Billboard Bits: Santana, RMAT, Pizzicato FiveC

News on Carlos Santana, Milagro Foundation, Rhino Musical Aptitude Test, Pizzicato Five

The University Of California At Los Angeles (UCLA) plans to honor Carlos and Deborah Santana with its Cesar E. Chavez Spirit Award. The famed guitarist and his wife will be honored for their humanitarian work with the Milagro Foundation, an organization the couple founded in 1998 to serve the needs of at-risk and disadvantaged youth through educational, arts and health programs.

The couple will be honored March 28 during a ceremony at UCLA, three days before Chavez's birthday. Chavez, a civil rights champion and the former United Farm Workers labor leader, died in 1993. The award, established last year, is given to individuals embodying Chavez's "goals, principles, humanitarian vision and ideal of service to others." Last year's recipient was actor/activist Martin Sheen, star of NBC's "The West Wing.''

Rhino Records will once again stage the Rhino Musical Aptitude Test (RMAT) on May 17 at Tower Records locations around the country. The RMAT is an hour-long, open-book test that consists of 305 questions designed to find the ultimate music geek. Tower stores in Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Sacramento, and Seattle, as well as select stores in London, Dublin, Tokyo, and Mexico City, will be transformed to a classroom setting -- complete with school desks -- for the test.

Winners in each city will receive a home theater system, DVD player, and 100 Rhino CDs. The grand prize winner will take home a big screen television with the home theater system, and be permanently placed on Rhino's new release mailing list. The test will also be administered on Rhino's Web site.

Japanese electro-pop veterans Pizzicato Five are calling it quits after 15 years. Yasuharu Konishi and Nomiya Maki have announced they will play one final show as Pizzicato Five on March 31 in their hometown of Tokyo, then part ways to concentrate on other projects, including solo careers.

The duo made its U.S. debut in 1994 with "Made In USA" (Matador), and continued to foster appreciation for its eclectic blend of samples, disco-flavored pop, and cocktail lounge music through last year's "The Fifth Release On Matador." Still, the U.S. never proved as big a market as the band's home country, where they consistently placed in the top-40 and enjoyed mass commercial success throughout most of their lifespan.

The group is slated to release a greatest hits package in conjunction with the breakup.

-- Troy Carpenter, N.Y.>


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