Have you ever tried mixing like the DJs on South Beach? Have you wondered how Miami became headquarters of the Latin music industry? Check out the “Music Música” exhibit at the Miami Science Museum to find out.
Guests step into “American Sabor,” the first half of the bilingual exhibit, which is dedicated to the role Latinos have played in shaping popular music. Sabor means taste in Spanish, a perfect adjective for the bright plaques and rhythmic Latin music that greet visitors.
“American Sabor” is divided into five Latin music hubs: New York City, Miami, Los Angeles, San Antonio and San Francisco. Informative displays, video performances, oral histories and listening stations allow visitors to appreciate the struggles and achievements of Latin musicians. In NYC, visitors can enjoy the Latin-influenced introduction to “Rapper’s Delight.” Then, in the Miami section, watch a performance by the Spam Allstars, who will return to the 305 in March for Langerado. Relive the days of Lowriders and Latin punk with interviews from members of Los Illegals and The Brat in L.A. In San Francisco, the congas played by Santana percussionist Michael Carabello are present for viewing, and curious attendees can learn to play the opening hook of “Oye Como Va” on the exhibit’s interactive keyboard.
“American Sabor” also features Latin musicians who were often forced to hide their ethnic backgrounds.
“Ritchie Valens was popular when I was growing up,” said Pete Nelson, a tourist from Iowa. “I didn’t realize he was of Mexican descent.”
After crossing the wooden mambo dance floor, visitors enter “Access All Areas,” the second half of “Music Música,” which is an exploration of the history, art and science behind producing, performing and listening to music. The interactive displays compensate for the academia of “American Sabor.” Unlike most museums, visitors are encouraged to be loud. Go ahead and belt out The Police’s “Every Breath You Take” on a karaoke machine, or pound out a song by jumping on the keys of a giant piano like in Big. Explore the future of music by playing a laser harp or, for the more outgoing, hop in front of a green screen to make a personalized music video. Music trivia buffs will enjoy studying the car Brian Eno decorated for the cover of U2’s Achtung Baby, taking a virtual tour of Abbey Road studio or answering trivia about designers of famous rock albums like the Rolling Stones’ Sticky Fingers.
Marlene Hawkins, the museum’s director of Retail and Visitor Services, explained the exhibit’s appeal, saying, “Most everybody loves music. Everyone who walks through the exhibit will find a common bond. One thing the museum is trying to do is bring people together.”
Most would agree, judging from children frantically twisting display knobs ten feet from couples listening to their favorite song. The museum, just a 15-minute drive north on US 1 from campus, is hosting “Music Música” until Feb. 22 and offers a $16 student rate.
If You Go
What: The “Music Música” exhibit
When: Daily through Feb. 22 from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. (box office closes at 5:30 p.m.)
Where: Miami Science Museum, 3280 South Miami Avenue
Miami, FL 33129
Cost: $16 with student ID