Alt.Latino's Primavera Extravaganza : Alt.Latino Alt.Latino host Felix Contreras empties the mail bag that was overflowing with new music. Mexico and Spain are represented as are Joni Mitchell and Amy Winehouse.

Alt.Latino's Primavera Extravaganza

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(SOUNDBITE OF NEW BOJAIRA SONG, "ZORONGO BLU (ZORONGO POR SEGUIRIYA)")

FELIX CONTRERAS, HOST:

From NPR Music, this is ALT.LATINO. I'm Felix Contreras. It's springtime, la primavera, my favorite time of the year. And to celebrate, we have a batch of new music, our spring primavera 2019 music extravaganza - tons of music, lots of great tracks this week. This is from a band called New Bojaira, and it's a flamenco jazz group. This is the title track from their new record, "Zorongo Blu."

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "ZORONGO BLU (ZORONGO POR SEGUIRIYA"")

NEW BOJAIRA: (Singing) Veinte-quatro horas del día, 24 horas que tiene. Si tuviera 27, tres horas más te querría. La luna es un pozo chico. Las flores no valen nada. La luna es un pozo chico. Las flores no valen nada. Lo que valen son tus brazos cuando de noche me abrazan. La luna es un pozo chico. Las flores no valen nada. Lo que valen son tus brazos cuando de noche me abrazan. Las manos de mi cariño te están tejiendo una capa con agremán de alhelíes y con esclavinas de agua. La luna es un pozo chico. Las flores no valen nada. Lo que valen son tus brazos cuando de noche me abrazan. (Vocalizing). La luna es un pozo chico. Las flores no valen nada. Lo que valen son tus brazos cuando de noche me abrazan. La luna es un pozo chico. Las flores no valen nada. Lo que valen son tus brazos cuando de noche me abrazan. De noche me salgo al campo, y me harto de llorar, de ver que te quiero tanto, y tú no me quieres nada. La luna es un pozo chico. Las flores no valen nada.

CONTRERAS: Proof that we play everything here on ALT.LATINO. That was flamenco jazz from the group New Bojaira. We're going to continue with - where's my - ah. This is a new song by a guy named Andy Vargas. Andy Vargas is the lead singer for Santana and has been for quite a long time - a really high-profile gig, right? He's about to release his first solo album, and this is a sneak preview of the kind of old-school soul music that's on the album. You can hear a little bit of the influence of Santana, but Andy Vargas definitely puts his own spin on it. This is called "The Beat." Again, Andy Vargas.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "THE BEAT")

ANDY VARGAS: (Singing) All right, yeah. Don't listen what you're told. It's time to question what you see. The answers will unfold if you put your faith in the beat. The plan at hand is to manipulate, sow the seeds of fear and hate. There's competition for your move. Don't you worry. Pay attention to the groove. Consider it a little bit of you. All you got to do is dance. Maybe give the beat a chance. When nothing else is making sense, put the rhythm to the test. Baby, give the beat a chance. All we got to do is come on and dance. That's right, now. Just move your feet, baby. Reach out to your brother. Fill your heart with the groove. Don't treat him like the other 'cause we've got nothing to prove. We act like there's a difference, consequence of ignorance. But there's no other way to prove. Don't you worry, and pay attention to the groove. It feels so good, yeah. All we've got to do is dance. My baby, give the beat a chance. When nothing else is making sense, put the rhythm to the test. Baby, give the beat a chance. All we've got to do is come on and dance. Some might dance like in the back, people shaking after dark. Just make a move. Just make a move and cruise. Everybody dance. Give the beat a chance. When nothing else is making sense, just put the rhythm to the test. Maybe give the beat a chance. All we've got to do is - I know you feel me. I know you want to open up your heart now. I know you want to let it go. Yeah, I know they're trying to, I know they're trying to, I know they're trying to kill your soul, but they can't.

(SOUNDBITE OF OMAR APOLLO SONG, "FRIENDS")

CONTRERAS: OK, a nice segue to a more mellow sound. This is from an artist that, if you don't know, you should know. This is Omar Apollo and the track "Friends."

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "FRIENDS")

OMAR APOLLO: (Singing) I know I thought that we could be friends. But now I'm caught up in this mess. I can't pretend that I don't feel this 'cause if I don't, it'll leave me depressed. And I know it don't make no sense. But I'm getting used to this. And I'm older now, but I'm still young. And I got many, oh, many years to come. You just thought I just wanted to be friends. You just thought I just wanted to be friends. And I never said it out loud. I'd end up looking like a fool. Am I the only one afraid to make a move? Maybe you're feeling what I'm feeling, too. And I know it don't make no sense. But I'm getting used to this. And I'm older now, but I'm still young. And I got many, oh, many years to come. You just thought I just wanted to be friends. You just thought I just wanted to be friends. And I'm older now, but I'm still young. And I got many, oh, many years to come. You just thought I just wanted to be friends. You just thought I just wanted to be friends. You just thought I just wanted to be friends. You just thought I just wanted to be friends.

