What We Heard At RuidoFest, NuevoFest And The Latin Alternative Music Conference : Alt.Latino Alt.Latino hits the road to visit RuidoFest in Chicago, NuevoFest in Philadelphia and the Latin Alternative Music Conference (LAMC) in NYC.

What We Heard At The Best Festivals For Latin Alternative Music

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FELIX CONTRERAS, HOST:

From NPR Music, this is ALT.LATINO. I'm Felix Contreras. This week, ALT.LATINO goes on the road, and we're nationwide. Well, we're East Coast, and we're the Midwest, OK? You get the idea. We're going to feature the three big Latin music summer fests, as we do every year - Ruido Fest in Chicago, Nuevofest in Philadelphia and the LAMC in New York. We're going to introduce you to some new names, and we're going to catch up a few of your favorites.

And of course, I couldn't do this without some help. So again, I am joined by Marisa Arbona-Ruiz, who covered the 20th anniversary of the Latin Alternative Music Conference in New York, and we start in Chicago with Catalina Maria Johnson for Ruido Fest. Catalina, what's going on in Chicago this year?

CATALINA MARIA JOHNSON, BYLINE: So here we are at Ruido 2019 in Union Park in Chicago, surrounded by the many ruidos (laughter)...

LOYAL LOBOS: Yeah.

JOHNSON: ...The many noises of Ruido Fest. And I had a chance to check out the music by this folk pop, hard-to-describe indie musician Andrea Silva, known as Loyal Lobos. Hi, Andrea. Hi, Loyal Lobos.

LOYAL LOBOS: (Laughter) Hi, how are you?

JOHNSON: Tell me - well, the first thing is the name (laughter), an unusual name, Loyal Lobos. And you're from where?

LOYAL LOBOS: I'm from Bogotá, Colombia.

JOHNSON: So when did you come to Los Angeles? And tell us a little bit about, like, the sources - you were in a choir in Bogotá, I heard - and a little bit about how your music came together and your vision. Like, what do you want to share with the audience?

LOYAL LOBOS: Yeah. I grew up in the countryside of Bogotá, and I moved here five years ago. But I went to school, high school, everything in Colombia. And since I was 4, I was put in the choir for the school, so that meant I sang at every funeral and first communion for the school. And that's kind of my relationship - how my relationship with music started. It was with death and, you know, sadness and also, like, the beauty in it and, like, kind of that beautiful balance of black and white. So I think that's kind of where a lot of my stuff comes from.

JOHNSON: And then at some point - what? - you just picked up a guitar and said, OK, time to sing (laughter).

LOYAL LOBOS: Yeah, my dad always, like, liked to play guitar, but he's not that good. I love him, but he's not. And I just, yeah - the choir teacher was like, I want to teach you guitar, and she did. And I learned the basic songs, and then - you know, I didn't have, like, cool musician friends. So I just listened to my dad's music and my teacher's music, which was Mercedes Sosa. You know, it was Silvio Rodríguez, like, all the backbone of the folk - what is - you know, what would be the equivalent of the folk scene in South America. And it's just such a melodramatic, deep, soul-wrenching music, which is also kind of where I come from.

And then I moved here, and I discovered people like Elliott Smith or, like, even Neil Young, that I wasn't even that familiar with, and, like, the balance of playing with words but yet giving a huge emotional reaction. So I always like playing with that, like, with extreme melancholy but also with, like, not-so-given, you know, word use.

JOHNSON: I'm wondering, as someone who is now navigating two cultures and two identities and two homelands, in a way, what words of advice would you have for others - many others - that are doing that in this country?

LOYAL LOBOS: Home is where the heart is. I mean, I think as long as you just create your - your reality is whatever you choose to make it, you know, so, like, who you surround yourself with, what stuff you choose to focus on, and that's going to be, like, whatever is eliminated, you know? Like, it's very easy to get absorbed by an environment of fear and anger, you know, which is, like - every country's going through that, you know, this one especially right now, but everywhere. So I think it's just wherever you do what you love, and, like, you are able to meet people you love, then you're going to be happy. Like, back home is the same. Like, it all feels home to me after a week, you know, and it's OK.

JOHNSON: Well, we're looking forward to hearing more and more and more and more of Loyal Lobos. Thanks for spending some time with us.

LOYAL LOBOS: Thank you, Catalina (laughter).

