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Alt.Latino 101: Back To The Basics
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Alt.Latino 101: Back To The Basics

Alt.Latino

Alt.Latino 101: Back To The Basics

Alt.Latino 101: Back To The Basics
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Los Fabulosos Cadillacs 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

  • from Vasos Vacios
  • by Los Fabulosos Cadillacs

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

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Song
Vasos Vacios
Album
Vasos Vacios
Artist
Los Fabulosos Cadillacs
Label
Sony Music Distribution
Released
1993

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Cover for Clandestino
Clandestino
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Clandestino

  • from Clandestino
  • by Manu Chao

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

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Song
Clandestino
Album
Clandestino
Artist
Manu Chao
Label
Palm
Released
1998

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Cuatro Caminos

Eres

  • from Cuatro Caminos
  • by Café Tacuba

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

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Song
Cuatro Caminos
Album
Cuatro Caminos
Artist
Café Tacuba
Label
MCA Records
Released
2003

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Cover for Caribe Atómico
El Estuche
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El Estuche

  • from Caribe Atómico
  • by Aterciopelados

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

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Song
Caribe Atómico
Album
Caribe Atómico
Artist
Aterciopelados
Label
RCA International

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Historia De La Luz

De Mis Pasos

  • from Aquí
  • by Julieta Venegas

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

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Song
Aquí
Album
Aquí
Artist
Julieta Venegas
Label
RCA Records
Released
1998

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Historia De La Luz
Colores Colores Colores
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Colores Colores Colores

  • from Historia De La Luz
  • by Furland

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
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Cumbia

  • from Soy Sauce
  • by Mexican Institute of Sound

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

Buy Featured Music

Song
Soy Sauce
Album
Soy Sauce
Artist
Mexican Institute of Sound
Label
Cooking Vinyl
Released
2009

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