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WEXT's Latin Alternative Mix

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Clockwise from top: Gustavo Cerati, Ruben Albarran of Cafe Tacuba, Andrea Escheverri of Aterciopelados, Julieta Venegas, Manu Chao. courtesy of the artists hide caption

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courtesy of the artists

Clockwise from top: Gustavo Cerati, Ruben Albarran of Cafe Tacuba, Andrea Escheverri of Aterciopelados, Julieta Venegas, Manu Chao.

courtesy of the artists

The Latin Alternative is the country's first nationally syndicated public radio program focused on Latin rock, electronic, funk and hip-hop artists. I co-host the show with Ernesto Lechner (contributing writer for Rolling Stone and author of the book Rock en Español: The Latin Alternative Rock Explosion).

With about 40 percent of all U.S. Latin Alternative music sales taking place in California, a lot of listeners are surprised to hear that The Latin Alternative originates from Albany, N.Y. I grew up in "Smallbany," as I affectionately call it, and couldn't wait to get out of there in my youth — it didn't seem like the most culturally open-minded place at the time. But fast-forward a decade, and the city now has a forward-thinking public radio station, WEXT 97.7.

WEXT launched in 2007 and quickly embraced artists such as Manu Chao, Juana Molina and Rodrigo y Gabriela. At the time, program director Chris Wienk was surprised to discover that there were no syndicated Latin Alternative public radio shows to pick up to air, so he asked me to create one myself.

The music selected for the "Latin Alternative 101" mega-mix on NPR Music reflects some of Ernesto's and my favorite songs in the genre. Selections range from classic global hits like Manu Chao's "Clandestino" and Los Fabulosos Cadillacs' "Matador" to newer artists such as Bomba Estereo and Mexican Institute of Sound, which fuse traditional styles such as cumbia and norteño with electronica, disco, rap and rock.

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This is a genre that requires no understanding of Spanish. As long as you have a heartbeat and even the slightest sense of rhythm, you'll love Latin Alternative music.

Josh Norek is co-host of The Latin Alternative, VP of Nacional Records and co-founder of the Latin American Music Conference. Follow him on Twitter at @jnorek.

The Latin Alternative 101 Playlist

Ana Tijoux, "1977"
Andrea Echeverri, "Amortiguador"
Arianna Puello, "Juana Kalamidad"
Aterciopelados, "Complemento"
Aterciopelados, "El Estuche"
Babasonics, "Los Calientes"
Banda De Turistas, "Lo Comandas"
Bebe, "Malo"
Bersuit, "Yo Tomo"
Bitman & Roban, "Tatita"
Bomba Estereo, "Fuego"
Bomba Estereo, "Raza"
Brazilian Girls & Kevin Johansen, "Crosseyed and Painless"
Brownout, "Ayer y Hoy"
Café Tacuba, "Dejate Caer"
Café Tacuba, "Eres"
Cafe, "Identify Yourself"
Caifanes, "Nubes"
Calle 13, "Calma Pueblo"
Calle 13, "La Aguacatona"
Carlos Vives, "Como Tu"
Ceu, "Grains de Beaute"
Chocquibtown, "Macru"
Control Machete, "Si Senor"
Cuarto Poder, "Arenita Playita"
David Garza, "More Beats"
Delinquent Habits, "Return Of The Tres"
DJ Bitman, "El Diablo" (feat. Jimmy Fernandez)
El Chicano, "Viva Tirado"
El Cuarteto De Nos, "El Hijo De Hernandez"
El Gran Silencio, "Cumbiamuffin"
El Otro Yo, "Me Harte"
Ely Guerra, "Tengo Frio"
Francisca Valenzuela, "Muredete La Lengua"
Furland, "Colores Colores Colores"
Gonzalo Yanez, "Dispara"
Gotan Project, "Mi Confesion"
Group Fantasma, "Sabado en el Parque"
Gustavo Cerati, "Al Fin Sucede"
Gustavo Cerati, "Rio Babel"
Hello Seahorse!, "Bestia"
I.K.V., "Latin Geisha"
Jaguares, "Como Tu"
Juanes, "Fijate Bien"
Julieta Venegas, "De Mis Pasos"
Julieta Venegas, "Lo Que Pidas"
Jumbo, "Rockstar"
King Chango, "Melting Pot"
Kinky, "Cornman"
Kinky, "Presidente"
La Portuaria, "Supermambo"
La Vida Boheme, "Radio Capital"
Latin Playboys, "New Zandu"
Los Amigos Invisibles, "Cuchi-Cuchi"
Los Amigos Invisibles, "Mentiras"
Los Bunkers, "Llueve Sobre La Ciudad"
Los Fabulosos Cadillacs, "El Matador"
Los Fabulosos Cadillacs, "Should I Stay Or Should I Go"
Los Lobos, "La Venganza De Los Pelados (feat. Café Tacuba)
Los Mocosos, "Somos Los Mocosos"
Mala Rodriguez, "La Nina"
Mala Rodriguez, "Por Eso Mato"
Maldita Vecindad, "Pachuco"
Mano Negra, "The Rebel Spell"
Manu Chao, "Clandestino" (Live)
Manu Chao, "Me Llaman Calle"
Matorral Man, "No Lo C"
Mexican Institute Of Sound, "Cumbia"
Mexican Institute Of Sound, "Mirando A Las Muchachas"
Molotov, "Voto Latino"
Monareta, "La Safor"
Money Mark, "Pinto's New Car"
N.A.S.A., "Money" (feat. David Byrne, Chuck D, Ras Congo, Seu Jorge & Z-Trip)
Natalia Lafourcade, "Busca Un Problema"
Natalia Lafourcade, "Ella Es Bonita"
No Lo Soporto, "Soy Nada"
Nortec Collective, "I Count The Ways"
Nortec Collective, "Tengo La Voz"
Nouvelle Vague, "Blue Monday"
Ocote Soul Sounds, "La Reja"
Orishas, "Naci Orishas"
Ozomatli, "Elysian Persuasion"
Ozomatli, "Saturday Night"
Pacha Massive, "Don't Let Go"
Pacha Massive, "If You Want It"
Pasilla, "Tatu"
Pericos, "Caliente"
Pitbull, "Across the Waters"
Plastilina Mosh, "Toll Free"
Polock, "Fireworks"
Puya, "Fundamental"
Ray Barretto, "Together"
Sara Valenzuela, "Dejar Entrar"
Senor Coconut, "Smoother Operator"
Senor Flavio, "Malito"
Siddhartha, "En Silencio"
The Mars Volta, "L'Via L'Viaquez"
The Pinker Tones, "Sampleame"
The Pinker Tones, "Sonido Total"
Titan, "Corazon"
Todos Tus Muertos, "Andate"
Willie Bobo, "Fried Neck Bones And Some Home Fries"
Zoe, "Neandertal"
Zurdok, "Abre Los Ojos"