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "ALFONSINA Y EL MAR")

LOYAL LOBOS: (Singing) Te vas, Alfonsina, con tu soledad. ¿Qué poemas nuevos fuiste a buscar? Una voz antigua de viento y de sal, te requiebra el alma, y la está llevando. Y te vas hacia allá, como en sueños, dormida, Alfonsina, vestida de mar.

JOHNSON: So I'm standing here - well, OK, not knee-deep in mud, but it's pretty muddy. It's been raining, and I'm before this, like, beautiful vision. Jarina De Marco, welcome.

JARINA DE MARCO: Thank you so much for having me.

JOHNSON: And we get to look forward to something coming out very soon - right?

DE MARCO: Yes.

JOHNSON: In...

DE MARCO: My new EP called "Malcriada" comes out in August. I'm really excited. It's my first EP. I've been around for a couple of years, and I haven't put anything - a body of work fully out, just singles, which is kind of the way things are these days. And I'm really happy to finally putting out a body of work.

JOHNSON: So for those that might not know, what is malcriada?

DE MARCO: Oh, yeah, so malcriada is what your grandma calls you when you're being bad (laughter). It's when you're, like, misbehaving. You, like, grab a spoonful of that crema that she's making or, you know, take a little piece of that flan, and you're like - they say, like, "ay, muchacha malcriada, what are you doing?" And it's like, basically, you're being badly behaved or badly raised.

But I kind of found power in that word because, you know, malcriadas are people who go against, you know, what the rules are. So as I grew older, I realized there were all these rules about women, about people of color, about being Latina, about being gay, about all these things. There's all these rules amongst us, and I wanted to say no to that. And "Malcriada" is a good way of saying no to that. Like, yes, you know what? I am malcriada. I'm going to say no to all of this. I'm going to go against your rules, and I'm going to do what I want. So that's where it came from.

JOHNSON: Thank you so much for your time, Jarina De Marco, here at Ruido Fest, in a very noisy Ruido Fest...

(LAUGHTER)

JOHNSON: ...In the rain. You can't see us, but we've got an umbrella above us, and we're hoping the lightning doesn't strike this tree.

(LAUGHTER)

JOHNSON: Thanks so much.

DE MARCO: Thank you.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "MALCRIADA")

DE MARCO: (Singing) ¿Y tú no sabes que yo soy malcriada? ¿Y tú no sabes que yo soy malcriada? ¿Y tú no sabes que yo soy malcriada? - ra, ra, ra. ¿Y tú no sabes que yo soy malcriada? ¿Y tú no sabes que yo soy malcriada? ¿Y tú no sabes que yo soy malcriada? - ra, ra, ra.

CONTRERAS: Thank you, Catalina. I'm sitting in the studios of NPR member station WXPN in Philadelphia for Nuevofest. It's a fantastic celebration of independent Latin music and as usual, features a variety of genres. They're in between sets right now. I'm in the lobby. But earlier I was in the green room and hung out with some musicians to break bread and play music with some of the bands.

FERNANDO TARRAZO: Si quiere cantar o le gusta cantar, y yo hago ritmo y tú mueves.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

TARRAZO: (Singing) Los Rivera en NPR.

LOS RIVERA DESTINO: (Singing) Los Rivera en NPR, Los Rivera en NPR, Los Rivera en NPR (vocalizing).

(SOUNDBITE OF DRUMMING)

CONTRERAS: (Laughter) It was perfect, man. It was perfect. If you didn't get the message, that's Los Rivera on NPR. Guys, thanks for joining me this morning.

TARRAZO: Gracias. Gracias. Gracias por tenernos.

ANTONIO SÁNCHEZ: Thank you.

TARRAZO: Thank you. We started up - we started six years ago. And we did a lot of, you know - it was just mixing different, you know, genres and different small bars, you know? But it grew, and we started doing a lot more sociopolitical things. And in time, we started this project almost a year ago called "Trapústico," which was, like, mixing, like, trap music or trap lyrics with different genres that weren't necessarily associated with trap. And that's where "Te Boté" - we made the song, "Te Boté," and that went viral. Bad Bunny loved it. He put it on his Instagram and after that, well, started doing other things.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "TE BOTÉ")

CARLOS FIGUEROA: (Singing) Bebé, yo te boté. Te di banda, y, bebé, yo te solté. Te mandé, y usted se fue. De mi vida te boté. Bebé, yo te boté. Te di banda, y te solté.

CONTRERAS: OK, and then I guess the biggest news is that you guys did a great Father's Day track with Bad Bunny. Tell me about that.

