The Story: How Latinos influenced popular music in the U.S.


Get Adobe Flash® Player

In New York City, the Palladium Ballroom was the mecca of mambo from 1948 to 1966. Enjoy the music of the Palladium stars and watch the moves of the club's amazing dancers.

In addition to its rich European and African heritage, U.S. popular music is flavored with sounds drawn from many parts of the Americas, including indigenous traditions.

Latinos have helped bring these sounds to U.S. audiences, and -- just like European Americans and African Americans -- they have contributed new musical flavors that sprang from their experiences on U.S. soil. While some Latinos crossed the border to come here, others remember how "the border crossed them." The 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo annexed California, Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, Colorado, Utah and parts of Wyoming to the United States. Overnight, Mexicans living in those territories became Mexican Americans. After the 1898 Spanish-American War, Puerto Ricans also found themselves under U.S. control and became U.S. citizens in 1917.

American Sabor presents the musical contributions of these and other U.S. Latinos from the 1940s to the present, a time during which popular music -- music we hear mainly through commercial recordings, radio, and TV -- has become increasingly important to our experience and our definition of who "we" are as Americans.

American Sabor focuses on five cities that have been important centers of musical production for Latino musicians since World War II: