Alt.Latino 101: Back To The Basics

Hear The Show

31 min 43 sec
 
Los Fabulosos Cadillacs i i
courtesy of the artist
Los Fabulosos Cadillacs
courtesy of the artist

Since we started Alt.Latino a few months ago, we've been getting emails from Latin Alternative/Rock en Español music lovers who tell us how much they enjoy discovering fresh new music from around the globe.

We're especially proud of the fact that a lot of our listeners are new to the genre. They either stumbled across our show when they were visiting NPR Music and liked what they heard, or they just have a real curiosity to know what Latin Alternative/Rock En Español is all about. Today's show is dedicated to those listeners: the ones who didn't grow up listening to this type of music, but enjoy it anyway. We decided to put together a show to introduce you to some of the classics of the genre, the basics: Latin Alternative 101.

Who better to enlist in this effort than our friend Josh Norek over at WEXT? Josh co-hosts The Latin Alternative and is a VP at Nacional Records, and he's also just a great guy who knows a lot about Latin music. We asked him to put together a list of quintessential Latin Alternative/Rock en Español songs, and he must have gotten really into it, because he ended up creating a list so long, it would take six hours to listen to the whole thing. We've been streaming that list 24 hours a day for more than a week now; you can catch it here.

Never fear: We don't have a six-hour-long show for you today. We asked Josh to narrow his list down to eight songs. The result was a compilation that took us from Argentina to Mexico, through the Caribbean and all the way to Spain.

For those of you who already know and love this music, help us out! If you had to choose eight songs to get a friend started on Latin Alternative, which ones would you pick?

Alt.Latino 101: Back To The Basics

Cover for Vasos Vacios

Matador

  • Artist: Los Fabulosos Cadillacs
  • Album: Vasos Vacios

Watch the official video for this song.

Sounds Like: A wall of Brazilian batucada percussion sounds like the rushed heartbeat of a rebellious hero in his final moments of life -- a story told in lead singer Vicentico's unparalleled yodeling tones.

Coming At You From: Argentina

close

Purchase Featured Music

  • "Matador"
  • Album: Vasos Vacios
  • Artist: Los Fabulosos Cadillacs
  • Label: Sony Music Distribution
  • Released: 1993
 
Cover for Clandestino

Clandestino

  • Artist: Manu Chao
  • Album: Clandestino

Sounds Like: Hopping trains around the world with a guitar on your back, collecting stories from the wonderful and distressed people you meet along the way.

Coming At You From: France/Spain

close

Purchase Featured Music

  • "Clandestino"
  • Album: Clandestino
  • Artist: Manu Chao
  • Label: Palm
  • Released: 1998
 
Cuatro Caminos

Eres

  • Artist: Café Tacuba
  • Album: Cuatro Caminos

Watch the official video for this song.

Sounds like: Cafe Tacuba has been compared to Beck, but this is a simpler, sweeter melody about uncompromising love.

Coming At You From: Mexico

close

Purchase Featured Music

  • "Eres"
  • Album: Cuatro Caminos
  • Artist: Café Tacuba
  • Label: MCA Records
  • Released: 2003
 
Cover for Caribe Atómico

El Estuche

  • Artist: Aterciopelados
  • Album: Caribe Atómico

Sounds Like: Aterciopelados is kind of a melting pot of every Latin sound. A little bit cumbia, a little folk, a little rock and ska.

Coming At You From: Colombia

close

Purchase Featured Music

  • "El Estuche"
  • Album: Caribe Atómico
  • Artist: Aterciopelados
  • Label: RCA International
 
Historia De La Luz

De Mis Pasos

  • Artist: Julieta Venegas
  • Album: Aquí

Listen to the song on YouTube.

Sounds Like: Mexico's response to Ani DiFranco, with an electronic twist. Venegas is a strong-willed, poetic singer who's not afraid to make a dance track with an accordion on it.

Coming At You From: Mexico

close

Purchase Featured Music

  • "De Mis Pasos"
  • Album: Aquí
  • Artist: Julieta Venegas
  • Label: RCA Records
  • Released: 1998
 
Historia De La Luz

Colores Colores Colores

  • Artist: Furland
  • Album: Historia De La Luz

Sounds Like: A rock 'n' roll high-school sleepover. These kids are brilliant, they rock, and you should listen.

Coming At You From: Mexico

How To Get It: Buy it on Amazon

 
Soy Sauce

Cumbia

  • Artist: Mexican Institute of Sound
  • Album: Soy Sauce

Sounds Like: The best party you've ever attended -- in Mexico. These music execs loosen up their ties and go crazy with the traditional and electronic fusion.

Coming At You From: Mexico

close

Purchase Featured Music

  • "Cumbia"
  • Album: Soy Sauce
  • Artist: Mexican Institute of Sound
  • Label: Cooking Vinyl
  • Released: 2009
 

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and Terms of Use. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.