Felix Contreras Felix Contreras is host of Alt.Latino, NPR's program about Latin Alternative music and Latino culture.
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This is it for me at Mixed Signals, at least for the time being. I have to say, it's been a blast. Next week, Ken Rudin, our master of pun and wit, will be at the helm. As a despedida (farewell), please indulge me and let me offer a heartfelt shout-out to two musicians who died this week whose passings you may not have noticed. I am a long-time fan of Afro-Cuban music of all stripes (dance, folkloric, Latin jazz), and this week we lost two very talented drummers: one who was an up-and-comer; the other, a veterano of many sessions and gigs. Miguel "Anga" Diaz died in Barcelona earlier this week. Just 45 years old, he had become known as a talent worthy of the distinction "Master Drummer." Journalist Agustin Gurza wrote a wonderful obit for Anga this week. Percussionist Ray Romero also died. He never led a band or recorded an album under his own name. But Lil' Ray Romero's (as he was known by his peers) influence among drummers that came after him is immeasurable. Musicians from Puerto Rico, Miami, Manhattan and California have mourned his passing. If you get a chance, give these guys a listen -- their music is incredible. Catch you later.
Moms of the world, please find something else to do right now. Don't read this post. According to a recent study, television is more soothing to kids than a comforting mother when dealing with physical pain. There are still more studies out there that say too much TV is not a good thing. But when it comes to taking the ouch out of a kid's "boo boo," it seems Scooby-Doo is more effective. Although they didn't study it, I bet the old Mexican mom's soothing "Sana, sana, colita de rana" can trump Fred Flintstone every time. And speaking of soothing sounds, check out Oliver Wang's review of the new CD Panama! Latin, Calypso and Funk at the Isthmus on Morning Edition today. The CD gives us a peek into the amazing music scene of Panama in the 1960s and '70s when it was the crossroads of the Americas. The music that was brought in from foreign ships and radios created a cultural mix that resulted in sounds that are as fresh now as they were then. Give it a listen... you won't be disappointed, and you may, in fact, be quite surprised.