"American Sabor" Tells Miami's Story, the Story of Latino Culture in American Music

Categories: Culture

Photo by Jacob Katel
Turn on the radio and listen to the story of Miami. It's your own story, and it's right there in the danceable grooves, the colorful vibes, the tropical drums.

Latino cultures -- whether Cuban, Puerto Rican, Mexican, Caribbean -- have had an irrevocable influence on American musical traditions, whatever the genre. Miami has been one of the biggest players in this game of sonic fusion, and "American Sabor," the latest exhibition at HistoryMiami, curated by the Smithsonian Institution, EMP Music, and the University of Washington, takes a hard look at these regional contributions from the '40s into the present era.

And thanks to support from the Ford Motor Company, the interactive exhibit is open now through Sunday, Oct. 26, for everyone to enjoy.

"It was a no-brainer," said Joe Avila, community outreach manager for the Ford Motor Company Fund. "We believe and know that art, music, and culture helps to build communities, and also helps to connect families and generations. I invite you to walk around this exhibition and know you're going to find something to relate to."

Photo by Jacob Katel
The exhibit, the first to inhabit HistoryMiami's newly renovated third floor, highlights the immense contributions of Latinos through the tales of five major cities; San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Antonio, New York, and Miami. It's almost impossible to break down decades of creativity, but curators spent years on the project and chose to highlight "elite pioneers," those artists, labels, and genres with the greatest lasting impact who truly innovated and paved the way for generations to come.

A study such as this has in fact never been conducted, but it has never been any less important.

Photo by Jacob Katel
"Musicians create their music. It's about their creation, it's not about the history of the creation," says Evelyn Figueroa, project director at the Smithsonian Institution. "There are very, very few museums that have dedicated themselves to collect about Latino music.

"The Smithsonian is trying to open the door to have a place where we can document, through the exhibitions that we do, important histories in this country that are fundamental to society, and then have them deposited in a public archive like the Smithsonian has, where it is accessible and free to everybody," she continues. "'American Sabor' and all of the information that is in there is extremely important."

Location Info



101 W. Flagler St., Miami, FL

Category: General

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Why isn't this free? It's a county museum paid for by taxes on the people who live here. The only people who don't have to pay are kids under 5 and they could care less about the exhibit. 

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