The rhythm is going to get you. | Dr. Salvador Ferreras | TEDxKPU

05/11/2014 14:57:48

This talk was given at a local TEDx event, produced independently of the TED Conferences. North American audiences have had, since the early decades of the 20th century, a conflicted relationship with Latin American culture and its place within the mainstream. Even though it has been decades since being “Latino” was anywhere near exotic in North America, our popular culture and our advertising campaigns still feature bizarre juxtapositions and cultural references that conflate distinct cultures into common and often ridiculous images and representations.

Today, Latinos represent 17% of the US population, and in states like California and New Mexico they represent the largest ethnic group even beyond the so-called white population. In Canada, 1.2% of residents are of Latino origin by birth or ancestry.

How has Latino culture insinuated itself into North American popular culture? One of the most effective ways has been through music and its portrayal in films, TV, radio and now other mainstream web-based media.

Today’s Ted Talk will reveal some of the most influential musical “change agents” that made Latino culture palatable to a homogenous audience unfamiliar with its sounds and unaware of its ubiquitous presence in urban cultures.

This talk will explore music as a catalyst, as a bridge, and as a proxy for acceptance and tolerance.

Beginning with the then “controversial” I Love Lucy Show, through to Broadway’s West Side Story, and the eclectic New York-Miami-LA music scenes, Santana and Marc Anthony, the talk will uncover how a large part of our popular soundscape has been shaped and influenced by latino culture and how it got there.


A member of the British Columbia Entertainment Hall of Fame, Dr. Salvador Ferreras is percussionist first and foremost but also a dedicated music educator and producer. His solo and collaborative work is heard regularly on national radio as performer, host and commentator on contemporary classical, traditional, and Latin American music. He has performed on a variety of highly acclaimed recordings ranging from rock to classical music, with such artists at the CBC Radio Orchestra, Viveza, Chicago, k.d. lang, Veda Hille, Michael Blake, Hedley, Robbie Robertson and Raffi. An active member of the community, Sal serves on the Board of Arts Umbrella, Rosario Ancer Flamenco Arts Society in addition to an active performing and recording schedule.

Sal holds a PhD in Ethnomusicology from the University of British Columbia. Sal brings extensive academic and administrative experience to his role at Kwantlen Polytechnic University KPU. Most recently, he was the Vice-President of Education and Student Services at Vancouver Community College VCC. He has been an instructor at a number of Canadian post-secondary institutions including the University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University, the University of Victoria and the University of Windsor.


About TEDx, x independently organized event In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.* *Subject to certain rules and regulations

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