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September 28, 1999 - Image 9

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The Michigan Daily, 1999-09-28

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The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, September 28 1999 - 9

Latin music returns to America
with wave of new pop starlets

IV

la Ward and Marin Hinkle play a mother-daughter combo in "Once and Again."
Once and Again,'
Zwick's seres shines

By Sara Stillman
For the Daily
From the Emmy award-winning
*cutive producers Marshall
Herskovitz and Edward Zwick ("thir-
tysomething," "My So-Called Life"),
ABC's "Once and Again" closes the
gap between Generation-X and the
Baby Boomers. Sure to attract view-

Once and
Again
ABC
Tuesdays at 10 p.m.

ers of all ages,
"Once and Again"
realistically cap-
tures the confusing
and ageless issues
of life, love and
growing up.
Anyone under the
impression that
relationships
become easier with
age is not a
divorced parent.
Likewise, anyone

parents' meeting leads to instant
attraction and thus, begins a relation-
ship that has more people involved
than those swooning from the first
kiss.
Lily and Rick, both loving parents,
try to do what is best for their chil-
dren, while at the same time, try to
regain a life that they had forgotten
existed.
Both parents and their children
deal with the issues of dating, sex and
life in the series premiere of "Once
and Again." However, the underlying
common ground that all adolescents
face and more adults are starting to
embrace is the issue of self-discov-
ery.
"Once and Again," employing a
style similar to MTV's "The Real
World" confessionals, has the charac-
ters come face-to-face with the cam-
era and their own self. During these
times of self-reflection, the viewer
gets an inside look at the psychologi-
cal make-up of the character.
"Once and Again" is an engaging
series that confronts difficult topics
in the wake of divorce. With witty
lines and realistic characters, "Once
and Again" is easy to relate to on
many different levels because the
show is multi-faceted.
With a strong cast of characters,
"Once and Again" hits a highpoint
for ABC, bringing one of their best
series this season.

The Baltimore Sun
Marc Anthony. Mana. Shakira.
Elvis Crespo. Luis Miguel. Jaguares.
Jaci Velasquez. Los Fabulosos
Cadillacs.
Their names might not ring a bell
right now, but if current trends con-
tinue, most of them will be familiar
soon enough, as the stars of Latin
pop cross over into the Anglo main-
stream. Already this year, both
Enrique Iglesias and former Menudo
member Rick Martin have topped the
Billboard singles chart, while Mana
and the Buena Vista Social Club are
gaining ground on the albums chart.
According to the industry buzz,
Latin pop is music's Next Big Thing.
This isn't the first time Latin
music has invaded the American
charts. In the 1930s, almost every
dance band in America had at least a
couple rumbas and tangos in its
repertoire (even if the arrangements
were so heavily Americanized that
Latin listeners barely could recog-
nize the rhythms). But the biggest
boom came in the early '50s, when
the mambo and cha-cha were intro-
duced.
But what constitutes Latin pop
today?
Merely having a Hispanic surname
does not make a singer a Latin pop
star. Jennifer Lopez might have
played Latin pop phenom Selena in
the movies, but with her own album,
"On the 6," Lopez comes across as
the New York-born pop/soul singer
she is in real life. Nor is there any-
thing particularly Latin about the
sound of Christina Aguilera's self-
titled debut (much of which was
recorded in Sweden).
In fact, the notion that Latin pop is
a specific musical style is mislead-
ing. Here in America, the Latin
music market is divided into three
segments: Tropical, Regional
Mexican and plain old Pop.
Musically, these styles resemble
one another about as closely as hip-
hop resembles country. The Tropical
style's roots are in Cuba and the
Caribbean, best-known through the
brassy, percussive sound of salsa; the
Regional Mexican style stresses gui-
tar, violin and accordion, as heard in
mariachi and "Tex-Mex" music. The
Pop end of the Latin market offers
everything from big, string-soaked
ballads to raucous, electric-guitar-
powered rockers.
What makes it Latin is language.
Whereas most of the releases on the
mainstreatp charts are recorded in
English, recordings aimed at the
Latin market are made in Spanish.
Crossover occurs when an artist who
previously has appealed only to
Spanish-speaking music fans ends
up with an equally large audience of

