Tiny Desk, Huge Enthusiasm: Latin Music On Our Small Stage : Alt.Latino Alt.Latino samples some of the Latin artists who've performed in NPR's one-of-a-kind concert series.
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Tiny Desk, Huge Enthusiasm: Latin Music On Our Small Stage

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Tiny Desk, Huge Enthusiasm: Latin Music On Our Small Stage

Tiny Desk, Huge Enthusiasm: Latin Music On Our Small Stage

Tiny Desk, Huge Enthusiasm: Latin Music On Our Small Stage

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/495005568/495035264" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Mariachi Flor De Toloache is just one of the many Latin bands who have graced NPR's Tiny Desk. Jun Tsuboike/NPR hide caption

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Jun Tsuboike/NPR

Mariachi Flor De Toloache is just one of the many Latin bands who have graced NPR's Tiny Desk.

Jun Tsuboike/NPR

NPR's Tiny Desk series documents one-of-a-kind performances, allowing for an intimate look at musicians — some well-known, others just starting out — as they make music behind Bob Boilen's desk in the NPR Music offices.

Started in 2008, the Tiny Desk concerts are often imitated but never quite duplicated. The setting helps, as do our world-class engineers and the recording equipment we keep on hand. But the secret weapon is that the musicians who come through almost always have a personal relationship with NPR.

When Alt.Latino started asking Latin musicians to come play for us at the desk, we found the same level of enthusiasm. Now that the series is pushing 600 episodes, we've been able to bring in as many forms of Latin music as we can. The artists represented on this week's show are by no means singled out as our favorites — like all proud parents, we don't play favorites — but they're all great.

Instead, consider this sampler an invitation to dive in and discover all the great Latin music we've presented so far, with much more to come.

Watch The Concerts

  • Mariachi El Bronx

    "Though the group's members started out and still perform as the L.A. punk band The Bronx, they've managed to reinvent themselves with exceptional authenticity. They play with just the right amount of passion and pathos; they pick and strum and blow as if they've studied the masters; and they don't look out of place in the pants and jackets." —Felix Contreras

  • Omara Portuondo

    "Her performance here of two classic boleros was enough to transport us to another time and place. Achingly tender and direct, her Tiny Desk concert reflects the passion for life she instills in every performance. So sit back and take in a brief but lovely performance by a timeless, ageless wonder." —Felix Contreras

  • Miguel

    "Miguel turned up in the NPR Music offices early one morning, after playing a show late the night before. He appeared light and calm, and betrayed no hint that he was nervous about stripping his highly produced hits down to their bones. Accompanied by just his guitarist, Dru DeCaro, Miguel eschewed flash and went big on small gestures — ingratiating ad libs, only one full spin and voice control that kept the songs close to his chest but emotive enough to translate to the back of the room." —Frannie Kelley

  • Diego El Cigala

    "While he comes from the world of flamenco, he has deftly expanded his expressive range by applying his unmistakable voice to boleros, Spanish copla, tangos, jazz and various combinations of all of the above. See and hear for yourself how one musician can create something completely new by drawing on traditions that are centuries old." —Felix Contreras

  • Ana Tijoux

    "In this intimate performance at the NPR Music offices with percussionist Names Thompson, Tijoux held a mid-afternoon crowd enthralled with her rhythmic flow and offerings from her album 1977. It's an uncharacteristically quiet performance, but all the more powerful for its subtlety." —Felix Contreras

  • Nina Diaz

    "As a solo artist, Diaz finds new ways to sound ferocious, this time via songs packed with the kind of subtleties that come with a bit of age and wisdom. Her new album is due out in the fall, but she's been out on the road with her new band as they figure out how to make the material come alive on the stage." —Felix Contreras

  • Irene Diaz

    "The first time I heard it, Irene Diaz's voice stopped me cold: Her sheer power belies her compact stature, and her musical impact is simply immense. With her musical partner Carolyn Cardoza strumming away intently on ukulele, Diaz conjures a place where emotions run deep and beauty is unmistakable." —Felix Contreras

  • Flaco Jimenez

    "Jimenez was able to perform a Tiny Desk concert because he had traveled to Washington, D.C., from his home in San Antonio to receive a Heritage Fellowship awarded by the National Endowment of the Arts. He was being honored for carrying on what his grandfather and so many other conjunto musicians have been doing for more than a century: getting people on the dance floor with an accordion and a song." —Felix Contreras

  • Mariachi Flor De Toloache

    "The best way to introduce yourself to Mariachi Flor De Toloache is to see it live — something many have done as the band tours with The Arcs, both as members and as an opening act. It's got top-notch musicianship, mariachi swagger for days, and a performance style that captures all the power and emotion you'd hope for." —Felix Contreras