After making music for nearly 50 years, Afro-Filipino R&B singer Joe Bataan deserves his title as the King of Latin Soul. But music is only part of his story. As the popularity of Latin soul music waned, Bataan, a former gang member, disappeared from the industry completely and spent 20 years as a juvenile counselor before returning to music in the late ’90s. He’ll perform his unique blend of boogaloo and brass, backed by a 10-piece band, in conjunction with the Smithsonian Latino Center. Preceding the show, he’ll discuss the black, Asian, and Latino justice movements of the late ’60s with dancer and activist Nobuko Miyamoto, former Young Lords member and radio host Mickey Melendez, and African-American studies professor Jeffrey O. G. Ogbar. Bataan’s music was once the soundtrack of the streets and while a lot of time has passed, recent videos show that his church-rooted vocals, cowbells, and percussive approach are still meaningful.
Joe Bataan performs at 6:30 p.m. at the Baird Auditorium, 10th Street and Constitution Avenue NW. Free. apa.si.edu. (202) 633-1240.