Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

PBS’ Latin Music USA

Latin Music USA is an extensive look into the myriad styles, cultures and sounds that collectively comprise “Latin Music” in the U.S. Spanning five decades, this rich documentary covers Latin sounds from a fusion of Jazz, Rock, Country, Rhythm and Blues, and more. From Salsa to Reggaeton, Norteño to Tejano, Pop to Rock, Latin Music’s variety is captured in this epic four-part series.

The national PBS broadcast of Latin Music USA begins on October 12. (Check your local listings.) This series was produced by WGBS in Boston and co-produced by the BBC.

PBS PREVIEW

Remembering Artist and Activist Mercedes Sosa

Mercedes Sosa titled one of her early LPs “Yo No Canto Por Cantar” meaning she didn’t sing just to be a singer. With such a statement, Sosa, born in a remote Argentine province in 1935, told the world that her music had a message. It combined music and politics in a time and place where such a combination was dangerous. Later, when a military junta controlled the country, Sosa found herself spending several years in exile while many of her friends and comrades disappeared, were killed, or simply were harassed into hiding.

Argentines lined up to pay their respects to legendary folk singer Mercedes Sosa. (Flickr Photo by blmurch)

Known as both an activist and a singer, Mercedes Sosa was a powerful voice in the Latin America “Nuevo Canción” movement that fused native sounds, human rights, and modern music together. And her music and message took her around the world. She performed at such places as Carnegie Hall in New York, the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican, the Roman Coliseum, and Paris’ famed Teatro Mogador. But she performed even more in rural towns and villages, where thousands would dub her the “voice of the voiceless.”

A prolific recorder, Mercedes Sosa, who died October 4th at the age of 74 in her native Argentina, left behind more than 40 LPs and many recordings of her live concerts. Currently, she has three open nominations for next months Latin Grammy Awards.

When Latino USA’s Maria Hinojosa moved to New York as a student in the 1970s she found a thriving Chilean and Argentine immigrant community. It was here she discovered Mercedes Sosa, who was always more than simply an interpreter of songs.


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Mercedes Sosa – Solo Le Pido a Dios

Brownout – Aguilas and Cobras

Grammy-nominated band Grupo Fantasma is not the only group of musicians to have alter-band egos. For years, it was an open secret that a couple of members of the East L.A. rockers Los Lobos would occasionally gig as the Latin Playboys. So it’s not difficult to imagine that some members of an 11-piece funk band from Austin, Texas would spin off to do their own musical thing under the name Brownout.

Like its Grupo Fantasma counter-part, Brownout is a 70s-style funk band. Relying more on hand made music over modern electronica, Brownout pushes a sound that is fast, dance-ready and often energetic.

The second CD is titled Aguilas and Cobras. Nicely titled even if their depiction is off. An “aguila” is an eagle and a cobra is a particular snake but the CD cover in fact depicts a falcon and a rattler. Perhaps it is a reflection of the illusions of grandeur the band has for itself under the Brownout incarnation.


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Brownout is currently on tour. To see their current tour dates and locations, click on their link to Six Degrees Records.

Brownout Music Video – “Slinky”

Palabras del Silencio – Luís Fonsi

Luís Fonsi was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico but grew up in Orlando, Florida. He had always dreamed of being a musical performer and majored in music at Florida State University, where he signed his first recording contract.

Today, Fonsi is an international star, recording not only pop ballads and internation hits, but appearing in telenovelas throughout the Spanish-speaking world.

Fonsi’s latest record, Palabras del Silencio, has recently garnered Grammy nominations. And this week, he was selected to be part of an all-star lineup for the Nobel Peace Prize Concert to be held in Oslo this December.

Before the Nobel concert announcement, Fonsi sat down with Latino USA’s Maria Hinojosa to talk about music and acting.


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Jazz Harpist Edmar Castañeda

Bandleader Edmar Castañeda started playing the harp in his native Bogotá, Colombia when he was just 13 years old. In 1994, Castañeda moved to New York where he was infused in the local jazz scene.

Today, Castañeda combines his Colombian harp style of play with a New York Jazz sensibility. His unique style of play has earned him a firm place in the international jazz scene. Sometimes he’ll perform with his wife, singer and poet Andrea Tierra, but usually he can be found performing with his band The Edmar Castañeda Trio.


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The Edmar Castañeda Trio on YouTube.

Music & Spirituality with Santero

San Francisco Bay Area artist Santero has performed extensively throughout the United States and Latin America as an Emcee/Composer and DJ/Producer. Fusing his santería religious sensibilities with music, Santero’s desire to create music inspired him to experiment and venture abroad to explore the world of music in all it colors and flavors. He set out as an Emcee and before long became interested in production and the technical side of creation.

Santero is currently touring the U.S. to support the release of his second CD titled El Hijo de Obatala. And he spoke with Latino USA’s Maria Hinojosa about music, religion, performing, and his inspirations.


