RAZ: It's time now for music. And today, global music DJ Betto Arcos is back to share some of his favorite new Latin American artists, including this track from Colombia.


RAZ: Betto is the host of "Global Village" on KPFK in Los Angeles where he joins us from our studios at NPR West. Betto, thanks for being here.

BETTO ARCOS: Great to be with you, Guy.

RAZ: Tell me about this band that we're listening to right now.

ARCOS: This is a group called Frente Cumbiero, which sort of loosely translates as the front cumbia group. They're from Bogota, the capital of Colombia, and their name is sort of a play on the idea that the band is sort of building a front for cumbia or on behalf of cumbia, which is a style of music native to Colombia. It's pretty much the most popular dance music in every country but Colombia. And you might wonder why. Well, in the '70s when salsa and vallenato - the accordion-based music of Colombia - took over, cumbia sort of died down. And what Frente Cumbiero, what this group is doing, is trying to revive this music in their own country.


RAZ: That's the Colombian band Frente Cumbiero. Betto, the next artist you brought us is someone we've talked about before, the Mexican singer-songwriter Lila Downs, who is just an incredible voice. She won a Latin Grammy for Best Folk Album back in 2005. This song that you brought us is called "Zapata Se Queda." Let's take a listen to it. Love it.


RAZ: So, Betto, this song is called "Zapata Se Queda." And this song is actually about Emiliano Zapata, the Mexican revolutionary, right?

ARCOS: Correct. It's a song off her new album "Pecados y Milagros" or "Sins and Miracles." And Lila told me in an interview recently that this song came about because she was having these sort these recurrent dreams. And she was waking up in the middle of the night, and she would sort of see the ghost of Zapata.


ARCOS: So she wrote a song inspired by Zapata. But the song is also about what's happening in Mexico today. This is a song that has to do with this sort of, as she calls it, kind of the Wild West of Mexico that's going on right now with the violence where people are using firearms like it's a movie or something. And she's sort of singing this as a call to get good visionary leadership, like Zapata, to help the country in this time of need.


RAZ: New music from Lila Downs brought to us by Betto Arcos. He is the host of KPFK's Global Village. That's a radio show in Los Angeles. And we're listening to some of his favorite new songs from Latin America, including this one.


RAZ: Betto, thank you so much for bringing us Ana Tijoux, because we've talked about her in the past. She's a French Chilean hip-hop singer. Love her. One of my favorites, and I know one of your favorites. This song is called "Shock." Tell me what it's about.

ARCOS: This song is all about the protests that have taken place in the world over the past year.

RAZ: Protesters from the Arab Spring and the Occupy movements and, you know...

ARCOS: And the Occupy - exactly. In Chile, as you might remember, last year, there were some major protests by students against the government. They turned violent, unfortunately. But they were basically asking, hey, you know, we need education, we need jobs. You know, stop fooling around and do what you're supposed to do. And Ana Tijoux is really kind of paying homage to all of these protesters that are saying, hey, wake up. The time is up. This is the moment that we need change.


RAZ: That's Chilean artist Ana Tijoux brought to us by Betto Arcos. Betto, we have time for just one more.


RAZ: A completely different vibe here. This is really nice, Betto. This is a Peruvian band that you brought to us. It's called Novalima. Really interesting sound going on here.

ARCOS: Yeah. This is a really, really cool band. I followed their work for the last few years. This is their third record. It's a group of musicians from Peru who are interfusing hip, electronic dance music with traditional Afro-Peruvian music. Much like the first group Frente Cumbiero, who are sort of reinterpreting the traditional cumbia of Colombia, Novalima are bringing Afro-Peruvian music into the 21st century, blending it with dance styles and electronica. And what I really like about this group is that they managed to keep the roots of the music intact. They're not really messing with the beat and the rhythm. They're adding to it color and texture. Just wonderful.


RAZ: I love this energetic beat, this percussion in this song. Just makes it come alive.

ARCOS: Yeah, I know. The heart of this music is really the cajon Peruano, the Peruvian box. It's this instrument that these days you hear a lot in jazz and flamenco. The cajon, the box, originated in Peru and was played by Afro-Peruvian slaves who were brought there against their will. The music and the drum, you know, were banned for many, many years in Peru for a long time, and this song sort of talks about that.


RAZ: That's the Peruvian band Novalima. They're just one of Betto Arcos' picks for new music coming out of Latin America. You can hear more of that music on Betto's show. It's called "Global Village" on KPFK in Los Angeles. It streams online as well. Betto, thanks so much.

ARCOS: Thank you so much, Guy.


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