Felix Contreras

If you submitted the DNA of rock and roll to one of those ancestry outfits, you'd get traces of just about every kind of music that developed in the U.S. Spirituals, folk, blues, country and western music have all have contributed to that early 1950s explosion of what became known as rock and roll.

Luz Elena Mendoza has such a far-reaching creative spirit that it's almost impossible to confine her to a single musical identity. Which is why she's one of just a handful of artists who've been invited back to the Tiny Desk to offer a revised musical vision.

Every month is Latino Heritage Month on Alt.Latino, but I like to set aside some special features from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15 to celebrate. We're kicking things off with a trio of interviews with musicians and a filmmaker who have three very distinct connections to Mexican music.

Just another week of new music at Alt.Latino World Headquarters as we dig into Cuban music from Canada, Salvadoran/Mexican music from Los Angeles, Nuyorican protest music and Peruvian women striking a very musical blow against patriarchy.

There has been much written about how Latino populations are developing outside of the long standing, larger concentrations on America's coasts. But there's another way to track this development beyond the U.S. Census: follow the music.

There was a distinct feeling of history in the air when Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley took his place in our office with his band, and it wasn't just the legend behind his surname. For fifteen minutes, we were treated to the same socially relevant reggae that his father, legendary Jamaican reggae icon Bob Marley, made popular when he put the genre on the international music map.

1969 was a pivotal year for music: Aretha Franklin's Soul '69, both Led Zeppelin's self-titled debut and Led Zeppelin II, Janis Joplin's I Got Dem Ol' Kozmic Blues Again Mama!

'Santana' At 50

Aug 30, 2019

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

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Woodstock celebrated its 50th anniversary earlier this month, and it's been an amazing excuse to think back to the bands that played there on that grassy field in rural New York state. Some of them were already big names - Jimi Hendrix, CCR, Jefferson Airplane; others were virtual unknowns.

The prolific and celebrated Mexican accordion player Celso Piña died Wednesday of a heart attack in his hometown of Monterrey, Mexico. He was 66 years old.

His record label, La Tuna Records, announced Piña's death on Thursday.

Piña contributed greatly to the evolution of cumbia. The Colombian folk genre has had an interesting life span since its 17th century origins and very few musicians have added to that colorful history more than Celso Piña.

Here's a statistic for you: According to Fender Guitars, women now make up 50% of all entry-level players who buy their products.

Why am I sharing that?

Even your dedicated Alt.Latino crew has to take some time off every now and then. As we dispersed to beaches, poolsides or family gatherings, the new music piled up so this week we try to squeeze in as many as we can and we'll probably have to do it again.

And do I really need to say it? The range of stylistic and genre expressions astounds. Prepare to add Latino bluegrass to your list of likes!

The Dominican Republic has the historic distinction of being the landing spot of Christopher Columbus in 1492 after he sailed the ocean blue, but that European invasion set off a series of historical and social events that reverberate to this day.

In April 2018, the iconic Mexican regional band Los Tigres del Norte walked in the footsteps of country music legend Johnny Cash, performing inside of California's Folsom Prison, both as a tribute to Cash's historic 1968 concert and an attempt at raising awareness of its shifting population.

I had another show planned for this week — but I think we need something else, after the shootings in Gilroy, Dayton and

The musical world is full stories of musical progeny who either embrace or struggle to get out from under their famous parents. Cuban vocalist Haydée Milanés walks around with one of the most famous names in all of Latin America.

When vocalist Ileana Cabra Joglar and her band visited the Tiny Desk, they'd just arrived from the front lines of the historic demonstrations taking place in Puerto Rico. Two days earlier, they were part of a crowd of tens of thousands who were on the streets calling for the resignation of embattled Gov. Ricardo Rosselló. (Rosselló recently stepped down, effective Friday.)

Stream: Spotify, Apple Music.

This week's playlist is like a geography lesson: we start in the Great White North and gradually make our way down to the Southern Cone with stops in the U.S. and the Caribbean.

Get out your maps or load the appropriate app, we're going on a musical road trip this week.


The recent Latin Alternative Music Conference in NYC attracted musicians from around the Spanish-speaking world. Alt.Latino took advantage of the critical mass to grab interviews where and when we could.

The result is this Podcast Extra featuring three different bands from three different countries (and two continents) that represent as wide a span of music that you can imagine.

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

SARAH MCCAMMON, HOST:

Politics and social concerns have always been part of Residente's worldview and his music, but this week required a different gravity.

Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló has announced that he will leave his office on Aug. 2.

Stream: Spotify, Apple Music.

Music can often be best way to stand up, shout down or even to cry out. That seems to be the theme of the tracks we selected on this week's playlist. Pick a song and be heard.


Every summer, Alt.Latino hits the road to attend the three largest Latin music festivals and it gets harder and harder to catch it all.

YouTube

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.

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