Latin Music For Christmas Stockings

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hide captionSanta Claus is excited about giving the gift of music.

Dave Hogan/Stringer/Getty Images
Santa

Santa Claus is excited about giving the gift of music.

Dave Hogan/Stringer/Getty Images

Looking for new stocking stuffers this Christmas? Has the 12th Annual Director's Cuts Gift Guide left you hungry for more? Give your friends and loved ones some of these Latin American music titles. Weekend All Things Considered host Guy Raz recently sat down with Betto Arcos, who hosts the music program Global Village on KPFK, to discuss the music of AfroCubism, Xiomara Laugart, Mexican Institute of Sound and Tom Zé.

Latin Music For Christmas Stockings

Cover for AfroCubism

Al Vaiven De Mi Carreta

  • Artist: AfroCubism
  • Album: AfroCubism

"Al Vaiven De Mi Carreta" is a tune by legendary composer Nico Saquito, but now AfroCubism has reinvented the song with two lead singers. The story behind this recording begins in 1995 in Havana, where musicians from Mali were supposed to record the track with Cuban musicians. The Malians never showed up due to problems with passports and visas, so the Cubans recorded it on their own, naming it the Buena Vista Social Club. It became a huge success all over the world. Fifteen years later, the producer from the same label decided to revisit the idea, and they recorded this. The result combines two great traditions of music, from Mali and from Cuba.

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  • "Al Vaivén De Mi Carreta"
  • Album: AfroCubism
  • Artist: AfroCubism
 
Cover for La Voz

Manisero

  • Artist: Xiomara Laugart
  • Album: La Voz

Xiomara Laugart used to be in a group called Yerba Buena, but the group split a couple years ago and she decided to embark on a solo career. Laugart recorded 15 albums in Cuba before moving to New York, where her music was relatively unknown. None of the records she recorded in Cuba had been released in the U.S. Finally, this album offers an American audience the chance to hear her work. A new spin on a Cuban standard, the song features minimal accompaniment: some percussion, acoustic bass and Laugart's intensely sensual voice.

This album is available from Amazon.

 
Cover for Estudando A Bossa (Nordeste Plaza)

Síncope Joaobim

  • Artist: Tom Zé
  • Album: Estudando A Bossa (Nordeste Plaza)

Tom Ze is a wonderful rarity, in that he helps us understand what music is all about, and why it's so important. Ze is a major figure in Brazilian music; David Byrne's label has been making sure that he's known in this country, too. Byrne found one of his records in a music store in Brazil in the mid-'80s, and he's been championing Ze's music ever since. This record is a tribute to Brazil's bossa nova, but it's not just a regular homage to the genre; it's also a history lesson. Ze once said that the reason he does music the way he does is that he could never play guitar like bossa nova players played it. So in this particular tune, he lists the names of some of the most important artists in bossa nova. It shows how bossa nova replaced samba to become Brazil's biggest musical export.

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  • "Síncope Joãobim"
  • Album: Estudando A Bossa (Nordeste Plaza)
  • Artist: Tom Zé
 
Cover for Suave Patria

Carnaval

  • Artist: Mexican Institute Of Sound
  • Album: Suave Patria

Camilo Lara is known for sampling sounds associated with Mexican music. His album Suave Patria celebrates the bicentennial of Mexico, which took place on Sept. 15. Using horns and trumpets, cumbia and mambo, the various Afro-Cuban sounds included should be familiar to many who listen to Mexican music. This is a special record, crafted by a man who has worked in the Mexican music industry for more than 10 years.

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  • "Carnaval"
  • Album: Suave Patria
  • Artist: Mexican Institute Of Sound
 

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