(SOUNDBITE OF JESSICA MEDINA SONG, "BACK TO BLACK")

CONTRERAS: You are listening to ALT.LATINO. You're listening to our Spring Primavera New Music Extravaganza. We're going to continue with more music. This is from Jessica Medina. Check this song out. I'm not even going to tell you what the title is. Dig the son jarocho feel, and then get into the lyric. I'll see you at the other end.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "BACK TO BLACK")

JESSICA MEDINA: (Singing) He left no time to regret. Kept his thing wet with his same old self. Me and my head high and my tears dry went on without my guy. You went back to what you knew, so far removed from all that we went through. And I tread a troubled track. My odds are stacked. I go back to black. We only said goodbye with words. I died a hundred times. You go back to her, and I go back to us. I love you so much. It's not enough. You love her, and I love us. And life is like a pipe. And I'm a tiny penny rolling up the walls inside. We only said goodbye with words. I died a hundred times. You go back to her, and I go back to us. Black, black. We only said goodbye with words. I died a hundred times. You go back to her, and I go back to - sola me dejaste ayer. Te fuiste sin volver, sin razón por qué, mil mentiras. Black, black.

CONTRERAS: That was Jessica Medina and "Back To Black" - Amy Winehouse's "Back To Black." You know, Jessica Medina's a kind of jazz singer that ignores boundaries and genres and even language. She does all of this different stuff. And this gets my vote for the most creative cover song I've heard in a very long time - again, that son jarocho take on the Amy Winehouse classic "Back To Black." It was a brilliant idea perfectly executed by Jessica Medina.

OK, next up, a band from Colombia called Diamante Eléctrico. I met these guys at the Latin Grammys a few years ago - very nice guys, very creative guys making their own place in the Colombian music scene, with their very distinct brand of music that includes rock. It includes all these different influences. This is a track from their new record. It's called "Oro" or gold.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "ORO")

DIAMANTE ELÉCTRICO: (Singing) Una gema esquiva, diosa brillante. El aire envidia tu electricidad. La supernova 79, una colisión estelar en la piel. Inspírame la rima. Guárdame el secreto. Me tienes encantado a ti. Fuego en los ojos, pistola en los labios, ¿y ahora quién nos va a salvar? Tan sutil y real, cada lágrima es un rito. Si te vas, no hay fricción. Sé que tú para mí eres oro. Y en un mar de alquitrán yo miro a tu magia. El tiempo se detiene a tus pies. Mis alas rotas, tu alfombra mágica, tú redefines la ley de gravedad. El dedo en el gatillo, el arca en el diluvio, hasta el sol te va a adorar. Reescribes el destino. Encarnas la quimera. Místico es el viaje amor. Tan sutil y real, cada lágrima es un rito. Si te vas, no hay fricción. Sé que tú para mí eres oro. Para mí eres oro, oro, oro, oro. Para mí eres oro, oro, oro, oro. Para mí eres oro, oro. Para mí eres oro, oro. Para mí eres oro, oro. Para mí eres oro, oro. Tan sutil y real, cada lágrima es un rito. Si te vas, no hay fricción. Sé que tú para mí eres - tan sutil y real. Cada lágrima es un rito. Si te vas, no hay fricción. Sé que tú para mí eres oro.

CONTRERAS: Diamante Eléctrico from Colombia with the track "Oro."

OK, we're going to take a break from the music real quick because I want to remind you that we want to better understand who is listening to the show and how you are using podcasts overall. So you've got to please help us out by completing a short, anonymous survey at npr.org/podcastsurvey. That's one word. That's npr.org/podcastsurvey. It takes less than 10 minutes, and it really helps support the show and, again, helps support representation here on NPR. We really want to know who's listening, where you are and all that stuff. That's npr.org/podcastsurvey.

OK, next up is a track called "Dreamland," and it was recorded during a celebration of the iconic singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell. They assembled a bunch of her contemporaries to celebrate her 75th birthday. And I was super pleased to see La Marisoul from La Santa Cecilia listed among the performers. In fact, she's on three cuts - all right? - amidst Graham Nash, amidst James Taylor, amidst Norah Jones, OK? She's holding her own. I was really happy to see La Marisoul in this company. This is called "Dreamland," and it also features Los Lobos and the son jarocho musicians Xochi Flores and César Campos (ph). La Marisoul in "Dreamland."

