Willie Bobo’s Life Celebrated in 12th Annual African American Composers Series

Spanish Grease: The Life and Sounds of Willie Bobo

The William Grant Still Arts Center presents “Spanish Grease: The Life and Sounds of Willie Bobo” as their latest installation for the 12th Annual African American Composer Series.

The exhibition kicks off on March 7 and runs thrugh June 13th. It will feature a never-before-released look into the life of Latin percussionist Willie Bobo.

The collection is set to display an array of family photos, documents, ephemera, and discography, allowing visitors to get a more intimate look into his life and career. It will also touch on the impactful relationships throughout his career, with those like Mongo Santamaria, Armando Peraza, Tito Puente, Richard Pryor, Cal Tjader, and the continuation of his legacy through his son, Eric Bobo. The exhibition lays out Bobo’s influence in Latin music as well as contemporary American music. Both of which focused on roots in African rhythms from Puerto Rico and New York, where he originally got his start playing bongos at age 14. Tracing his career that boomed throughout the 1960s with original hits like “Spanish Grease” and “Fried Neck Bones and Some Home Fries,” the series will dive into his later contributions in California during the early 1970’s as well. The in-depth exhibition is paired with a collaborative free education program, teaching music and arts through these influential works.

The opening reception is free and will be held on March 7 from 3pm – 6pm at the William Grant Still Arts Center. The event will include performances by Marcus L. Miller with Project World Drum and special guests Angel Figueroa and Derf Reklaw, DJ – Ern Medina (Soul Assassins Radio) spinning vintage Willie Bobo, Turntablist Rhettmatic (Beat Junkies) doing a talking drum and beats set, and a very special appearance by Willie’s son Eric Bobo of Beastie Boys/Cypress Hill.

William Grant Still Arts Center
2520 S. West View Street
Los Angeles, CA 90016