While so much of Latino culture has been embraced and integrated into everyday life here in Arizona, there's one biggie that hasn't broken through yet. Really, when was the last time you spotted a Salsa song on the Top 40? Or didn't blow by the Spanish stations on your FM dial? Admit it, you want the burrito, but hold the salsa. Just don't tell Chapito. Now 99, Rafael “Chapito” Chavarria has devoted more decades to enriching Arizona's culture with Latino music than most of us could possibly fathom. Long before mash-ups were cool, Chavarria's bands were mashing American swing with the rhythms of Mexico City and they were doing it in downtown Phoenix.
Chapito's work is being recognized with an exhibit at the Musical Instrument Museum, 4725 East Mayo Boulevard, which will also be celebrating the Arizona legend's 100th birthday from noon to 4 p.m. on Sunday, April 6. The event is free with price of admission, which is $18 for adults. Visit www.mim.org or call 480-478-6000 for details.