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The Gladys Palmera collection seeks a new home

The Spanish-Panamanian radio broadcaster wants to move her unique collection of records from Madrid to the U.S.

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In 1999, Spanish-Panamanian entrepreneur Alejandra Fierro Eleta founded Radio Gladys Palmera in Barcelona. It was a radio station specializing in Latin American music. 

Passionate from a young age about Latin American music thanks to the records her father brought her from his business trips in the region, Fierro began broadcasting from home and based her radio plays on her own private collection of records and vinyls.

Twenty-three years later, Radio Gladys Palmera is still fully operational in Madrid, where the station moved to in 2008, and its offices house more than 60,000 records, 50,000 CDs and countless vinyls and cassettes ranging from bolero to rock, salsa and reggaeton. It forms the largest private archive of Latin American music in the world.

These days, however, Fierro is thinking of moving her collection across the Atlantic to the U.S., so it can be better cared for and gain more visibility. 

“I’m trying to find a space for all this because I’m 63 and my health isn’t good,” she says. “This is a temple to music and I want to donate it all.”

Fierro has set her conditions: she doesn't want it displayed in a conventional museum, but in  “a buzzing place with a multi-use space for concerts and exhibitions.”

The collection includes not only records and vinyls, but also video recordings, brochures, magazines, old movie posters, dresses of famous singers and personal memorabilia, among other things, which the founder of Gladys Palmera collected professionally and artistically. 

Fierro has also done her own bit in her homeland. In 2009, she created La Escuelita del Ritmo, a music academy for poor children in Portobelo, a Panamanian town, and has created the Gladys Palmera Foundation to ensure the survival of her collection. 

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