SÁNCHEZ: Was amazing, you know, we started talking with Benito when we...

CONTRERAS: Bad Bunny's real name.

SÁNCHEZ: Yeah, Benito.

TARRAZO: Benito.

SÁNCHEZ: Benito...

TARRAZO: Martínez.

SÁNCHEZ: Benito Martínez, Benito Antonio. We met for record the song. He came. He was very open to create something different, something far from the trap music that he is now about. And we were...

FIGUEROA: Yeah, he wanted to challenge himself as a singer, and he did it.

SÁNCHEZ: That's why it's not Bad Bunny, actually. In the studio, it felt like more Benito and Los Rivera Destino, like a quartet group.

TARRAZO: I think that something that a lot of people don't know is that maybe - even if he's a trap musician or whatever - a trap rapper, he likes other types of music, including bolero. And I think there was a connection. I think it was organic. And we just met, and we made click, you know? It just felt normal and nice, you know?

SÁNCHEZ: We have the same age. We are - we all have 25 years. And...

FIGUEROA: And he has a really good sense of humor, too. So we hang out a lot and have a good time.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "FLOR (FEAT. BENITO MARTÍNEZ)")

BENITO MARTÍNEZ: Ese nene es tuyo, ¿ah? Está pegado (laughter).

LOS RIVERA DESTINO AND BENITO MARTÍNEZ: (Singing) Te agradezco la vida.

FIGUEROA: Está pegadito el nene, ¿verdad?

LOS RIVERA DESTINO: (Singing) Te agradezco la vida.

TARRAZO: Esos nenes, los primeros son tuyos pero...

SÁNCHEZ: Ey, ey, ey.

LOS RIVERA DESTINO: (Singing) Te agradezco la vida.

TARRAZO: Eso es así (laughter).

LOS RIVERA DESTINO: (Singing) Te agradezco la vida. Te agradezco la vida.

FIGUEROA: Una flor para ti, padre.

SÁNCHEZ: Para los padrastros...

TARRAZO: Abuelos...

FIGUEROA: Tíos...

LOS RIVERA DESTINO: (Singing) Te agradezco la vida.

FIGUEROA: ...En Puerto Rico y el mundo entero. Qué Benito quedó eso.

MARTÍNEZ: (Laughter.)

CONTRERAS: Backstage again in the green room, this time with three people, who look very, very subdued, but they just killed on stage upstairs in one of the most energetic sets I've ever seen. Tell me what the name of the band is and what the name of the artist is and who the musicians are.

STEFA: I'm Stefa. This is my music and my vision. And these are two amazing musicians that collaborate with me when I can afford them and when I can have them.

MAURICIO ESCAMILLA: Mauri on drums, sound design and production.

NICHOLAS JOZWIAK: I'm Nicholas Jozwiak. I play double bass and electric bass.

CONTRERAS: How long have you been doing this? And where did this inspiration come from?

STEFA: I've been singing my entire life. I had an astrology reading, and apparently I was also singing in my past lives, which says a lot because I've been - you know, I've been singing since I was, like, literally 2 or 3 years old. But I trained classically, you know - European classical music. And then around three years ago, I started to write my own music, and I - you know, I said, why am I going to continue to sing other people's music and share other people's art when I have so much going on and thinking about? And that's how I started to write. And then I met Mauricio in 2016, and he became my drummer and helped me with sound design and helped me produce "Sepalina," which was the title track of my debut EP.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SEPALINA")

STEFA: (Singing) E ba doa doa deh, e ba doa doa deh, Sepalina wey-a, Sepalina wey-a (vocalizing).

CONTRERAS: One of the things that strikes me here about Nuevofest is the emphasis on indie artists - OK? - and giving you guys - everybody a spot in the spotlight. How does that feel for you guys? I mean, what does that mean for you guys to be able to work on something like this?

ESCAMILLA: It's super special. It's something, you know, that we wish would happen all the time. But it's - we're super grateful, and we're always grateful of people just being attentive and really coming for the music and watching us and giving us their energy and just talking to us, you know? It's like, there's no - there doesn't have to be a barrier between the stage and the show space. So it's super special. It's kind of why we do it - you know, one of the many reasons why we do it.

CONTRERAS: Is it something that - would you prefer to be doing stuff like this - you know, the small, intimate stuff - you know, and build an audience this way?

