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American Sabor: Latinos and Latinas in US Popular Music

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Evoking the pleasures of music as well as food, the word sabor signifies a rich essence that makes our mouths water or makes our bodies want to move. American Sabor traces the substantial musical contributions of Latinas and Latinos in American popular music between World War II and the present in five vibrant centers of Latin@ musical production: New York, Los Angeles, San Antonio, San Francisco, and Miami. From Tito Puente's mambo dance rhythms to the Spanglish rap of Mellow Man Ace, American Sabor focuses on musical styles that have developed largely in the United States-including jazz, rhythm and blues, rock, punk, hip hop, country, Tejano, and salsa-but also shows the many ways in which Latin@ musicians and styles connect US culture to the culture of the broader Americas.

With side-by-side Spanish and English text, authors Marisol Berríos-Miranda, Shannon Dudley, and Michelle Habell-Pallán challenge the white and black racial framework that structures most narratives of popular music in the United States. They present the regional histories of Latin@ communities-including Chicanos, Tejanos, and Puerto Ricans-in distinctive detail, and highlight the shared experiences of immigration/migration, racial boundary crossing, contesting gender roles, youth innovation, and articulating an American experience through music. In celebrating the musical contributions of Latinos and Latinas, American Sabor illuminates a cultural legacy that enriches us all. MARISOL BERRÍOS-MIRANDA is affiliate professor of ethnomusicology and lecturer in the Honors Program at the University of Washington. She is the author of numerous articles on salsa and Puerto Rican musical culture. SHANNON DUDLEY is associate professor of ethnomusicology at the University of Washington. He is the author of Carnival Music of Trinidad and Music from Behind the Bridge: Steelband Spirit and Politics in Trinidad and Tobago. MICHELLE HABELL-PALLÁN is associate professor in the Department of Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies at the University of Washington. She is the author of Loca Motion: The Travels of Chicana and Latina Popular Culture. Together they curated the exhibition, American Sabor, which was created by Experience Music Project (now the Museum of Pop Culture) and organized for travel by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES).


  • •Paperback, 8" x 9"
  • •352 pages including 110 illustrations and 6 maps
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