To promote cross-cultural appreciation and understanding, the Ritmo Latino (Latin Rhythm) Project of KUVO Public Radio is involved in the research, development and production of music-based cultural programming for national distribution throughout the public radio system during Hispanic Heritage Month. Filling this demonstrated programming need will contribute to the expansion of public radio to Latino and other underserved audiences, as well as to the general public radio audience.
Ritmo Latino Executive Producer Carlos Lando, who also serves as KUVO’s Program Director, enlisted the help of veteran public radio producer and project manager Lou McElroy in 1991. Since that time, the project has received grants from the Colorado Council for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the New York Council for the Humanities. Ritmo Latino has produced grant proposals, scholar forums and pilot programs for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and National Public Radio (NPR) Jazz. The project’s efforts have centered on two areas of radio production: music documentaries and programs featuring musical performance combined with conversation.
With the documentaries, producer Lando aims to underscore the continuity of Latin Jazz from its early days in New York in the 1940’s, to its evolution in the present day and into the future with the brightest new talents in the field. Using classic and newly- recorded music, interviews, oral histories and commentaries from researchers and scholars, the programs enhance the listeners’ appreciation of the music known as Latin Jazz. The emphasis is on the musicians’ own words, framed by the program producers to express both personal and musical observations.
Heading the scholar panel is Max Salazar, former Latin music radio host, Senior Editor of Latin Beat Magazine and author of Mambo Kingdom: Latin Music in New York. Joining Max are, among others, Professor Steve Loza of the University of California-Los Angeles Department of Ethnomusicology and author of Tito Puente and Making of Latin Music; and Raul Fernandez of the University of California-Riverside, author of the Smithsonian Institution’s publication/traveling educational exhibit Latin Jazz: The Perfect Combination/La Combinacion Perfecta.
The second area of work is the production of programs that combine spontaneous musical performance and conversation between musicians. Currently in production is the series Caliente! Latin Jazz with Eddie Palmieri, where Eddie and his special musical guests converse and perform with the Palmieri rhythm section and guest jazz soloists. The guests include top names in jazz, Latin jazz and world music. The project received its largest grant to date, from CPB in 2005. The funds are supporting the production of four one-hour programs for broadcast in the fall of 2006. Public Radio International (PRI) will market and distribute the programs free to all public radio stations.
Ritmo Latino seeks partnerships with private and public foundations, institutions and individuals. To learn more, contact project manager Lou McElroy at 303-277-1371. You can email Lou at firstname.lastname@example.org.