Latino USA

Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

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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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

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