The Sabor Blog

News, Events & Stories from the Latino Community across the U.S.

Behind the Scenes: American Sabor

  • At the exhibition you’ll learn that music that is considered deeply “American” like Richard Berry’s 1955 rock n’ roll hit, “Louie Louie,” is built on the rhythmic foundation of Latin sounds. In the case of “Louie Louie,” it’s the cha-cha-chá. Check out The Kingsmen version below to hear for yourself.
  • Was there one musician that the curatorial team wishes they could have included in the exhibition? Yes, José Feliciano. However, the team did weave him into the wall of album art.
  • Seattle’s radio station, KEXP, 90.3FM, produced the exhibit’s listening audio content.
  • Curators used famous musicians for each city—like Celia Cruz in New York City or Carlos Santana in San Francisco—as a hook to draw visitors into the exhibit and ultimately discover artists they may not otherwise know.
  • Shannon Dudley, Michelle Habell-Pallan, and Marisol Berrios-Mirandawere the future guest curators that pitched the idea of American Sabor to EMP along with future associate guest curators Rob Carroll and Francisco Orozco.



I am very disappointed to see

I am very disappointed to see that San Juan, Puerto Rico is not listed as one of the cities featured in this blog and exhibit. Is there any specific reason why it was left out?

It’s a great question. One of

It’s a great question. One of the main criteria used by the curators for organizing the "American Sabor" exhibition was to keep the principal focus on Latino musicians and communities within the continental U.S. The New York City section of "American Sabor," in particular, discusses the innovations made by Puerto Ricans in the New York music scene and the Puerto Rican experience in New York. It references musical styles, artists based on the island and their musical exchange as well as the great migration from Puerto Rico to New York City and the impact this had on salsa music. A central concept of this exhibit was to show how Latinos are integral players in U.S. society and culture. We hope that everyone who sees the exhibit will come away with a clear understanding of the profound impact that Puerto Ricans such as Héctor Lavoe, Tito Rodríguez, and Daddy Yankee have had on U.S. popular music.