From Alt.Latino, With Love: A Valentine's Day Extravaganza

Chilean rapper Ana Tijoux. i i

Chilean rapper Ana Tijoux. Courtesy of the artist hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy of the artist
Chilean rapper Ana Tijoux.

Chilean rapper Ana Tijoux.

Courtesy of the artist

One of the first shows we recorded for Alt.Latino was a Valentine's Day special. Felix Contreras and I were so excited: Our little hobby show had just been picked up by NPR Music, and for me, an extremely wet-behind-the-ears journalist, it was a big break.

And then, the weekend before the show taped, I got another big break: I broke up with my then-boyfriend. It was your classic bad breakup, except I had to drag my mopey self, pockets full of Kleenex and revenge fantasies, into the studio that Monday, and tape a one-hour show about love, hugs and kisses.

It was a disaster: I didn't have the on-air experience to keep a poker face (or voice), and the mood ended up being so dark and twisted, we had to call the show Valentines Schmalentines: Songs Of Love And Other Ailments. We were so traumatized by the experience, we never dared to do a Valentine's Day show again. Until now.

This week, we're straightening out our track record of bad-love shows and bringing you a one-hour special packed with excellent love songs (the classics and some new ones) and insight from many of our favorite artists — from Puerto Rican rapper Tego Calderon to Cafe Tacvba frontman Ruben Albarran, and including Oscar winner Gustavo Santaolalla, recent Grammy recipient Lila Downs and Chilean rapper Ana Tijoux.

Love songs, and Valentine's Day itself, have the potential for cheesiness and cliches. But if there's one thing we try to do at Alt.Latino, it's to dig deeper. Throughout this week's show, we explore different types of love that move artists and audiences alike: love of country, family, figuring out how to love oneself, and the love of The Rolling Stones that once led host Felix Contreras to walk out on an infamous date.

As always, we look forward to hearing from you, our listeners. What are your favorite love songs? What kind of love are you celebrating this Valentine's Day? And what musicians do you love so much, you'd walk out on a date just to see them play?

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Alt.Latino, Con Amor

Uno de los primeros shows que grabamos Félix y yo con Alt.Latino fue para el día de los enamorados. Nuestro pequeño proyecto acababa de ser auspiciado por NPR Music, lo que representaba una gran victoria para los dos. Además, para mi, una periodista que recién empezaba su carrera, significaba que había roto el ciclo aparentemente interminable de ser asistente, hacer fotocopias y prepararle el café a otros periodistas.

El fin de semana antes de grabar el programa, rompí otra cosa: mi relación con mi novio de entonces. No hubo nada inusual acerca de la ruptura, salvo que a diferencia de la mayoría de la gente, el lunes siguiente tuve que arrastrarme al estudio de grabación, y grabar un programa acerca de lo maravilloso que es el amor, mientras que yo tenía los bolsillos llenos de pañuelos y la cabeza llena de fantasías de venganza.

La grabación fue un desastre. Y si quieren pruebas de aquel fiasco, haciendo click aquí pueden escuchar el show. Félix y yo quedamos tan traumados por la experiencia que jamás nos animamos a hacer otro programa sobre el día de los enamorados. Hasta hoy.

Esta semana, vamos a reparar el daño que le hemos hecho en el pasado al pobre cupido. Tenemos un programa de una hora entera, dedicado a escuchar maravillosas canciones de amor, algunas clásicas y otras más nuevecitas . También hablamos con varios de nuestros artistas preferidos acerca de las canciones de amor mas famosas que ellos han compuesto.

Las canciones de amor, y el día de los enamorados en particular, tienen un infinito potencial para originar conversaciones trilladas y clichés. Pero si hay algo que siempre buscamos en Alt.Latino, es excavar mas profundo. A lo largo del programa de hoy, exploramos las distintas clases de amor que mueven a los artistas y a las audiencias: Tego Calderón de Puerto Rico nos habla sobre una dolorosa disculpa que tuvo que pedir en una canción; Ruben Albarrán del icónico grupo mexicano Café Tacvba nos cuenta sobre la importancia de hablar de otras formas de amor, mas allá del amor romántico; y el galardonado compositor argentino Gustavo Santaolalla charla acerca del amor a la familia y la cultura. Mi querido co-locutor Félix Contreras habla de su amor por los Rolling Stones, y confiesa en una ocasión haber dejado plantada a una cita romántica para ir a verlos tocar en vivo.

Como siempre, una de las mejores partes de hacer este show es comunicarnos con ustedes, nuestros oyentes. Cuéntanos: ¿Cuáles son tus canciones de amor preferidas? ¿Qué tipo de amor estás celebrando hoy? Y la pregunta mas importante...¿qué banda te gusta tanto que dejarías plantada a tu pareja con tal de poder ir a verlos tocar en vivo?

From Alt.Latino, With Love: A Valentine's Day Extravaganza

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Carlos Gardel

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