English-speakers.
It's not necessary to "habla
Espanol" to understand the appeal of
Latin music. But it does help to
know the difference between
merengue and mariachi. What fol-
lows is a brief guide to the major
movements in Latin pop.
Tropical
Veteran rock star Carlos Santana
likes to say, "People call what we do
Latin, Spanish, whatever, but we're
all playing African music." Nowhere
is that more true than in the music of
Cuba.
As with American popular music,
the African influence on Cuban
music has its roots in slavery. In the
1700s, the Catholic church in Cuba
created "cabildos," or mutual aid
societies, which allowed the Africans
to restore the tribal identities slavery
sought to abolish. One of the results
of the cabildos was the formation of
several Afro-Cuban religious strains,
complete with ritual music styles.
Those Afro-Cuban beliefs survive
today as Santeria, while echoes of
the ritual music - particularly the
drumming, which has sacred impor-
tance to Santeria - can be heard in
almost every form of Tropical Latin
music, particularly salsa. People
interested in hearing Afro-Cuban rit-
ual music in its pure form should
look for either "Cuba: Les danses
des dieux" (Ocora 559051), a Radio
France recording of various rites, or
"Sacred Rhythms of Cuban
Santeria" (Smithsonian Folkways
40 egional Mexican
Given the number of Mexican
immigrants who have come to
America, it's makes sense that pop
based on Mexican traditional music
is enormously popular in Texas and
the Southwest. What may seem sur-
prising is that some of this music is
more American than it is Mexican.
Pop
A popular misconception about
Latin pop is that it is exotic, fiery,
mysterious and strange.
Because Latin musicians are gen-
erally familiar with Anglo-American
music trends, contemporary Latin
pop runs the gamut from sweet, mid-
dle-of-the-road balladry to the edgi-
est hip-hop, hard rock and house
music. One of the great ironies of
Gloria Estefan's career is that the
music she made with the Miami
Sound Machine when the group's
audience was mostly Spanish-speak-
ing was less salsa-based than her big
crossover hits, "Conga" and "Bad
Boy."
For years, the most popular Latin
pop singer was Spanish balladeer
Julio Iglesias, and his sons, Enrique
and Julio, Jr. (both of whom have

Courtesy of Columbia Records
Carlos Santana continues to score music hits with this year's collaborative effort.

- 'who believes that
the teenage years
tithe best years of one's life must
have repressed memories of high
school. And everyone who thinks no
one understands should watch this
new romantic, family drama "Once
and Again."
The series stars Sela Ward
("Sisters") as Lily, a divorced mother
of two daughters (played by Julia
Whelan and Meredith Deane) and
''Campbell as Rick, a divorced
1 and of two adolescents (Shane
West and Evan Rachel Wood). The

English language releases due this
fall), seem likely to create a some-
thing of a Latin pop dynasty.
Nor are they atypical of the field,
as singers like Ricky Martin, Luis
Miguel, Juan Gabriel, Cristian, Ana
Gabriel and Carlos Ponce offer a
similarly melodic, pop-savvy sound.
Others draw from traditional
sources but update their music with
electronic beats and rock or soul
influences. Marc Anthony, for exam-
ple, plays off salsa rhythms in his
music, but is by no means a strict tra-
ditionalist, and much the same can
be said for stars like Elvis Crespo
and India.
Then there's rock en Espanol, the
Latin rock movement, which has
gained a growing market here in the
United States. At the forefront of this
movement is Mana, whose albums
routinely go gold in America, but
Shakira, Puya, Molotov, Los Amigos

Invisibles, and Los Fabulosos
Cadillacs have also made significant
inroads into the American scene.
Apart from language, these acts
have little in common. Mana, for
example, boasts a majestic, tuneful
sound that could be described a a
cross between Live and Bon Jovi
(though there's a strong Santana
influence to their current album,
"MTV Unplugged"). As a vocalist,
Shakira could pass for Alanis
Morissette's kid sister, but her songs
have more in common with Paula
Cole's soul-based sound.
Los Fabulosos Cadillacs do pop
ska more skillfully and interestingly
than No Doubt; Molotov's hip-
hop/hard rock fusion is in the same
league as Limp Bizkit's; Puya plays
the sort of thrash Godsmack fans live
for; and Los Amigos Invisibles are
devoted P-Funk acolytes.

