What would it take to bring together Tito Nieves, Jon Secada, La India, Jennifer Peña, and a handful of other Latin music superstars for one album? The answer is Michael Jackson. Well, Michael Jackson and an up-and-coming Peruvian-American salsa composer named Tony Succar, who masterminded a massive salsa tribute to the King of Pop entitled The Unity Project and through sheer determination managed to bring together just about every contemporary salsa musician worth a damn to contribute to the album.
According to Wikipedia legend, the genesis of the project was a chance request Succar received for his Florida International University orchestra the year Michael Jackson tragically passed: a Latin cover of “Thriller.” Sort of like when the apple fell onto Newton’s head, this otherwise insignificant anecdote eventually turned into a number one album that had the honor of being performed in Miami this past summer. Airing as part of the PBS Arts Fall Festival and hosted by Sheila E., the concert special premieres on Friday, October 9.
In addition to the performers mentioned above and an enormous 37-piece orchestra, Unity: The Latin Tribute to Michael Jackson offers up a vague but moving message about unity for all human beings. And if you needed someone to reinforce the that, we can fully appreciate the message watching the two-minute teaser, which features the 21st century’s greatest salsa musicians speaking to Jackson’s legacy and the importance of this project.
Unity: The Latin Tribute to Michael Jackson airs October 9, 2015 at 9 p.m. on PBS.