October 9th, 2009

¿Como Se Dice “Talking Head” en Español?

I’m excited to announce, for a couple reasons, that next week PBS will begin airing the 4-part series, “Latin Music USA.” Episode 1 (Latin Jazz, Mambo) and Episode 2 (Salsa) will air on Monday, October 12; Episode 3 (Chicano Rock, Tejano, Norteño) and Episode 4 (Latin Pop, Reggaeton) will air the following Monday, October 19. It’s an ambitious and salutary project —

Latin Music USA is a story about American music. Fusions of Latin sounds with jazz, rock, country, rhythm and blues – music with deeper roots and broader reach than most people realize. It’s a fresh take on our musical history, reaching across time and across musical genres to embrace the exciting hybrid sounds created by Latinos; musical fusions that have deeply enriched popular music in the US for over more than five decades.

The multi-media project is anchored by a four-hour documentary series that will premiere in October 2009, during Hispanic Heritage Month, on PBS stations nationwide. Produced by a world-class production team at WGBH and the BBC, Latin Music USA invites the audience into the vibrant musical conversation between Latinos and non-Latinos that has helped shape the history of popular music in the United States. Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15th-Oct. 15th), a time to recognize the contributions of Hispanic Americans to the United States and to celebrate Hispanic heritage and culture, offers the series a perfect opportunity to further honor these influences. (via)

As if the series’ ambition and tribute to the USA’s Latin roots/routes wasn’t enough to be excited about, they’ve given me (and maybe you, dear reader) an additional reason to be enthused: Episode 4, touching on reggaeton and Latin hip-hop, features my first appearance as a TV talking head! That I get to offer some commentary alongside big dogs like Daddy Yankee and Tego Calderon, never mind the vast slate of distinguished musicians, producers, journalists, and scholars also featured in the series, is a humbling and awesome thing to report.

thx to the enormous room for the classy backdrop!

You can get a taste via a couple clips on their website, wherein I think I acquit myself ok:

1) me talking bout reggae en Panama después de Yankee discussing dembow
2) me talking bout Puerto Rican / Nuyorican hip-hop & reggaeton’s blingy incursions

I highly recommend poking around on the website. It’s quite flashy and interactive — you can browse texts, audio, and video by navigating swirling networks of places, genres, instruments, rhythms, and more. Check out, for example, the “universe” of Latin Jazz.

This series is a big experiment for PBS, a deviation from the standard programming targeting the PBS core audience (i.e., Masterpiece Theater, Antiques Roadshow). According to one of my contacts at PBS, they’re aware that the primary audience for this series (Latinos) does not typically watch PBS, and they’re hoping it will attract viewers from all over the spectrum. So, tusabes, plz help em out on their socialmedia campaign by friending, fanning, RTing, etcccc —

Special thanks to Juan Camilo Agudelo & Adriana Bosch for involving me in the project — congratulations on its completion, y’all, and all the best with reaching the vast viewership it deserves!


  • 1. Rupture  |  October 9th, 2009 at 12:26 pm

    QUE BUENO!! here’s to many more talking head appearance of Professor Marshall — i mean, Wayne & Wax.


  • 2. /r  |  October 9th, 2009 at 12:31 pm

    in Spanish, closest thing i know of to “talking head” would be ‘tertuliano’. which isn’t that close.

  • 3. Nina  |  October 10th, 2009 at 3:15 pm


  • 4. Arroz Con Beans | Wayne &&hellip  |  October 10th, 2009 at 3:41 pm

    […] Wayne Marshall of Wayne & Wax waxin’ bombastic on PBS’ Latin Music USA. Wayne Marshall droppin dat bass on PBS? Wayne Marshall waxin’ that knowledge like raindance on PBS. […]

  • 5. Nina  |  October 10th, 2009 at 3:45 pm

    That’s so cool. I’m very pleased and even proud. Way to go!

  • 6. jose luis  |  October 10th, 2009 at 5:33 pm

    I ‘d be great if we can keep in touch. We can share a lot of stuff about latin music…If you know spanish, you can enjoy my blog, cheers.

  • 7. jose luis  |  October 22nd, 2009 at 12:58 pm

    I’ve just seen all Latin Music USA and althoguh is a very good way to introduce to Latin Music it’s very sad that in any moment of the doc it try to connect the historical feedback between Latin America and the US, cause we know all Latin Music is based on that.

    I know you stuff is related to hip hop and reggaeton and in my blog i wrote this stuff related about relation between rap, rock, reggae and reggaeton in latin music (in spanish), cheers:







  • 8. wayneandwax  |  October 22nd, 2009 at 2:53 pm

    Thanks for pointing me to those posts, Jose Luis. I appreciate your history of reggaeton, especially the thread of rock & roots reggae you weave through it. That’s an important part of the history of reggae in Latin America even if, at least as I understand it, those “reggae” “scenes” existed quite apart from the artists who embraced dancehall. (The Puerto Rican roots reggae scene, for example, with a few exceptions, was rather distinct from what became known as reggaeton).

    I especially like your disclaimer !

    OJO: No se recomiendo esta lectura si eres un cuadriculado de algún género musical en especial, o si consideradas que algún género podría debería desaparecer simplemente porque no lo entiendes o no te gusta o es ajeno al ambiente donde te desarrollas.

    Finally, I quite agree that emphasizing the links between Latin America and the US, as opposed to focusing on stuff happening on US soil, is really crucial to telling the story of Latin Music.

  • 9. stephen  |  October 28th, 2009 at 1:39 pm

    Caught this on PBS the other night and was delighted to see you included – it is a great documentary that shows the sometimes invisible links between musical forms, influences and that continual cycle of music. Thanks.

  • 10. Frikstailers  |  November 4th, 2009 at 1:45 pm

    Felicitaciones Wayne! Is there any link to see the whole thing online? We don´t have PBS in Argentina!
    Un abrazo grande desde Cordoba

  • 11. wayneandwax  |  November 4th, 2009 at 1:51 pm

    hey rafa — yes, the whole thing can be watched online now. you can see the section on reggaeton, featuring yours truly, here:

    and from there you can navigate through any of the four episodes.



I'm a techno-musicologist, internet annotator, imagined community organizer.

I left my <3 in the digital global, but I reside in Cambridge, MA, where I'm from.

I represent like that.

wayne at wayneandwax dot com

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