Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Latin Music Legends On Screen, In Person at Tribeca

Multimillion-selling Latin/pop crossover star Gloria Estefan pays tribute to her native Cuba in her latest album "90 Millas," which features a who's-who of Cuban and other Latino music stars from different generations. Her husband, producer extraordinaire Emilio Estefan, made a low-budget documentary of the making of the album, and it received a special screening at the Tribeca Film Festival.

The screening of "90 Miles: The Documentary" was special because it was followed by a unique panel discussion about Latin music and the recording industry featuring the Estefans and some of the Latin stars featured in the movie, including groundbreaking Mexican guitarist Jose Feliciano, legendary Dominican composer and bandleader Johnny Pacheco, and Cuban trumpet player Alfredo "Chocolate" Armenteros. (Also featured on Estefan's "90 Millas" CD are Israel Lopez Cachao, Arturo Sandoval, Carlos Santana, percussionist Sheila E., and young Latin hip-hop artist Pit Bull.)

The panel discussion was a very interesting look at the history and evolution of Latin music, touching on issues ranging from the African roots of Latin music and the strong connections between Cuban and Puerto Rican music to acceptance of Latin music in the mainstream music industry to what the artists thought of the decline of big music companies and the rise of Internet-based digital music.

Considering the collection of Latin stars past and present aligned on the stage, and the advanced age of Pacheco and Armenteros, this was truly a discussion that won't be seen again.

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