Latino USA

Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

Carlos Patato Valdes

In 1955, Mongo helped bring his friend Carlos Valdes to the United States. Better known as Patato, he was a conga innovator back in Cuba and it seemed only natural that he would become a giant in the New York Jazz scene. Dubbed as the legend of Cuban percussion, he continued performing with his band ‘The Conga Kings’ until he passed away December 4, 2007 at 81-years old.


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Girl in a Coma

Meet and hear Girl in a Coma – an all girl punk-rock band that combines its Chicano heritage with classic and modern rock to create a unique music style all their own. Nina Diaz, Phannie Diaz, and Jenn Alva grew up in South Texas. Their influences are eclectic – the Smiths, Selena, the Pixies and Patsy Cline – helping to shape the unique sound of Girl in a Coma. Maria Hinojosa sat down with the Tejana rockeras.


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Rita Indiana

RITA INDIANA: IN STUDIO WITH MARIA HINOJOSA from The Futuro Media Group on Vimeo.

Video by Xochitl Dorsey

Described as part Grace Jones, part La Lupe, and part David Bowie, Rita Indiana is one of the hottest acts coming out of the Dominican Republic. Blending traditional merengue and Afro-Caribbean beats, with a tinge of art-rock and new wave, she has created a merengue style all her own. Maria Hinojosa sat down with Rita Indiana to find out just who this complex and influential person is.


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Novalima

The nine-piece alternative Afro-Peruvian ensemble Novalima was one of the big attractions at the 12th annual LAMC. Blending soul, reggae, and house with traditional Afro-Peruvian music, they simply make you want to move. Founded in 2001, with its members scattered on three continents, the band gathered in the only place they call home—Peru. Soon after, they were bridging cultures not only in their native country, but around the world. Their latest album “Coba Coba” received a Latin Grammy Nomination for best Alternative album.

Maria Hinojosa sat down with two of the founding members – Ramon Perez Prieto and Rael Morales.


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Arturo O’Farrill and The Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra

Chico O’Farrill was one of Latin jazz music’s most creative voices. From his masterwork “The Afro Cuban jazz Suite” for Charlie Parker, through his work as an arranger for Dizzy Gillespie and others, to his critically acclaimed “Heart of a Legend” album released in his 70′s, Chico’s compositions and arrangements have been recognized as among the most innovative in Latin Jazz.

After 15 years of Sunday night performances in New York’s storied Birdland Jazz Club, the Chico O’Farrill Afro Cuban Jazz Orchestra ended its run last week, almost 10 years to the date of Chico O’Farrill’s passing. His son, Grammy Award-winning pianist and composer, Arturo, who had been leading the band, says the burden of running two orchestras, a non profit arts organization and his own smaller ensembles – not to mention his role as father and husband – made the choice inevitable.

Maria Hinojosa talks to Arturo about his father’s legacy, his own musical explorations, and what’s next now that his Sunday nights are free again.
Produced by David Cruz.


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Los Muñequitos de Matanzas

In Cuba, the musical ensemble “Los Muñequitos de Matanzas” is known as the “keepers of the rumba flame.” With its roots in West African percussion and Spanish “decima” singing, and reinterpretation of sacred songs into secular ones, Rumba is the type of music that could have only emerged from Cuba.

The U.S. embargo against Cuba has kept “Los Muñequitos” under the radar for much of their fifty-plus year history, but the Obama administration recently loosened travel restrictions and reopened cultural relations with the Island. As a result, musical legends like “Los Muñequitos” can play in the United States again.

Maria Hinojosa recently caught up with “Los Muñequitos de Matanzas” in New York City during their performance at the “¡Si Cuba!” Music and Arts Festival. It was their first time in the U.S. in over 10 years.

Produced by Xochitl Dorsey


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Los Muñequitos de Matanzas, en su barrio

Video uploaded by jgarcia1237

From Brazil to the United States to Stardom

In the mid 60s pianist and composer Sergio Mendes became the most popular and best-selling Brazilian musician in the United States and his band Brazil 66 became synonymous with Bossa Nova, or the “new wave” of music, which started from Brazil and swept the United States. Always the innovator, Mendes has used his music to bridge cultures and relate to all generations.

You can hear his popular “Mas Que Nada” today in one of the newest 3-D animation movies, RIO. Mendes reinvented the hit some 40 years later in collaboration with hip-hop artist will.i.am. Maria Hinojosa sat down with Mendes in 2008 for an extended interview to talk about his career, collaborations and how he continues to make Bossa Nova “the new thing” over and over again.


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Sergio Mendes and The Black Eyed Peas Video


Uploaded by classicsandjazz on Apr 11, 2008

Cri Cri

Francisco Gabilondo Soler is one of Mexico’s most famous composers and performers but most don’t know him by this name. To the Latino world he is best known as Cri Cri: El Grillito Cantor (The Little Singing Cricket) who wears a tuxedo and plays a violin made out of a leaf with a twig for a bow.

Cri Cri was first heard on the Mexican airwaves in 1934 and for decades appeared in animation and on radio, educating kids through music. Reporter Sandina Robbins has this tribute to El Cri Cri.


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Dafnis Prieto

Cuban drummer, composer and educator Dafnis Prieto arrived in New York in 1999 and has since spent more than a decade influencing Latin and jazz music. Prieto has been described as the hottest new drummer in the New York Jazz scene in the last decade. He talks to Maria Hinojosa about the fusion of Cuban rhythms with Jazz.

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Dafnis Prieto Si o Si Quartet at MOMA 2009

Video Posted by Dafnison.

Miguel Zenón

2010 Grammy Nominee for Best Latin Jazz Album and Best Improvised Solo, alto saxophonist Miguel Zenon was born and raised in San Juan. He got his Masters from the Manhattan School of Music and is a dual MacArthur Genius and Guggenheim Grant recipient. His style is heavily influenced by the sounds of his native Puerto Rico and it’s captured in his latest release called Esta Plena, which celebrates el periodico cantado, the “sung newspaper” of Puerto Rico, accompanied by the hand-drum called panderos. Maria Hinojosa sat down with Zenon to talk about Plena, a typical music style in Puerto Rico and how he melds it with jazz in new ways.

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The Miguel Zenon Quartet plays “¿Que Sera de Puerto Rico?”

Posted by MiguelZenon


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