When the PBS travelogue series “Music Voyager” offers its segment on Hollywood on WPBT Tuesday night you’ll enjoy the unique local sounds the show discovered, but you’ll also see that our funky little city has never looked so good.
Hosted by ethnomusicologist Jacob Edgar, founder of the world-music label Cumbancha, “Music Voyager” was in South Florida for five days in December, lured by a free ArtsPark performance by Spanish flamenco star Antonio Carmona.
Edgar was interested in doing a show from Florida to air during the 500th anniversary of the arrival of Spanish explorer Ponce de León and was redirected from his original target, Miami, by his contacts at the Rhythm Foundation, a Miami-based nonprofit cultural organization that helps coordinate some progamming at the ArtsPark.
For Edgar, who has captured indigenous music in Africa, Europe, Asia and the Caribbean, the diversity of Hollywood was something of a revelation.
“People in Hollywood aren’t going to tell you to turn DOWN the volume,” Edgar says in a voiceover, flipping the South Florida retiree cliché. “In fact, the streets of its historic downtown are throbbing with music of all types.”
“Music Voyager” cameras follow Edgar up and down Hollywood Boulevard and beyond, lingering at places such as Cuenca Cigars, Resurrection Drums and Le Tub. Muralist LEBO gets quality time in front of his signature paintings at Young Circle, and Edgar spends an evening with Eddie Balzola of the band Oriente, who introduces him to the dancing-and-dominoes scene outside Cuenca Cigars. Edgar calls it “one of Hollywood’s social hubs.”
Owner Ana Cuenca says the show had called her in advance for permission to film at Cuenca Cigars, but she was surprised by the number of people who seemed to be following “Music Voyager” around town.
“We didn’t promote it, but all these people showed up. Once the music started, it was amazing,” she says.
Flamenco star Carmona is shown in multiple settings, including a rehearsal in a dazzling art gallery, his song becoming a soundtrack for scenes of the palm-dotted Hollywood Beach, the Broadwalk, canals, bridges and homes of Spanish and Art Deco architecture, all bathed in warm early evening light. The show concludes with a unique overhead shot of Carmona’s packed ArtsPark performance, showing the lights stretching from the energetic bustle of downtown to the beach. For one night, Hollywood looks like the coolest place on Earth.
If you want to see the 30-minute show with fellow local musicologists, Cuenca Cigars (1928 Harrison St.) will hold a watch party where owner Ana Cuenca plans to show “Music Voyager” on a big screen out on the patio. The party will include 20 percent off her wine selection and more than 40 bottled beers. In the event of rain, the show will be seen on TVs in the lounge. The show will air on WPBT-Ch. 2 at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, with a repeat at 10:30 p.m. July 12. Info: 866-417-9454, Facebook.com/Cuenca.Cigars.Hollywood.