Latino USA

Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

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


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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