Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Sandro has left the building....

Roberto Sanchez, better known as "Sandro" died on Jan. 4th from complications from heart and lung transplant surgery. He was one of Latin America's most beloved singers, known for his hip-shaking moves, black hair and love ballads, all of which earned him the title the "Elvis of Argentina."
Sandro's passing was big news in the region, and I'm happy to say that CNN deemed it worthy of international coverage. I reported live from outside the Argentine National Congress, where Sandro's body lay in repose the day after his death and where tens of thousands of people lined up to pay their final respects to him. It was a hot, chaotic day, made more challenging by technical difficulties with our equipment. During the first live shot, I had no audio, which means the anchor could hear me, but I couldn't hear the anchor. So after some scrambling and unsuccessful attempts at fixing the problem, we did it the old-fashioned way: a CNN en Espanol producer listened to the on-air audio over a cell phone and when the anchor "tossed" the story to me, he pointed his finger and I just started talking. Much to my surprise, it turned out well, with only a 1-second delay. You can watch that report here.
So as not to push my luck, I decided to retreat to the CNN bureau and do the second live shot from there, which went off without a hitch. Later, I wrote a tracked a package report about Sandro, using interviews we had conducted that day (including with some Sandro inpersonators) and archive footage. That report is here.
I'm definitely not a big fan of Sandro's music, but his impact on popular music in the Spanish-speaking world is undeniable, and by all accounts, he was a good guy too.
RIP, Sandro.