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "DREAMLAND (LIVE)")

LA MARISOUL: (Singing) It's a long, long way from East LA, a long way from snow chains, donkey vendors slicing coconut, no parkas to their name. Black babies covered in baking flour, the cook's got a carnival song. We're going to lay down someplace shady with dreamland coming on, dreamland coming on, dreamland, dreamland. Walter Raleigh and Chris Columbus come out marching out of the waves and claim the beach and all concessions in the name of the suntan slave.

CHAKA KHAN: (Singing) Freedom, freedom, freedom, freedom, freedom.

LA MARISOUL: (Singing) I wrapped that flag around me like a Dorothy Lamour sarong, and I lay down thinking national with dreamland coming on, dreamland, dreamland, dreamland.

LA MARISOUL AND CHAKA KHAN: (Singing) Dreamland.

KHAN: (Singing) Dreamland, dreamland, dreamland, dreamland, dreamland, dreamland. (Vocalizing).

LA MARISOUL: (Singing) Good-time Mary and a fortune hunter all dressed up to follow the drums. Mary in a feather hula hoop. Miss Fortune on a rose on her big game gun. All saints, all sinners shining, heed those trumpets all night long. Propped up on a son jarocho beat with dreamland coming on.

LA MARISOUL AND KHAN: (Singing) Dreamland, dreamland, dreamland, dreamland.

KHAN: (Singing) Dream on, dream on, dream on, (vocalizing). Yeah.

LA MARISOUL: (Singing) Tar baby and a Great White Wonder talking over a glass of rum, burning on the inside with the knowledge of things to come.

KHAN: (Singing) Dream on, dream on, dream on, dream on, dream on, dream on.

LA MARISOUL: (Singing) There's gambling out on the terrace, midnight rambling on the road, as they heed toward temptation with dreamland coming on.

LA MARISOUL AND KHAN: (Singing) Dreamland, dreamland, dreamland, dreamland.

KHAN: (Singing) Dream on, dream on, dream on. (Vocalizing).

LA MARISOUL: (Singing) Ay, yo les canto "La Bamba." Yo les canto "La Bamba" con gratitud porque así la he escuchado, porque así la he escuchado en Veracruz, ay, arriba y arriba. Ay, arriba y arriba y arriba iré. Yo no soy marinero. Yo no soy marinero. Por ti seré. Por ti seré. Por ti seré, ay.

KHAN: (Singing) Por ti seré, por ti seré. Por ti seré (vocalizing).

LA MARISOUL: (Singing) In a plane flying back to winter, in shoes full of tropic sand a lady in a foreign flag on the arm of her Marlboro Man. Hawk howls in New York City. Six-foot drifts on Myrtle's lawn, as they beat the recline buttons down, dreamland coming on.

LA MARISOUL AND KHAN: (Singing) Dreamland, dreamland, dreamland, dreamland.

KHAN: (Vocalizing).

LA MARISOUL: (Singing) Dreamland, dreamland, dreamland, dreamland, dreamland, dreamland.

KHAN: (Vocalizing).

LA MARISOUL: (Singing) Ay, African sands on the trade winds and the sun on the Amazon, as they push the recline button down...

LA MARISOUL AND KHAN: (Singing) Dreamland coming on, dreamland, dreamland, dreamland, dreamland.

KHAN: (Singing) Dream on, dream on, dream on, dream on, dream on (vocalizing).

LA MARISOUL AND KHAN: (Vocalizing).

LA MARISOUL: Chaka Khan.

KHAN: (Singing) Yeah. (Vocalizing).

LA MARISOUL: (Singing) Dreamland, dreamland, dreamland, dreamland, dreamland.

(APPLAUSE)

CONTRERAS: OK, now we're going to switch it up a little bit on our spring new music preview. This is a group called Los Cojolites. They're a group from Mexico who play son jarocho. And this is a new track they have called "Nada Es Verdad," and it features Natalia Lafourcade, the great Mexican vocalist. Check this one out.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "NADA ES VERDAD")

LOS COJOLITES: (Singing) Se escucha en la madrugada un estruendo de terror, gente corriendo en las calles, lágrimas de dolor. Debemos cambiar el rumbo. El sistema no sirvió.

