Manuel S. Acuña

Manuel S. Acuña was an orchestra leader, composer, record producer, and talent scout for Vocalion, Columbia, and Imperial, who eventually started and operated the Colonial label. As a scout, Acuña discovered, wrote, arranged, and recorded for many future stars, including Las Hermanas Padilla, Los Madrugadores, and Adelina García. Acuña also had a small studio group, Los Costeños, who accompanied many artists on recording sessions in LA.

Through their writing, recording, promotional, and distribution work, these leaders helped create a rich musical ecosystem in Los Angeles. But it fell to the record labels to connect the artists with their listeners across the state. As it turned out, the 1940s were the beginning of the golden age of regional labels in California.