Latino USA

Archive for June, 2010

Latin Jazz

On this week’s Latino USA, we look at three diverse, unique, and immensely talented Latin Jazz artists that we’ve featured on the show. Hear interviews with Dafnis Prieto, Miguel Zenón, and Edmar Castañeda. And, hear some of their beautiful music.


Dafnis Prieto is a drummer, composer, and teacher. His music melds historically rich Afro-Cuban rhythms with the uniquely American genre of Jazz. Born in Cuba and educated in music since his childhood, Prieto has lived in New York for over ten years. Since his arrival on the American music scene, he’s been hailed as a virtuoso and revolutionary. In addition to being an incredibly talented musician, Prieto also composes for various performance media and teaches at NYU.


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Dafnis Prieto on the web.


Born and raised in San Juan, alto saxophonist Miguel Zenón is no slouch: Masters from the Manhattan School of Music, Grammy nominee, MacArthur Genius Grant recipient, and on, and on. Zenón has taught music around the world, and performed and recorded extensively both as a sideman and as a bandleader. His style is heavily influenced by the sounds of his native Puerto Rico.


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Miguel Zenón on the web..


You may not think that playing the harp fits the machismo stereotype of Latin American men…but just take one listen to Edmar Castañeda’s brilliant work and all you’ll be thinking about is the music. Colombian-born Castañeda performs solo, leads a trio, and plays in a quartet lead by Andrea Tierra (who also happens to be his wife.) The legendary Paquito D’Rivera said that Castañeda “has taken his harp out of the shadow to become one of the most original musicians from the Big Apple.”


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Edmar Castañeda on the web.

The First Annual Summer Jukebox

The Venezuelan band Dame Pa’ Matala is all about blending: politics and music, tradition and revolution, Venezuelan rhythms and the sounds of reggae and hip hop. They’re even too cool to have their own web site. Dame Pa’ Matala uses their music to advance the cause of peace in their home country.


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For more music from Dame Pa’ Matala check out their MySpace Music page.

Since 1999, Very Be Careful has brought audiences to their feet playing vallenato, a traditional form of music from Colombia. But VBC isn’t from Colombia…they hail from good old Los Angeles. Their accordion-based sound is a whole lot of Latin, with a good chunk of American too.


Right-click here to download an .mp3 of this segment.
Very Be Careful’s website.

What do you get when your band is half-Dominican, half-Colombian, with an address in the Bronx? The answer: Pacha Massive’s funky mix of Latin beats, bilingual lyrics, and genres ranging from dub to electronica. Dominican-born Nova and Colombian-born Maya have had their songs featured in movies, TV shows, and video games. The duo’s name is a play on pachamama, aka Mother Earth.


Right-click here to download an .mp3 of this segment.
Pacha Massive on the web.

Explaining Señor Coconut’s identity is no easy task. For starters, he’s got a list of pseudonyms as long as your arm. His real name is Uwe Schmidt… and if that sounds awfully Germanic for somebody going by “Señor,” well, you’re right. Born in Frankfurt, he moved to Chile in the 90s. His breakthrough album, El Baile Alemán, is a collection of Latin covers of the pioneering electronic group Kraftwerk. Go figure. His latest is called, appropriately enough, Around the World.


Right-click here to download an .mp3 of this segment.
Señor Coconut’s website
Fuerza Chile benefit album. (opens iTunes)

Imagine the tasty culinary combo of Tex-Mex in musical form, and you’ve got Los Texmaniacs. Bandleader Max Baca wails on the bajo sexto, a 12-string guitar-like instrument native to northern Mexico. Their most recent album, Borders y Bailes, snagged them a Grammy earlier this year for Best Tejano Album.


Right-click here to download an .mp3 of this segment.
Los Texmaniacs on the web.

Andres Martinez and Camilo Sanabria are the duo behind Monareta, named for the Colombian street bikes. Reviewers gleefully compare them to a wide variety of artists like Sun Ra and Brian Eno, and label-mates Nortec Collective and Manu Chao. The pair split their time between Bogotá and Brooklyn.


Right-click here to download an .mp3 of this segment.
Monareta online.

Listener Comments

Your thoughts on immigration, Arizona’s law, language, and debate.


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We welcome your comments on the program. You can send e-mail to LUSA @ npr [dot] org or leave a message on our listener comment line: 800-535-5533

Cleaning Up the Gulf of Mexico

Even as BP engineers and federal emergency management teams fight this weekend to contain the leak from the ruined offshore rig Deepwater Horizon, containment and cleanup efforts are underway across the Gulf coast. The environmental damage from the leak is devastating: to marine and aquatic life, to marshlands and shoreline, and to the water-based economies of states still recovering from hurricane Katrina.

Annie Correal is a reporter on the oldest Spanish-language daily newspaper in America, New York City’s El Diario/La Prensa. She’s in Louisiana now, reporting on the containment efforts underway there. Maria talks with her about the Latinos working to clean up BP’s spill.


Right-click here to download an .mp3 of this segment.

Annie Correal’s reporting comes to Latino USA in cooperation with Feet in 2 Worlds. You can read more about the cleanup efforts and see more photos from the Hopedale Command Center on the Feet in 2 Worlds blog.

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