¡Que Rico!: Funky New Songs From Puerto Rico, Mexico And New York City

Dominican-American actors, activists, and ramen-with-adobo-chefs Juan Bago (Michael Diaz) and "O" (Oscar Martinez). i i

Dominican-American actors, activists, and ramen-with-adobo-chefs Juan Bago (Michael Diaz) and "O" (Oscar Martinez). Courtesy of the artist. hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy of the artist.
Dominican-American actors, activists, and ramen-with-adobo-chefs Juan Bago (Michael Diaz) and "O" (Oscar Martinez).

Dominican-American actors, activists, and ramen-with-adobo-chefs Juan Bago (Michael Diaz) and "O" (Oscar Martinez).

Courtesy of the artist.

English / Spanish

I spent many nights in the late 1990s in Buenos Aires sitting on my friends' doorsteps and watching the world go by. It was a bad time to be a teenager bursting with hormones and energy. We wanted to go to clubs and concerts, but most of our parents were unemployed or were owed serious money by their employers. It was no coincidence that by the time Argentina collapsed, many of those who took to the streets were enraged teens.

But there were a few beautiful, mind-numbingly hot and still summers before it all went to hell. My fondest memory is sitting with the neighborhood kids, watching the show provided by the guy across the street in apartment 6A every Friday.

I don't know what his deal was, but about 10 p.m. we'd gather around in shorts and loose tank tops, with ice cubes, popsicles, sodas and (if we were interested in looking tough) cigarettes. Right on schedule, the very well built Mr. 6A would appear on his balcony in sweatpants and chancletas (flip flops), and start booming some of the funkiest, sexiest, grooviest music I'd ever heard in my life. He would then perform a strip tease, though there was no frontal nudity. This man, clearly an out of work dancer, played James Brown, Prince, Parliament-Funkadelic, Jimi Hendrix and more. And that was the way I fell in love with funk. I was mesmerized more by the wah-wah guitars than by the ridiculous Speedos on my dancing neighbor.

I still love funk, and this week's show could easily be a playlist for the man in 6A. We start off in Puerto Rico with up-and-coming Latin alternative artist Mima. Her song "Oigo Voces" (I Hear Voices) is reminiscent of "Somebody's Watching Me" by Rockwell or even Ray Parker Jr.'s "Ghostbusters," spooky and groovy all in one. If you hear something familiar in this song, then give yourself a pat on the back for being a good student of Alt.Latino. It's Rita Indiana's handiwork. Indiana collaborated on Mima's new album El Pozo and wrote this song.

Going from spooky to sexy, our favorite Panamanians Los Rakas are featured in a remix of Goapele's sensuous "Play." It's a side of Los Rakas we hadn't quite heard before, and it'll make you want to head home, run a bubble bath and pop open some champagne.

Speaking of kink, I hope you have your sparkly latex masks on hand, because we've got a new Mexican Institute Of Sound song that's about one of co-host Felix Contreras' favorite topics: lucha libre, or Mexican wrestling. The song "El Jefe" is a groovy psychedelic tune featured on the new A&E Latin America reality series El Luchador, about the lives of lucha libre stars.

We're also premiering a new occasional segment in which we feature a funny or viral Latin video on the show. This week we've got Juan Bago and the uptown collective doing a spoof on Jay-Z and Kanye's "Ni—as In Paris." In the original song, Jay and Kanye brag about how difficult it is to be millionaires. In the spoof, Bago (aka Michael Diaz) and his cohort O (aka Oscar Martinez) talk about how broke they are and the importance of finding a woman who can share costs. The video is as funny as the song, and although I love Jay and Kanye, it's good to hear a duo really keeping it real. I know a lot more people who have trouble paying for dates than people who drop $50,000 like it's small change.

Bago and company, like so many other artists on our show today, know something that I discovered as a teenager, sitting on doorsteps in the dead of summer and pining to be at fancy clubs I couldn't afford. When you're down, you get down and keep it as funky as possible – even if that means watching your crazy neighbors dance the night away while you eat ice cubes.