LOS COJOLITES AND NATALIA LAFOURCADE: (Singing) Nada, nada es verdad. Todo es un sueño escrito por la sociedad. Nada, nada es verdad. Todo es un sueño escrito por la sociedad. Ay, por Dios, ¿qué sera de mí? ¿A dónde iremos a parar? En esta oscura sociedad, ya paremos la maldad. Ay, por Dios, ¿qué será de mí? ¿A dónde iremos a parar? En esta oscura sociedad, ya paremos la maldad.

LOS COJOLITES: (Singing) Hoy me quedé en el camino viendo la vida pasar. Pensaba en la barricada en la gente que está allá. Las injusticias son tantas. Esto tiene que parar.

LOS COJOLITES AND LAFOURCADE: (Singing) Nada, nada es verdad. Todo es un sueño escrito por la sociedad. Nada, nada es verdad. Todo es un sueño escrito por la sociedad.

NATALIA LAFOURCADE: (Singing) Anoche estaba soñando una gran felicidad. Niños reían. Cantaban con amor a su mamá. Era en un tiempo lejano. No quería despertar, no.

LOS COJOLITES AND LAFOURCADE: (Singing) Nada, nada es verdad. Todo es un sueño escrito por la sociedad. Nada, nada es verdad. Todo es un sueño escrito por la sociedad.

LOS COJOLITES: (Singing) Nada, nada es verdad.

LAFOURCADE: (Singing) Nada es verdad.

LOS COJOLITES: (Singing) Todo es un sueño escrito por la sociedad.

LAFOURCADE: (Singing) Todo es un sueño escrito por la sociedad. Nada, nada, nada es verdad.

LOS COJOLITES AND LAFOURCADE: (Singing) Todo es un sueño escrito por la sociedad.

LAFOURCADE: (Singing) Nada, nada, nada, nada, nada, nada.

LOS COJOLITES: (Singing) Nada es verdad.

LAFOURCADE: (Singing) Nada, nada, nada, nada, nada es verdad.

LOS COJOLITES: (Singing) Nada, nada, nada, nada es verdad.

LAFOURCADE: (Singing) Nada, nada, nada, nada es verdad. Nada, nada, nada, nada es verdad.

LOS COJOLITES: (Singing) Nada, nada es verdad.

LAFOURCADE: (Singing) Nada es verdad.

LOS COJOLITES: (Singing) Todo es un sueño escrito por la sociedad.

LAFOURCADE: (Singing) Todo es un sueño escrito por la sociedad. Nada, nada, nada es verdad.

LOS COJOLITES AND LAFOURCADE: (Singing) Todo es un sueño escrito por la sociedad.

LAFOURCADE: (Singing) Nada, nada, nada.

CONTRERAS: The Kansas City-based band Making Movies is an ALT.LATINO favorite. We've been following them from, I think, their first album a few years ago. They have been making music lately with Rubén Blades, a fellow Panamanian who reached out to them to collaborate. This is the fruit of one of those collaborations. This is a song called "No Perdonar" (ph). It also features the great vocals of Flor de Toloache. It's a powerful meditation on the humanitarian crisis happening at the U.S.-Mexico border. Now, the song depicts the inhumane treatment of children and families, and it features, again, Rubén Blades and Flor de Toloache. This is the band Making Movies. The track is called "No Perdonar."

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "CÓMO PERDONAR")

RUBÉN BLADES: La tierra no sabe dónde un país comienza ni dónde termina. Por eso esta canción va dedicada a todos ustedes y a los que hoy sufren y han sufrido en las fronteras que hemos creado en el mundo.

MAKING MOVIES: (Singing) En mis sueños me visita, vestidita de blanco, confundida. Y amanezco en esta pesadilla. ¿Cómo viviré con esta injusticia? No hay melodía que alivie este dolor. Ni hay religión que me enseñe cómo perdonar, cómo perdonar. Cuando el espíritu de una niña se desperdicia, ¿cómo perdonar? He doblado su camisita mil veces hasta que esté perfecta. Por un momento me olvido de la gran pena que me embarga este día. No hay poesía que alivie este dolor, ni hay oración que me lleve a perdonar, cómo perdonar.

BLADES: (Singing) Cuando el espíritu de un niño se desperdicia...

MAKING MOVIES: (Singing) ¿Cómo perdonar? El arroyo se secó. Mil veces te digo. El arroyo se secó. Tengo mil preguntas sin ninguna explicación. Hey, tengo mil preguntas para el rey de Babilón. He rotado en el camino. Diablo, ya no encuentro solución. Será Dios quien juzgue a este rey de Babilón. Nadie sabe nada. No puedo despedirme. No puedo desperdirme. No puedo despedirme ni perdonar. Cómo perdonar, cómo perdonar, cómo perdonar.

