Speaking truth to power through music : Alt.Latino This week we reach back into the Alt.Latino archives to bring you three recent shows about contemporary protest music in Latin America and the U.S.

Speaking truth to power through music

Speaking truth to power through music

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1076680463/1076683482" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Residente (right) and Bad Bunny call for Puerto Rican governor Ricardo Rosselló's resignation in San Juan on July 17, 2019. Eric Rojas/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
Eric Rojas/AFP/Getty Images

Residente (right) and Bad Bunny call for Puerto Rican governor Ricardo Rosselló's resignation in San Juan on July 17, 2019.

Eric Rojas/AFP/Getty Images

This week we take a look back into the Alt.Latino archives to revisit three shows that illustrate the power of music in confronting social injustice. The protest song has a long tradition in Latin America, and several recent political movements and events are examples of how that tradition is still alive.

In the 2018 edition of Alt.Latino's episode "Challenging Trump's Immigration Policy Through Music," I talked to Texas musician David Garza about a moving video he made on the Texas/Mexican border that illustrates the complex emotions of Central Americans caught up in U.S. immigration's byzantine policies. He also recounts his own knowledge of protest music used here in the U.S. during the Civil Rights movement, and the fight for economic justice for farmworkers.

In summer 2019 the streets of the San Juan, Puerto Rico were exploding with demonstrations against then governor of the island, Ricardo Rosselló. Former Calle 13 frontman Residente, his younger sister who performs as iLe and Bad Bunny — yes, that Bad Bunny — collaborated on a fiery musical call for his resignation. I spoke to Residente just days after they released the song for free via Youtube.

And just last summer the island nation of Cuba reverberated with the most massive expression of discontent in the country's history. Once again, there was a song that propelled emotions: "Patria Y Vida," by a collaboration of musicians who lived on and off the island. I spoke with several of those involved in the production about the particular situation for demonstrators and the role music played in that historic moment.

This is the first installment in a series of reflections from our archives. We hope these episodes will remind you of your own favorite episode, or introduce you to a new one if you missed it the first time around. This episode and the series is produced by Alt.Latino intern Cat Sposato.