¡No Pares, Sigue, Sigue! Funky New Songs From Puerto Rico, Mexico and New York City

Cover of Mima's El Pozo.
Courtesy of the artist

Oigo Voces

  • Artist: Mima
  • Album: El Pozo

Coming at you from: Puerto Rico.

Purchase 'El Pozo' On iTunes

Purchase Featured Music

Song
Oigo Voces
Album
El Pozo
Artist
Mima
Label
SPIK Records
Released
2011

Your purchase helps support NPR Programming. How?

Mondo Beyondo

Mondo Beyondo Courtesy of the artist. hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy of the artist.

Tropicadelica

  • Artist: Ursula 1000
  • Album: Mondo Beyondo

Coming at you from: USA.

Purchase Featured Music

Song
Tropicadelica
Album
Mondo Beyondo
Artist
Ursula 1000
Label
ESL Music
Released
2011

Your purchase helps support NPR Programming. How?

 Cover for Os Magrelos and Magrela Rose's album.
Courtesy of Electric Cowbell Records

Canada Dry

  • Artist: Magrela Rose
  • Album: Os Magrelos & Magrela Rose : Luz Negra b/w Seja Como For / Canada Drive

Coming at you from: USA.

Goapele feat. Rakas, "Play"

Goapele feat. Rakas, "Play" Courtesy of the artist. hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy of the artist.

Play

  • Artist: Goapele
  • Album: Break Of Dawn

Coming at you from: USA and Panama. This album is available from Amazon and iTunes.

YouTube

El Jefe

  • Artist: Mexican Institute Of Sound
  • Album: Politico

Coming at you from: Mexico.

YouTube
Gracias Al DJ

Gracias Al DJ Courtesy of the artist. hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy of the artist.

Ahuevo Gracias Al DJ

  • Artist: Simpson Ahuevo
  • Album: Ahuevo Gracias Al DJ

Coming at you from: Mexico.

YouTube
E Assim Falava Mefistofeles

E Assim Falava Mefistofeles Courtesy of the artist. hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy of the artist.

E Assim Falava Mefistofeles

  • Artist: O Bando
  • Album: O Bando

Coming at you from: Brazil.

YouTube
Watch The Throne

Watch The Throne Courtesy of the artist. hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy of the artist.

Ni--as in Paris

  • Artist: Jay-Z/Kanye West
  • Album: Watch the Throne

Coming at you from: USA. This album is available from Amazon and iTunes.

YouTube
Watch The Throne

Watch The Throne Courtesy of the artist. hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy of the artist.

Otis

  • Artist: Jay-Z/Kanye West
  • Album: Watch the Throne

Coming at you from: USA. This album is available from Amazon and iTunes.

YouTube

Dominis In Washington Heights

  • Artist: Juan Bago and the Uptown Collective
  • Album: Dominis In Washington Heights

Coming At You From: USA.

YouTube
DJ Raff

DJ Raff Courtesy of the artist. hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy of the artist.

Latino & Proud

  • Artist: DJ Raff
  • Album: Latino & Proud

Coming at you from: Chile. This album is available from Amazon MP3 and iTunes.

YouTube

Villain Chillin (Don't Be Afraid)

  • Artist: Toy Selectah Feat Rey Pila
  • Album: Red Bull Tour Bus

Coming at you from: Mexico.

YouTube

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English / Spanish

¡Que Rico! Nuevas Canciones De Puerto Rico, Mexico Y Nueva York

Me pasé muchas noches a fines de los años 90s en Buenos Aires sentada en la entrada de la casa de mi amiga, viendo al mundo pasarme de largo. Era un mal momento para ser un adolescente lleno de hormonas y energía. Queríamos ir a clubes y conciertos, pero la mayoría de nuestros padres estaban desocupados, o sus empleadores les debían una suma importante de dinero. No es ninguna coincidencia que cuando la Argentina finalmente colapsó, muchos de los que salieron a protestar a las calles eran jovenes enfurecidos.

Pero antes de que nos fuesemos todos derecho al infierno, hubo algunos veranos bellos, sofocantes y tenebrosamente quietos.