BLADES: (Singing) Cuando el espíritu de un niño se desperdicia...

MAKING MOVIES: (Singing) ¿Cómo perdonar? El arroyo se secó, y mi sueño se esfumó. Cómo perdonar, cómo perdonar, cómo perdonar. No hay melodía que alivie este dolor. No hay melodía cuando se pierde la voz. No hay melodía.

CONTRERAS: Making Movies featuring Rubén Blades and Flor de Toloache. Now, speaking of Flor de Toloache, the all-female mariachi group from New York, one of the lead singers, Mireya Ramos, recently discovered that she's related to R&B vocalist Miguel. Now, they've explored family history and their musical connection, and they decided to collaborate on some music. This is one of the songs that comes from this collaboration. This is a beautiful track called "Te Lo Dije" by Miguel and Mireya Ramos and Flor de Toloache.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "TE LO DIJE")

FLOR DE TOLOACHE: (Singing) Hay un mundo que te quiero mostrar y que no termina porque va profundo como el de la mar. Vamos a escaparnos porque yo, yo sé que tuyo es el placer en mi mirada. Pero sólo recuerda. Todo premio requiere un esfuerzo. Ay, me duele decírtelo, decírtelo. Ay, me duele decírtelo. Pues ya te lo dije yo.

MIGUEL: (Singing) Hay un mundo al que quiero viajar sólo contigo atravesar un mundo que es de la mar. Vamos a escaparnos porque yo sé que tuya es la malicia en mi hablar. Pero sólo recuerda que este premio se siente eterno. Ay, me duele decírtelo, ey, decírtelo. Ay, me duele decírtelo. Pues, ya te lo dije yo, oh.

FLOR DE TOLOACHE: (Singing) Yeah, yeah, uh-uh, ah. Yo sé que tuyo es el placer en mi mirada. Pero sólo recuerda. Todo premio...

FLOR DE TOLOACHE AND MIGUEL: (Singing) Requiere un esfuerzo.

MIGUEL: (Singing) Ya te lo dije yo. Te dije yo. Ya te lo dije yo. Te dije yo. Ya te lo dije yo. Te dije yo.

FLOR DE TOLOACHE AND MIGUEL: (Singing) Me duele decírtelo. Ya te lo dije yo, te dije, ya te lo dije yo, ya te lo dije, ya, ya, ya, ya, ya,, ya, ya, ya, ya te lo dije yo, ya te lo dije yo, ya te lo dije ya, ya te lo dije yo. Ya te lo dije yo, te dije yo. Ya te lo dije yo, ya te lo dije yo, te dije yo, ya te lo dije yo, ya te lo dije. Ya te lo dije yo, te dije yo.

CONTRERAS: OK. We're going to wrap up our Spring 2019 Primavera Music Extravaganza with a track that I'm sure you're going to recognize the tune but maybe not the arrangement. This is Jenny and the Mexicats doing a very, very familiar tune that you're going to know but adding a little bit of a flamenco feel to it. Again, Jenny and the Mexicats. You tell me the name of the song.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SI UNA VEZ")

JENNY AND THE MEXICATS: (Singing) Yo te di todo mi amor y más, y tú no reconoces ni lo que es amar. Yo me puse dispuesta a tus pies, y tan solo con desprecio me has pagado, pero ahora ve. Si una vez dije que te amaba, hoy me arrepiento. Si una vez dije que te amaba, no sé lo que pensé, estaba loca. Si una vez dije que te amaba y que por ti la vida daba. Si una vez dije que te amaba, no lo vuelvo a hacer. Ese error es cosa de ayer. Yo sé que un día tú volverás. Y tú de todo te arrepentirás.

CONTRERAS: OK. Thank you for listening to our 2019 Spring/Primavera New Music Extravaganza. You'll be able to hear all of the music that we played today on our website at npr.org/alt.latino. We're going to put it in a nice Spotify playlist. And also, don't forget to reach out to us on Facebook and Twitter. And we're NPR's ALT.LATINO. And before we go, I want to remind you about this podcast survey because it's very important that you reach out to us and take this 10-minute survey. It really will help this show as well as others and will help representation. We need to know who's listening, what you want to hear, et cetera - very important. So please, npr.org/podcastsurvey. I'm Felix Contreras. This has been ALT.LATINO. Thank you for listening.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SI UNA VEZ")

JENNY AND THE MEXICATS: (Singing) Si una vez dije que te amaba y que por ti la vida daba. Si una vez dije que te amaba, no lo vuelvo a hacer. Ese error es cosa de ayer.

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