Latinos in Illinois & the US: Music as a Cultural History presented by Catalina Johnson, Ph.D.

The McLean County Museum of History is pleased to welcome Chicago-based journalist Catalina Maria Johnson, Ph.D., for an illustrated presentation (augmented with musical samplings) exploring Latino music as a source of history for the Latinx community. This program is on Saturday, August 6 at 1:00 p.m. at the Normal Public Library in their Community Room. This program is free, open to the public, and sponsored by a grant from Illinois Humanities.
Music can be viewed and “read” as a tool that shares peoples’ cultural values, roots, and history. Over the years, numerous Latino musical genres have shared the concerns of Latinos throughout the years. For example, there are songs about immigrant woes of the early 20th century to today.
This program focuses on a broad overview of milestones the last 75 years of music in the Latino U.S. as a way of understanding the history, roots, and concerns of Latinos in this land. With a particular emphasis on Mexican and Puerto Rican musicians in Illinois as Latino populations that have profoundly marked the state’s culture and music.
Johnson hosts and produces her own radio show, Beat Latino, which airs in Chicago on Vocalo (Chicago Public Media). She is also a regular contributor to NPR, Bandcamp, Downbeat and other outlets and a member of the editorial board of Revista Contratiempo.
Johnson credits the tenacious insistence of a Mexican mom and a German/Swedish dad for the extraordinary gift of a bilingual and bicultural heritage. Thanks to them, she grew up between two cities; St. Louis, Missouri, and San Luis Potosi, Mexico. Johnson’s music journalism explores the extraordinary diversity of the global music scene with an emphasis on Latin and Latino music—from the most traditional roots music to cutting-edge electronic grooves. It is also very important to her to focus on the cultural riches that immigrants bring to the country of destiny, an invaluable and often unrecognized gift.
PLEASE NOTE: The capacity for this event is limited to 80 people. Face masks are recommended but not required to attend this program. Questions? Or for more information, please contact the Education Department at education@mchistory.org or (309) 827-0428.
Illinois Humanities is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the Illinois General Assembly [through the Illinois Arts Council Agency (IACA)], as well as by contributions from individuals, foundations, and corporations. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed by speakers, program participants, or audiences do not necessarily reflect those of the NEH, Illinois Humanities, IACA, our partnering organizations, or our funders.


Saturday, August 6, 2022
12:00 pm - 2:30 pm

Cost: Free


Normal Public Library-Community Room 206 W College Ave Normal Illinois 61761 (309) 827-0428

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