Uno de mis recuerdos favoritos es sentarme con los chicos del barrio y mirar el show que nos daba todos los Viernes el tipo que vivía en el piso 6A, en el edificio de enfrente. No se cual era su problema, pero como a las 10 p.m. nos juntabamos todos vestidos en shorts y camisetas sin mangas, con cubitos de hielo, helados de fruta, gaseosas y (si queríamos aparentar se verdaderamente rebeldes) cigarrillos. Y siempre puntual, el señor que vivía en el 6A, un tipo atlético y musculoso, aparecía en su balcón en pantalones de gimnasia y chancletas, prendía su radio, y empezaba a tocar la música más sexy, funky, y sensual que yo había oído en mi vida. Y empezaba a bailar un striptease, aunque sin jamás quedar del todo desnudo. Claramente el hombre era un bailarín desempleado, y tocaba James Brown, Prince, Parliament-Funkadelic, Jimi Hendrix y más. Y asi es como me enamoré del funk. Para mí, el gemido de las guitarra de Hendrix era mil veces más fascinante que los pequeñísimos calzoncillos de mi vecino el bailarín.

Todavía amo el funk, y el show de esta semana facilmente podría ser parte del repertorio musical del vecino del 6A. Empezamos en Puerto Rico con Mima, una cantante que ha generado mucho interés en la escena indie de Puerto Rico. Su canción "Oigo Voces" me recuerda a "Somebody's Watching Me" de Rockwell o inclusive a "Ghostbusters" de Ray Parker Jr: sensual pero a la vez llena de miedo y paranoia. Y si escuchás algo familiar en la canción, significa que sos un muy buen alumno de Alt.Latino. Se trata del sonido único de la dominicana Rita Indiana, quien colaboró con Mima en su nuevo album El Pozo, y escribió esta canción.

A continuación escuchamos a nuestros amigos panameños Los Raka, quienes figuran en el remix de "Play" la sensual canción de Goapele. Es un estilo de seducción que no habíamos oído antes en Los Rakas, y cuando lo escuches te va a dar ganas de irte a tu casa, hacer un baño de burbujas y abrir una botella de champagne. Hablando de piel y sudor, espero que tengan a mano sus máscaras de cuero, porque esta semana escuchamos algo nuevo del Instituto Mexicano Del Sonido. La canción El Jefe se trata de uno de los temas favoritos de mi colega Felix Contreras: lucha libre mexicana. También la psicodélica canción es parte de la nueva serie reality El Luchador del canal A&E, la cual narra la vida de varios luchadores libres.

También esta semana estrenamos un nuevo segmento ocasional en nuestro programa, en el cual escuchamos y hablamos acerca de un video viral latino.Esta semana les presentamos a Juan Bago y uptown collective haciendo una parodia de la canción "Ni**as In Paris" de Jay Z y Kanye West. En el tema original, Kanye y Jay hacen alarde de lo dificil que es ser millonarios. En la parodia, Bago (nombre real Michael Diaz) y su sequaz O (Oscar Martinez) cantan acerca de lo mal que andan económicamente, y la importancia de encontrar una mujer que los ayude a cubrir los costos. El video es tan gracioso como la canción, y aunque me encantan Jay y Kanye, es refrescante escuchar al dúo cantar sobre algo que cuadra con la realidad de la mayoría de la gente. No se ustedes , pero yo conozco muchas más personas que tienen dificultad para pagar sus cuentas, que personas que pueden gastar $50,000 como si nada.

Bago y compañía, al igual que tantos artistas que figuran en el programa de hoy, saben algo que yo descubrí de adolescente, sentada en la entrada de la casa de mi amiga, en el verano pantanoso, soñando con ir a alguna discoteca fina. Cuando te sentís mal, no importa lo mucho que te duela, tenés que buscar cualquier manera de pasarla bien, aunque tan solo por un ratito, aunque tan solo sea mirando al vecino del 6A bailar como un loco mientras te comés cubitos de hielo.

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