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The ‘Clave’ of Jazzing Up Flamenco

In the last 1970s and early 1980s, classical guitarists Al Di Meola, Paco de Lucía, and John McLaughlin fused together a hybrid of jazz and flamenco guitar. They called their project simply The Guitar Trio, and released recordings that took the musical world by surprise. And while all three went on to success with solo projects and other collaborations, the flamenco fusion often defined each of these artists.

Now, a new stage show called “Jazzing Flamenco” seeks to build on the pioneering efforts of The Guitar Trio.

Independent Producer Reese Erlich saw the new show at the Montreal Jazz Festival this summer and filed this report.


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“Jazzing Flamenco” on YOUTUBE.

Latino USA’s Summer Music

We present three great—and very different—musical offerings this week to help you round-out your summer listening. First up: Steve Turre, the master of the trombone and conch shell brings his chill vibe to our studio and helps Maria find some inner peace. Then Señor Coconut, the alter ego of DJ Uwe Schmidt, helps us re-align our concept of mambo. And we finish up with a pair of Colombian BMX-enthusiasts (Andres Martinez and Camilo Sanabria) whose break beats and hip hop flows as “Monareta” have audiences cranking it from Bogotá to the Bronx. Enjoy!

Steve Turre


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Señor Coconut


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Monareta


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The Music of Federico Aubele

Argentine singer-songwriter Federico Aubele’s new recording Amatoria is all about attraction. He brought his guitar to the studio when he sat down to talk with Maria Hinojosa and talks about the origins of one of his songs over a cuo of tea. But first he and Maria had to settle on a pronunciation of his last name.


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Suena Mi Guitarra / Amatoria / ESL Music

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El Sabor / Amatoria / ESL Music

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Riendo Asi / Amatoria / ESL Music

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David Garza

Musician David Garza is as prolific as he is talented: he’s had about 20 albums in the past 20 years. His poetic, hypnotic style has captivated Maria Hinojosa. The two sat down to talk about his latest work: Dream Delay.


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Interchange: The LA Guitar Quartet and the Delaware Symphony Orchestra

Mention Sérgio Assad to a guitarist and watch the reaction: that’s what awe-inspired humility looks like. His quite exceptional artistry and uncanny ensemble playing come from both a family rich in Brazilian musical tradition and from studies with the very best guitarists in the Americas.

Now, Assad is turning to orchestral composition. And symphonic audiences across the globe are all the richer for it.

Late this Spring, the members of the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet—virtuosos in their own right— were in Delaware, guests of the Delaware Symphony Orchestra and its music director David Amado, to perform and record Assad’s composition “Interchange,” which he had composed especially for the Quartet.

The News Journal sent a photographer to the rehearsals (see those photos in a new window) and Latino USA sent Diantha Parker to talk with members of the Quartet, with Amado, and —later— with the composer about a work that she discovered is all about the drive found in music, especially Latin music.

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Nortec Collective: Tijuana Sound Machine

The Nortec Collective has been hailed by critics and fans alike for their distinctive border feel, combining the best Mexican styles of music with the modern, Americanized techno feel. Created in 1999 by several Tijuana, Mexico DJs, Nortec has produced several CD compilations beginning with “The Tijuana Sessions Vol.1.” The latest compilation, “Tijuana Sound Machine” was nominated for a 2008 Latin Grammy.

The Nortec collective is not a band or a group but a series of compilations created in (and about) Tijuana Mexico where electronica, norteño and tambora music come together with visuals. As a group, the Nortec Collective has not performed publicly since 2007. But as DJ’s, the collective’s live shows are dominated by VJs, computers, and visuals.

Grammy nominated members Bostich and Fussible are embarking on a mini-tour of Mexico, Texas and California in June.

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The Music of Maya Azucena

Musical artist Maya Azucena believes that music is a tool for healing and activism. This Brooklyn-based soul-singer has toured the world and shared the stage with some of the most well-known musical artists from the worlds of R&B, Soul, Hip-Hop, Jazz, and Rock. She is so eclectic that she shared in a 2008 Grammy Award for a Reggae collaboration with Stephan Marley. In the spring of 2008, Maya and her band did a 5-week U.S. State Department-sponsored tour of Myanmar (Burma), China, the Philippines, and Sri Lanka, as part of The Rhythm Road/American Music Abroad program. They did concerts as well as music workshops in an effort to create cultural exchange.

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Watch this 11-minute long music-filled documentary of Maya Azucena on VIMEO.

All You Need is Mosh

Jonas Gonzalez and Alejandro Rosso are two young guys from Monterrey, Mexico. They were big fans of computerized games when they met. And they both liked music. But that’s where the similarities end. Jonas at the time came from a background of trash metal. Alejandro’s tastes leaned towards the avante-garde, appreciating jazz and classical music. Their opposite musical worlds collided and still do in their music. Together, they are the duo forming the heart and soul of Plastilina Mosh. Jonas speaks with Maria Hinojosa about the group’s fourth CD, “All You Need is Mosh.”

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During Maria’s interview with Jonás Gonzalez of Plastilina Mosh, she asked him questions in English and he started giving his responses in Spanish. You can listen to their conversation without English voice-overs.

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Jonaz Goes to Hollywood
All You Need is Mosh (2008)

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