Felix Contreras

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Amid the most crucial political crisis to hit Puerto Rico in its modern history, three Puerto Rican musicians have released a protest song that is spreading across the island as fast a

"He was one of a kind, one of the most gifted artists I have ever met in my life."

Those kind of accolades don't come easy in the music business, but João Gilberto inspired those kinds of emotions from musicians and fans around the world as word spread of his death on July 6.

The Alt.Latino Interview Archive is currently housed at a secret location just off Avenida de La Independencia in downtown Tijuana. I dispatched a courier to pick up two interviews that were recorded recently, so I could offer this mid-summer gift to you, an Alt.Latino Podcast Extra.

This week we present two artists with albums that deserve much more attention and discussion.

For our monthly visit with Weekend Edition, the native language is jazz as we move around the Spanish-speaking world in search of new music from voices both new and long-beloved.

Updated at 9:34 p.m. ET Saturday

João Gilberto, one of the principal architects of the Brazilian musical style bossa nova, has died at his home in Rio de Janeiro, according to a Facebook post by his son. João Marcelo Gilberto wrote that his father, who was 88 years old, died following an undisclosed illness.

Sometimes a song is more than a song. As NPR's year long series American Anthem points out, anthems do not have to mean patriotic songs about specific nations.

This week on Alt.Latino's Spotify and Apple Music playlists, we jump the tip of the American continent to the clubs of Spain with a stop at a groovy samba party in Lisbon and finally check in on the groove filled streets of Bad Bunnylandia. This week's tracks have something for everyone no matter what language you speak.


The music comes fast and furious into Alt.Latino World Headquarters. The first half of 2019 saw just as much amazing new music as any other year; it feels as if the bar keeps raising not just every year, but every six months.

This week on Alt.Latino's Spotify and Apple Music playlists: Orishas returns with a piano ballad for existentialist insomniacs, Chicago's Divino Niño offers a dream-pop ballad and Mateo Kingman teams up with Gustavo Santaolalla.


This week on Alt.Latino's Spotify and Apple Music playlists: Cuco announces his new album, Para Mi, with some "Feelings" and Bad Bunny sings a bolero (under his birth name) for fathers.


Latin music can mean a lot of things. From your parents' favorite boleros reimagined to cumbia-punk, trapchata and the most PG-13 urbano, Alt.Latino's Felix Contreras and Stefanie Fernández have you covered. There's no living room in the world large enough to contain this pachanga.

When Carlos Santana was asked on this week's Alt.Latino where the new album fits into his legendary career, he compared it to the lamp on the top of the Statue of Liberty: it connects directly to the inspirations of the very first album released 50 years ago. The common denominator, he says, is reflected in the album's title, Africa Speaks.

This week on Alt.Latino's Spotify and Apple playlists (now celebrating one year!): a pioneering Puerto Rican punk band re-emerges and R&B continues to influence musicians from throughout Latin America.


We cast our net very wide this week and bring music to both get you onto the dance floor and do a bit of self reflection.


There is a quiet Latinx revolution going on in television drama these days. Well, maybe not so quiet. But the status quo is definitely being shaken up.

The folks at the cable network Starz have just released the second season of the Latinx drama Vida, a pioneering production that pushes the boundaries of story telling and representation. The show presents the queer and straight Latinx community of the very real East Los Angeles community of Boyle Heights.

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During the course of their performance behind the desk, the four core members of LADAMA — Lara Klaus, Daniela Serna, Mafer Bandola and Sara Lucas — had a chance to display their individual cultural and musical roots as part of an engaging and mesmerizing whole. Represented in glorious musical virtuosity are Brazil, Colombia and Venezuela, with a dash of New York City thrown in just to make it interesting.

This week, new music came in from the around the globe and it settled on our weekly playlist. And as you would expect, they are stylistically all over, but in a very good way. Buenos Aires, Havana, Mexico City and Santo Domingo are all represented, with the sounds of folk, reggae, pop and Cuban guaguancó.

Dig in and enjoy!


Haydée Milanés, "Identidád (feat. Ibeyí)"

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

SUSAN DAVIS, HOST:

Memorial Day signals the start of summer - slower days, vacations and a more laid-back attitude toward life. But for our friends at NPR Music's Alt.Latino podcast, summer heats up literally and figuratively. Host Felix Contreras is here to explain.

Hey, Felix.

It's been a fascinating journey following the trajectory of Rodrigo y Gabriela as they rose from self-imposed exile from their native Mexico on the streets of Dublin to international acclaim and admiration.

All with just two acoustic guitars.

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After winning multiple Grammy and Latin Grammy awards, Juanes is at a point in his caree

On one hand, Latin pop is an endless stream of singles from a handful of talented musicians who just dominate that arena. On the other, Latinx musicians are tearing down the walls of genre and creating music that sounds both familiar and new.

Such is the state of things as we present our picks for New Music for the week.


At this point, Lila Downs now has the kind of artistic stature among her fans that she has for the women she has celebrated throughout her career. She has always paid tribute to great voices and artist such as Chavela Vargas, Mercedes Sosa and even Joan Baez.

It's not often that Latin music's newest names release music at the same time as one of Latin music's most revered and respected vocalists does. But it happened this week. Girl Ultra and Cuco share space with Omara Portuondo, showing, once again, the vitality of the Latin music world and as well as the possibility that some of today's artists may still be making music 60 years from now.

Personally, I like messages with my music. Some of my first experiences with music beyond the Top 40 format took place during the heat of the Vietnam War which became a high watermark for protest music in this country. It's how I discovered musicians like Bob Dylan and Joan Baez. Later on, the great voices of protest from Latin America became part of my playlist as songwriters began to speak out against poverty, inequality and racism.

New music makes it way to the Alt.Latino inbox from a variety of sources. This week, one new track comes by way of the popular HBO phenomenon Game of Thrones. Spanish vocalist and Alt.Latino favorite Rosalía and Peruvian musician Alejandro Chal make it onto a taste-making compilation of music inspired by the uber popular show and that's just the tip of the iceberg of a collection of new music.

Our shortlist of must-hear albums this week includes the incredible sonic adventures of Nick Murphy (formerly known as Chet Faker), acoustic, instrumental rock from Rodrigo y Gabriela, a byzantine concept album from The Mountain Goats and more. Host Robin Hilton is joined by NPR Music's Felix Contreras and Stephen Thompson as they run through their picks for the best new releases out on April 26.

Featured Albums:

  1. Nick Murphy: Run Fast, Sleep Naked
    Featured Songs: "Sanity," "Sunlight," "Novocaine and Coca Cola"

On this week's Alt.Latino music roundup, check out the latest Latin spins we've heard reflect and cross-reference the cultural roots, settling feelings and lived experiences that are beyond our lifetimes. Yesterday, we were blessed with a new video accompanying Cuco's dreamscape song "Hydrocodone." Likewise, C. Tangana and Alizzz dropped a video for "Para Repartir," a free form visual that settles nicely over the Cuban groove.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

Vocalist Angélique Kidjo is on another creative streak. As she has throughout her career, Kidjo has left little space between two musically rich releases that showcase her artistic bonafides. 2018's Remain In Light was a track by track re-imagining of the Talking Heads 1980 album of the same name.

This week on Alt.Latino, the latest Latin songs on our radar embraced the idea of reconnecting back to intimate, past experiences. Whether it be a homecoming after weeks of travel, a self-reflection in the wake of romance or a reminder of where one started. In this week's music roundup, hear Las Nubes reiterate its post-punk femininity in Miami's hardcore scene, Twanguero return to philosophical roots and VINILOVERSUS duet with Tessa Ia in what feels like hazy nostalgia.

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