Angel,' 'Roswell' bolster the

WB

Los Angeles Times
Don't worry if you're a baby boomer
who secretly watches the WB Network.
are not alone.
Ithough the network's series are pop-
ulated with beautiful teen and twen-
tysomething stars, the median age of
viewers is about 26. "So half the people
who are watching us are older than that,"
saysSuzanne Daniels, president ofenter-
tainment for the WB. "My parents, who
are in their 60s, called me. They went to
a dinner party and everyone there was
talking about 'Dawson's Creek.' "
aniels is counting on that age spread
continuing as WB kicks off the fourth
season of one of its most popular series,
"Btffy the Vampire Slayer" and adds
two more paranormal series to the line-
up. "Angel," the "Buffy" spinoff, fol-
lows the adventures of Buffy's vampire
love (David Boreanaz) who moved to
Los Angeles to fight off vampires and
other assorted demons. It is paired with
"Bufly" on Tuesdays.
following "Dawson's Creek" on
nesday is the premiere of the net-
work's acclaimed new sci-fi series,
"Roswell."
The romantic drama deals with a high
school student (Shiri Appleby) who dis-
Spacey.
Bentley.
'Beauty.'

covers that the classmate (Jason Behr)
she adores is actually one of three teen
aliens from an unknown planet.
Regardless of age, the common theme
that brings in viewers of all ages is the
shows' roots in climactic teen-age years,
according to Daniels.
"There are a lot of firsts," says
Daniels. "Everyone remembers all of
their firsts. It's like a commonality to the
experience that people went through in
high school."
"When people give them a chance, if
they ignore the information that's telling
them it's only for teens, they are always
surprised how intelligently the shows are
written," says Kate Juergens, senior vice
president of comedy and drama develop-
ment. "These shows do have teen char-
acters and dilemmas you face when you
are young, but if they didn't appeal to us,
and we are in our 30s, we wouldn't buy
them."
Daniels also suggests that "Buffy,"
"Angel" and "Roswell" reflect the new
millennium. "I am not a psychologist,"
she says. "But it is my job at the same
time to try and identify trends. With the
end of the millennium there is a certain
kind of back to basics being embraced ...
back to spirituality. I think these shows

all have a way into tapping in on that."
"Angel," which also stars Charisma
Carpenter from "Buffy" and Glenn
Quinn, has been in the planning stages
for the past couple of years by "Buffy"
creator and executive producer Joss
Whedon.
"When Joss first mentioned it I got
excited immediately," says Daniels.
"David Boreanaz was a day player and
from the moment we all set eyes on him,
it was like who is this guy and how fast
can we sign him to a contract. He
brought a lot to 'Buffy,' but we also felt
there were new challenges that Joss had
in store for 'Buffy' conceptually. We cer-
tainly trusted Joss enough to make the
changes - growing the show up a bit,
taking her to college - while at the
same time explaining who is Angel (in
the new series), because there were so
many unanswered questions."
The action-oriented "Angel," says
Daniels, does skew a bit older. "That was
the plan actually," she says. "This would
be a 9 o'clock show - an ultimate com-
panion piece with 'Buffy.' " The WB
hopes "Angel" also will draw more male
viewers. "We want to keep the audience
we have," says Juergens.
"Our core audience is female. We do

get a lot of male viewers, but our shows
at this point service women more direct-
ly than they do men. 'Buffy' does have a
large male audience, which I think hav-
ing Angel' after it, which is sort of a
more male piece, will be great for that
and sort of broadens our audience a bit
more."
"Roswell," initially developed at Fox,
definitely has a female appeal. But, says
Daniels, that's not why she jumped at the
chance to put it on the WB. "It was just a
great show," she says. "I got asked by a
reporter recently, 'How many more of
these high school shows are you going to
developT My response was, 'As many of
them that are fantastic and I can develop or
get my hands on basically.' That's how I
feel. The show came in and knocked
everybody away. We loved the characters."
Daniels and Juergens are also big fans
of "Roswell" executive producer Jason
Katims, he of "My So-Called Life" and
"Relativity" fame. "A lot of times you
spend an entire year on a pilot and it's
fantastic. And then you have less than a
month to get the next episode together
and (the writer-producers) can't do it,"
says Daniels. "We really believed Jason
was somebody who had a lot of experi-
ence and could."

Courtesy of the wa
David Boreanaz stars as Angel in the "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" spinoff.

Martin I Powers
Professor of History ofArt and
Sally Michelson Davidson Professor of Chinese Arts and Cultures-

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