Alt.Latino's Picks For New Spring Music : Alt.Latino Alt.Latino's Felix Contreras curates some new musical gems for spring.
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Alt.Latino's Picks For New Spring Music

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Alt.Latino's Picks For New Spring Music

Alt.Latino's Picks For New Spring Music

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KORVA COLEMAN, HOST:

Our friend Felix Contreras of NPR Music's Alt.Latino visits us from time to time. And he usually tells us what he's going to play. But every once in a while, he puts us hosts in the hot seat. And so he's given me a bucket-load of songs where I get to choose my faves without telling me beforehand what they are. And Felix Contreras joins us now. Thank you for the music, Felix.

FELIX CONTRERAS, BYLINE: Good morning. You're welcome. And this is so much fun.

COLEMAN: I'm happy to talk to you, Felix. How are you?

CONTRERAS: (Laughter) I'm doing well. This is going to be cool.

COLEMAN: I have to say this was really intriguing this week to hear all of this music that you had prepared and not really have any idea of what I was going to receive. So before we get into this, where did you find this music?

CONTRERAS: This is going to be on our next podcast/radio show - the 2018 spring new music extravaganza that we'll have on the air this week. And I get it from all kinds of places - publicists, musicians, friends, the inter-webs. All kinds of stuff comes in from everywhere. And we select the music and put it on the air and share it.

COLEMAN: OK. Here's my first pick. We must play absolutely everything with congas in it.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "TANGA BUENA")

TANGA: (Singing in Spanish).

CONTRERAS: OK. This is Latin music from Vancouver, OK?

COLEMAN: What?

CONTRERAS: This is a band - yeah. This is a band called Tanga. They're Vancouver-based. They have three albums out. And it's a mashup of, like, different types of stuff - funky grooves, dancehall, a little bit of cumbia. This is their third album. It's called "Reencarnacion" - reincarnation. And this is a song called "Tanga Buena." And it really does reflect just who they are or what they're about - a little mashup of hip-hop and all-of-the-above really funky cool music. And I knew you would like this one.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "TANGA BUENA")

TANGA: (Singing in Spanish).

COLEMAN: All right. This next music pulled me in with its cheerfulness. And then I listen more closely. And it just about broke my heart - gorgeous music about life circumstances that may never change for somebody.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "MURO")

THE MEXICAN STANDOFF: (Singing) I was good at school. I never missed a day, played a lot of sports, got a lot of A's, wanted to be a doctor someday. They say I can't 'cause I'm illegal. Muro, muro - I was born south of the muro.

COLEMAN: Oh, Felix, this broke my heart. I love this.

CONTRERAS: OK. This is a song called "Muro" - the wall. And it's by a group called Mexican Standoff. So the liveliness, the very energetic spirit you hear is Mexican son jarocho. And this group is called Mexican Standoff. And it's a collective of son jarocho musicians in Southern California. And they get together to make songs that have a very direct political statement. And this is the most recent one, along with the video - very topical, very direct. And yeah, there are some circumstances in the song that reflect the reality of what's going on right now.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "MURO")

THE MEXICN STANDOFF: (Singing) Muro, muro - I grew up north of the muro.

COLEMAN: Felix, this next song is one that I adored. In fact, it could be the one song out of all of them that you gave to me that I found the most attractive.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "I'M LATE")

KERA AND THE LESBIANS: (Singing) Darling, don't go. It's (unintelligible) so close and yet so far somehow. One thing I know - you and me and the world break free.

COLEMAN: Whoa. Who is this woman?

KERA AND THE LESBIANS: This is a band called Kera & The Lesbians, OK? And the curious thing is that the Lesbians are all guys, OK?

COLEMAN: OK (laughter).

CONTRERAS: It's a tongue-in-cheek thing. But Kera is definitely a queer performer. And her music is so expressive. You immediately latch onto it and find things for yourself in it. And you obviously found something in it. I really like this track a lot.

COLEMAN: I do, too. OK, Felix. I have one more pick. Let's listen to it.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "CUANDO VOY A MI TRABAJO PIENSO EN TI")

ELEANOR DUBINSKY: (Singing in Spanish).

CONTRERAS: This is an artist named Eleanor Dubinsky. And this is a song called "Cuando Voy A Mi Trabajo" - when I go to work, when I go to my job. Eleanor Dubinsky is a New York City-based musician who has sort of absorbed all these different cultures and all these different languages. And she said she wrote this song as an homage to the number of immigrants working in New York City, people who go to work and can't share the day-to-day lives with their families because their families are left behind.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "CUANDO VOY A MI TRABAJO PIENSO EN TI")

DUBINSKY: (Singing in French).

COLEMAN: Felix Contreras is the host of NPR Music's Alt.Latino, a podcast and radio show about Latino arts and culture. And he'll feature these songs and more on his next show coming this week. Felix, thank you so much.

CONTRERAS: Thank you, Korva.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "CUANDO VOY A MI TRABAJO PIENSO EN TI")

DUBINSKY: (Singing) I'm working so hard for every dollar, sending money home to my love. Immigration - there's no consolation. I'm working so hard for every dollar, sending money home to my love...

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