This Week On Alt.Latino: Artists Who Mix It Up : Alt.Latino We left no stone unturned in our search across the Latin world for musicians whose work infuses a rich musical tradition with rock, hip-hop and dance.
NPR logo This Week On Alt.Latino: Artists Who Mix It Up

This Week On Alt.Latino: Artists Who Mix It Up

Last week, during our show about love songs, we noticed that a lot of our picks sound quite similar to indie-rock bands in the U.S.

This week, we're checking out artists with a completely different musical approach: combining traditional Latin sounds, rhythms and instruments with rock, hip-hop and electronica.

We traveled throughout the Latin world to discover a wealth of musicians: a Peruvian group that puts a new spin on an old musical story, a musical collective from Argentina that brings tango to a disco near you, and a Mexican musician whose new take on Mexican folk leaves us breathless. We end our journey in San Francisco, with a Cuban-American band that sounds like The Clash, Tito Puente and The Brian Setzer Orchestra blasting out a feminist anthem.

But we ended up facing a happy dilemma — so many bands, so little time.

So we'll squeeze in a few more whom we liked but couldn't fit this time:

Rita Indiana is from the Dominican Republic, and she's an exponent of merengue techno — funny, deep and highly danceable.

Her nasal drawl sounds like she might just be mentioning something to you on the street as you pass the corner she's standing on. Although we love "Maldito Facebu" (Damn You Facebook), check out "La Hora De Volve" (Time To Go Back). It's incredibly catchy and an example of Indiana's lyrical capacity. (Indeed, she's an acclaimed novelist, having written 2005's Papi and 2003's La Estrategia de Chochueca.)


Another band (Felix's pick) which we didn't get to: Michael Ramos' Mexican electronica project Charanga Cakewalk.

Rios is based in Austin, Texas, and his sound reflects the great modern tradition of northern Mexican border music that features accordions and cowboy hats.

Felix says he's fascinated by hearing some of the sounds he grew up with filtered through keyboards, computers and Rios' imagination.

Who knew accordions could be so hip?


We obviously didn't come close to covering all the possibilities. Stay tuned for more discoveries in the future.