White House Celebrates Latin Music
By DARLENE SUPERVILLE, Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) _ Michelle Obama says the beats and melodies in Latin music are so irresistible that even President Barack Obama “will shake his groove thing” Monday night.
Gloria Estefan, Romeo Santos, Lila Downs, Marco Antonio Solis and other top Latin musicians are joining the Obamas for a taping of the latest installment in the PBS series “In Performance at the White House.” Coming at the start of the monthlong celebration of Hispanic heritage, the concert will showcase the various styles of Latin music.
The first lady described Latin music as having “some of the most fun, dynamic, rhythmic melodies” anyone will ever hear.
“Me encanta la musica Latina!” she said, Spanish for “I love Latin music.” She added that its “percussive beats and buoyant melodies” come from just about everywhere, including the Caribbean, Mexico, Central and South America, Africa and Europe.
“And when you put all of that together, you can’t help but move to the music,” she told area high schools students during a late-morning workshop with some of the artists, including Estefan and her husband, Emilio, both of the band Miami Sound Machine. “Even the president, you will see tonight, will shake his groove thing every now and then.”
He’s scheduled to open the taping in the White House East Room with brief remarks.
Other artists scheduled to perform during the hourlong program are Ricky Martin, Price Royce, Arturo Sandoval, Raul Malo, Alejandro Sanz and Natalie Cole.
The taping, which the White House announced just last week, was to go on as scheduled despite a shooting Monday at the Washington Navy Yard that killed at least a dozen people. It will be shown live on the White House website, http://www.whitehouse.gov/live . It also is scheduled for broadcast by PBS stations nationwide on Oct. 8.
Natalie Cole’s late father, Nat King Cole, pioneered singing in Spanish and Portuguese by an American. He recorded three albums in Spanish at the peak of his career in the late 1950s and early 1960s and became a hit among Latinos, especially in Cuba, where he had performed in some of Havana’s famous nightclubs.
Cole’s daughter recently followed in her father’s footsteps by releasing a Spanish-language album of her own, “Natalie Cole en Espanol,” in June. As a little girl, she traveled to Mexico with her father and never forgot how well received he was, she said. She decided to record an album in Spanish because she wanted to broaden her international audience.
“I love this music so much. I feel like I have done so much jazz and I really did not want to do another jazz record,” she told reporters during a media availability arranged by the White House. “I wanted to do something a little more diverse, and I figured `Why not try a Spanish record?”’
“Musica Latina: In Performance at the White House” is the 12th installment in the series.
Since Obama took office in 2009, the programs have celebrated the music of Stevie Wonder, Paul McCartney, Carol King, Burt Bacharach and Hal David, Hispanic music, music from the civil-rights era, Motown, the blues, Memphis soul, Broadway music and country ballads.
Each presidential administration since Jimmy Carter has participated in the series.
Associated Press writer Luis Alonso Lugo contributed to this report.
In Performance at the White House: http://www.pbs.org/inperformanceatthewhitehouse/home/
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