The live programming includes a special edition of Microteatro, a mini-festival of 15-minute plays performed in converted cargo containers, which the center has been staging in its rear patio for more than a year. Called Por Mi Fa Sol La Si, it is a music-themed group of plays with titles such as Super Tango Man and Salsa Scene.
There is an Afro-Cuban dance workshop for children and flamenco classes for adults, concerts of music by Cuban composer Ernesto Lecuona and Spanish Baroque composer Padre Antonio Soler. A documentary film series includes The Accordion Kings, about Colombian vallenato, and Si Sos Brujo (“If you’re a magician,” an Argentine expression about confronting impossible situations), about a tango-orchestra school in Buenos Aires.
Music educator and critic Fernando Gonzalez, who helped organize the live events, says that while the idea of Latin American music as a tripartite hybrid is not new, the experience of exploring and listening to the many ways in which it evolved is often revelatory.
The exhibit illuminates “how all the different sources connect,” says Gonzalez, who writes for the Miami Herald. “To see how vallenato singers sing and say it sounds like a Mexican mariachi singer. We have this idea it’s all a mix of these different influences. Now we see how these influences have been absorbed differently in different places, that it’s not the same in Cuba as it is in Brazil or Montevideo.”
Sensitive to the bloody history of Spanish conquest, Recasens says he and the other Tres Bandas organizers made sure that the scholarship behind the exhibit was Latin American, not European.
“All the experts are from Latin America,” he says. “We wanted to be very conscious of this, to give them an important role, so that the music was not perceived as coming from a Spanish point of view.”
Indeed, Recasens says, Spain and the rest of Europe could learn much from Latin America.
“In Europe we still don’t have the kind of ethnic composition that there is in Latin America. This exhibit gives voice to this phenomenon that is one of the greatest virtues of the American continent — its cultural richness, the enormous, multicultural, fantastic richness that it has in this crossroads of culture.”