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Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

Jose Alfredo Jimenez

Singer-songwriter Jose Alfredo Jimenez was one of the most famous Mariachi artists in Mexican history. His life was cut short way too early by hepatitis, but he managed to compose hundreds of songs and a slew of hits that are being rerecorded by newer artists, keeping him and his legacy alive to this day. Franc Contreras profiles Jose Alfredo Jimenez and explains why so many people worldwide consider Jimenez one of the most prolific songwriters of Mexico.

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

John Santos

The Internet has made listening to music from all over the world instantaneous, but often lost in these eclectic rhythms are the origins of sound. For artist and percussionist John Santos, history and the tradition of music is his guiding tool to creating an exquisitely unique sound. He is born in the Bay Area of San Francisco, but raised in the Puerto Rican and Cape Verdean traditions of his family, surrounded by music. He is considered one of the leading Afro-Latino musicians in the world today. Maria Hinojosa talks to Santos to find out what his music represents and how the roots of resistance are expressed on his latest album La Esperanza.

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


This week Maria Hinojosa checks in with Jasmine Gards and Felix Contreras of Alt.Latino, a new NPR podcast exploring the latest in Latin alternative music. As the two hosts explain, “borders and boundaries mean nothing” in this unique Latino genre that mixes rock, cumbia, techno, folk and more. Together they take use through the history of Latin alternative and share their picks for the latest artists to watch out for.

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

Listen to a couple of tracks from Felix and Jasmine’s personal play list!
Right-clickhere to download an .mp3 of this segment.

Right-clickhere to download an .mp3 of this segment.

Esperanza Spalding

Bassist and vocalist Esperanza Spalding became the first jazz musician to win the Grammy for Best New Artist this week. But long before she made headlines and stirred up Justin Bieber fans, Latino USA had been following her career. In 2008 when she released her first album Esperanza, Maria Hinojosa talked to Spalding about her inspirations and influences in her music. Her latest album is Chamber Music Society

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

The Road to Stardom

Born Florencia Bisenta de Casillas Martinez Cardona in El Paso, Texas, Vikki Carr not only changed her name but also became one of the first true crossover singers, who released albums in both English and Spanish.

She is celebrating 50 years in the business in which she has won three Grammy’s, sung for five Presidents and the Queen of England, released over 60 best-selling songs, and worked in every major sphere of the entertainment industry.

In this candid interview with Maria Hinojosa, Carr takes us through every turn of her career — from her first gig and changing her name, to what it is like to hang out with Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra.

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

DBR: A Year After the Earthquake in Haiti

It has been a year since the devastating earthquake in Haiti, and international efforts continue to attempt to rebuild the infrastructure that was destroyed. But the rebuilding also continues in the lives of the survivors.

Here is an encore presentation of Maria’s interview with violinist and composer DBR — Daniel Bernard Roumain.

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Girl in a Coma

Maria sits down with the three musicians that make up Girl in a Coma to talk about their influences and their growing-up in Texas.

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Remembering Selena

We remember Selena, 15 years after her death.

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Latino Hip Hop

This week, three Latin Hop Hop acts. All very different, but all influenced by the places they came from and the places they’ve traveled and moved to.

First, Kinto Sol. Kinto Sol is a hip hop act comprised of three brothers originally from Mexico, now based in Milwaukee. They combine traditional Mexican music with the sounds of hip hop and Spanish rapping to produce something entirely unique.

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

Santero was raised in Central America and spent much of his childhood traveling and performing with his father’s bands. His upbringing makes it easy for Santero to blend a variety of Latin musical styles, and the traveling he’s done throughout America has allowed him to incorporate genres popular in his adopted country. Santero’s an artist, a DJ, and a producer. He lives in Oakland, Calif.

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

Finally, Telmary. Telmary, born Telmary Diaz, is a Cuban rapper and self-proclaimed “street poet.” Her music forges new ground, while still remaining deeply imbued with Cuba’s rich musical heritage and variety. Telmary has rebelled against the male-dominated hip hop scene in Cuba, and her uncommon music has earned her respect.

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

The Narcicyst

Canadian MC The Narcicyst has had a foot in the East and West his whole life. Born in Dubai to an Iraqi family, he moved to Canada at a young age, and has gone back and forth several times. Narcy uses his music as a political tool, but as he’s grown and matured, his work has also become more personal. He talked with Maria Hinojosa about how we can get past our fear of “the other.”

Click the image to the right to watch the music video for The Narcicyst’s song “P.H.A.T.W.A.”

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

Narcy has been working with photographer Ridwan Adhami and photographers all over the world to depict the diversity of Islam. Their work will has been incorporated into a new video titled “Hamdulillah,” directed by Adhami. You can watch the video here and read more about the collaboration on Narcy’s blog.

Issac Delgado & Nat King Cole

Issac Delgado is a Cuban-born salsa musician who bridges the gap between new and old. Fred Wasser talked with the artist, who now lives in Miami, about his admiration for the music of Nat King Cole and how Cole’s music has influenced his musical imagination.

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

Visit Issac Delgado on the web.

Remembering Esteban “Steve” Jordan

Conjunto accordion legend Esteban “Steve” Jordan died Friday, after this week’s Latino USA was sent to public radio stations for broadcast. Last year, Alex Avila produced an appreciation of the musician and pioneer.

A Conversation With Singer Maya Azucena

We can’t think of a nicer respite from the hot summer than a dose of cool tunes. Last year, Maria interviewed musician Maya Azucena. Her album is “Junkyard Jewel,” and her style defies description.

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

Visit Maya Azucena on the web here.

Summer Music

Maria is a big proponent of the personal soundtrack: the tunes that carry you from day to day, that shape the aural landscape around your life. And, yeah, that French novelist with the cookie might disagree, but we think nothing can send you back to a place and a time better than an old song.

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

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.

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

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

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

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

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.


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