Latino USA

Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

Edmar Castañeda

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.”

Maria Hinojosa talks to Edmar about his integration into the jazz scene of New York and how his background affects his music today.

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Pedro Luis Ferrer — The Cuban Legend Is Back

Singer, guitarist and composer Pedro Luis Ferrer is a household name in Cuba. His innovative music made him a star in the 70’s, but his social criticism made him an enemy to Fidel Castro’s Government. His music was banned from the airwaves in the late 90s, but today, he is back in the spotlight with a new musical style. Correspondent Reese Erlich visited Ferrer at his home in Havana to find out what exactly “Nueva Trova” is and how Ferrer’s new sound is capturing the hearts of world-wide audiences yet again.

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Agustin Lara

Agustin Lara’s musical career started in his early childhood and it turned him into one of Mexico’s greatest legends.  He composed over 400 songs that have been recorded by world-renowned artists, ranging from Andrea Bocelli to Nat “King” Cole.  Best known for his passionate boleros, Lara also created rancheras, fox trots, waltzes, tangos, paso dobles, and even an operetta.  In the 30’s he became a major contributor to a new, yet flourishing Mexican film industry –  and he composed music for Santa, one of Mexico’s first films with sound.

There are many stories behind his music. Producer Angelica Luevano is in search of what made Lara one of the most influential musical personalities of Mexico.

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Agustin Lara performs the soundtrack of the film classic María Bonita

Listen to one of Agustin Lara’s biggest hits, Veracruz

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Aventurera


Lola Beltran


For many Americans, the name Lola Beltran, brings to mind the title track of Pedro Almodovar’s 1988 hit film, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown.  But Lola Beltran is much larger than one song or one film. One of the the most popular Ranchera artists in Mexico, she was known as Lola La Grande, “Lola the Great.”  Throughout her career she has starred in a number of films, musicals, a telenovela, and performed in front of numerous world leaders.

Alex Avila profiles the life and career of the Great Lola Beltran.

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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.

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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.

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Alt.Latino

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.

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Listen to a couple of tracks from Felix and Jasmine’s personal play list!
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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

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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.

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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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