging. And, at an hour a piece, should be easily accessible to those with a rather hectic weekday lifestyle.
The New York Times has a great article about the series and its filmmakers, but if you want the facts, head on over to PBS' website.