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Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

Opera en la Calle

In recent years Tijuana has become synonymous with grim murders and the violent drug war. But cultural workers there are trying to change that image and showcase Tijuana’s vibrant communities of artists and great restaurants. One shining example is the Festival “Opera en la calle” that recently celebrated its eighth year. It is a celebration, which started as a small event in one of Tijuana’s oldest neighborhoods, Colonia Libertad. It has grown through the years, and this summer it drew over 10,000 opera fans, some of the best singers in this quarter of the continent, and numerous art booths, food stands, and costumed performers. Reporter Jon Beaupré was there and brings us a taste of it.

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Manu Chao in Arizona

It’s rare to find a popular musician these days who embraces a controversial political message, but that’s precisely what Manu Chao has done in his career. Originally from France, but his music transcends borders. Manu Chao’s songs speak of poverty and world politics, often in multiple languages – and his stardom has brought attention to many issues around the world.
Most recently, the singer was in Arizona, standing in solidarity with protesters against the infamous Maricopa County Sheriff, Joe Arpaio. Maria Hinojosa speaks with filmmaker Alex Rivera who was in Arizona with Manu Chao, documenting the protest and impromptu concert.

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Choro: The New Popular Music Style from Brazil

The up-tempo music from Brazil called choro [shor’-oh] is finding a growing audience in the U.S. Independent producer Reese Erlich met up some choro players in Berkeley, California, who say it sounds a little like samba crossed with jazz.


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Los Rakas

Raka Dun and Raka Rich are originally from Panama. They came to the US in their teens with their “camisetas bordadas” or fly embroidered tank tops. But now the two cousins are making it big with their own twist on Bay Area indie Hip-Hop by adding Panamanian Folk influenced reggae.

It’s a unique sound that’s making the Oakland-based Los Rakas one of the hottest up-and-coming duos. Los Rakas join Maria Hinojosa to talk about their new album, Chancletas Y Camisetas Bordada.


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Cuban Rhapsody

Cuba is a place where people and cultures from around the world mix and collide. In the 19th and 20th centuries, those diverse influences were reflected in its music, blending classical European music with African rhythms and even early jazz. Musical styles like the danzon, the son, and contradanza were popular in Cuba and around the world during those periods. Now, master musicians Jane Bunnett and Hilario Duran have taken those Cuban classics and blended the music in a unique style on their new album, Cuban Rhapsody. Maria Hinojosa sat down with Jane and Hilario to talk about the inspiration behind their latest work.


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Ray Barretto

Ray Barretto was lovingly called “El Rey de las Manos Duras” – literally translated, ‘The King of Hard Hands’. In this 2002 interview with Maria Hinojosa, Ray talks about everything from the history of conga rhythms to how he and his friend Dizzy Gillespie worked together to create Afro-Cuban Jazz. He passed away on February 17, 2006 at 76-years old.


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Ramon Mongo Santamaria

Ramon “Mongo” Santamaria was one of the greatest Afro-Cuban Jazz percussionists, often performing with Dizzy Gillespie, Willie Bobo and Tito Puente. Most famous for composing Afro Blue, his music was symbolic of his deep connection and understanding of the African origins of his rhythms. He passed away on February 1, 2003 at 85-years old.


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Mongo Santamaria “Afro Blue” 1984


Uploaded by fortyjazz on May 26, 2010

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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