Miami: an exhibition will show the impact of Afro-Cuban rhythms in the United States

“Turn the Beat Around,” an exhibition opening this week at the Wolfsonian Museum in Miamishows, through photographs, posters, record albums and other objects, how Afro-Cuban rhythms “changed the musical landscape forever” in the United States.

The exhibition, whose idea arose from a recent donation made by collector Vicki Gold Levi, a passionate about Cuba and everything Cuban, will be open from next Friday until April 30, 2023 at this museum in Miami Beach managed by the Florida International University (FIU).

“We are delighted to present this exhibition that celebrates the Afro-Cuban roots of rumba, conga, Latin music, jazz, mambo, cha-cha-cha and salsa,” said Wolfsonian Chief Librarian and Exhibition Curator Frank Luca. .

“Turn the Beat Around” demonstrates how three decades of intense cultural interaction between Cuba and the United States (those of the 1930s, 40s and 50s of the 20th century) profoundly shaped the musical traditions of both nations.

At the same time that American jazz and the great swing orchestras were triumphing on the island, Cuban musicians settled in the United States, especially in New York, together with musicians of Puerto Rican origin, created music with a characteristic Latin tinge, he says. a statement.

Meanwhile, graphic artists in the music, film, and tourism industries were hard at work creating the images used to package and promote Cuban-inspired music, both highlighting its exoticism and Americanizing its designs.

The new materials donated by Vicki Gold Levi to the Wolfsonian are the core of this exhibition aimed at describing the impact of Afro-Cuban music on American music.

“I have been enthralled with Cuba for as long as I can remember,” Vicki Gold Levi said in a statement.

“The Wolfsonian has accepted much of my collection with open arms and I am delighted to publicly share many of the objects in Turn the Beat Around for the first time,” she adds.

Photo courtesy of The Wolfsonian, a museum administered by Florida International University (FIU), showing the cover of the album «Cha Cha» with Tito Puente at Grossinger’s (1960), which is part of the exhibition «Turn the Beat Around», that shows how Afro-Cuban rhythms “changed the musical landscape forever” in the US Photo: The Wolfsonian-FIU / EFE.

Gold Levi has previously donated more than 3,000 pieces, ranging from cigar labels to sheet music covers.

“Turn the Beat Around” presents a selection of donated objects plus clothing by artists such as Cuban Gloria Estefan and Puerto Rican Tito Puente, now deceased, as well as other items from the Wolfsonian collection.

The International University of Florida also has the important collection of Cuban and Latin American popular music Díaz-Ayala and the collection of musical scores of Celia Cruz.

The Wolfsonian-FIU is a museum, library, and research center that uses objects to illustrate the persuasive power of art and design, explore what it means to be modern, and tell the story of the social, political, and technological changes that have taken place.

Its collections comprise more than 200,000 items from the period 1850 to 1950, the height of the Industrial Revolution to the end of World War II, and include fine art, decorative arts, graphic design, industrial design, architectural drawings, rare publications, and ephemera.

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