JOZWIAK: Sure. It's a great way for - you know, this is relatively a young project. So, you know, a festival that is willing to bring artists like that into a space where we can connect with more people - I mean, that's a great opportunity for us. So, you know, you don't have to already be famous to be in front of all these great people, you know? So we really appreciate that.

CONTRERAS: What is the phrase? You only get one chance to make a first impression, right? And you guys just did it right now for the whole room, so - yeah, at 3 p.m. in the afternoon, yeah. Good job. Thanks for talking to me, and continued success. Thanks.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SEPALINA")

STEFA: (Singing) There's nothing left to fear, nothing left to fear (vocalizing).

CONTRERAS: And finally, we check in with Marisa Arbona-Ruiz as she checks in with some of the participants at the Latin Alternative Music Conference.

MARISA ARBONA-RUIZ, BYLINE: OK. So I'm walking through the lobby at the Latin Alternative Music Conference, LAMC, and I've just walked by the Taylor Guitars and spotted Gaby Moreno.

GABY MORENO: Hi. How are you? It's so good to see you here.

ARBONA-RUIZ: What are you doing here?

MORENO: (Laughter) Oh, well, I was invited. So I'm happy to be back here. Last time I was here - I think it was 10 years ago.

ARBONA-RUIZ: Ten years ago.

MORENO: Yeah.

ARBONA-RUIZ: So what is the experience like for you to be at LAMC?

MORENO: Well, it's always really fun to be here, to be around so many musicians and artists that I love and admire. I just ran into Andrea Echeverri from Aterciopelados, and I'm excited - excited to see some of these performances, excited for my performance tomorrow. I'm going to have some very special guests. So just, yeah, I'm really happy.

ARBONA-RUIZ: And who are you playing with tomorrow? And what are you going to play?

MORENO: So tomorrow, I'm going to be doing the Celebrate Brooklyn! concert series at Prospect Park in Brooklyn. It's completely free - an outdoor concert. I go on at 9 p.m., and my show is called Gaby Moreno & Friends. And so I'm bringing special guests like Caloncho, Flor de Toloache, Andrea Echeverri. Jackson Browne is also going to come and sing a song with me, which will be extremely special because tomorrow I will be releasing the first single off of my new album called "¡Spangled!" And the single is called "Across The Borderline," and it's a song that I sing as a duet with Jackson Browne. So we'll be premiering the song together live tomorrow.

ARBONA-RUIZ: And that's not the first song Jackson Browne has recorded concerning immigrant issues.

MORENO: Oh, yeah. Exactly. And I know that he's also performed that song before. So it's very special for me that he came, and he agreed to record the song.

ARBONA-RUIZ: So can we hear a little bit of it? I see you have your guitar...

MORENO: I know, yeah.

ARBONA-RUIZ: ...Strapped and ready to go.

MORENO: Sure.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "ACROSS THE BORDERLINE")

MORENO: (Singing) There's a place where I've been told every street is paved with gold. And it's just across the borderline. And when it's time to take your turn, here's a lesson that you must learn. You could lose more than you'll ever hope to find. When you reach the broken promised land, every dream slips through your hand. Then you'll know it's too late to change your mind 'cause you've paid the price to come so far just to wind up where you are, and you're still just across the borderline. So just a little bit of that song.

ARBONA-RUIZ: All right. Let's see what we've got here.

DANIELA SERNA: Vamos. Vamos.

(CHEERING)

ARBONA-RUIZ: Hey, look who it is. It's Diamante Eléctrico.

JUAN GALEANO: Long time no see.

DANIEL ÁLVAREZ: Long time no see.

ARBONA-RUIZ: I know. I haven't seen you since the Grammys, right?

ÁLVAREZ: It's true.

ARBONA-RUIZ: The Latin Grammys.

ÁLVAREZ: 2017, yes.

ARBONA-RUIZ: 2017, yes.

ÁLVAREZ: We actually won two that night.

(CHEERING)

ANDEE ZETA: I remember that night.

GALEANO: I remember that night, too.

(LAUGHTER)

ARBONA-RUIZ: That was an amazing night.

GALEANO: Definitely, definitely. It's been a really cool couple of years. We started - first time we came to the States to play was here at LAMC. We're back four years later playing our own show in SummerStage, which is pretty awesome. So we're very happy. We're very pleased, and we're very well surrounded right now.

ARBONA-RUIZ: And we are with Ladama. Ladama's an emerging band. They are - they all met at a fellowship, and they have created a beautiful, collaborative relationship. They do their own things in their own countries, and they also are touring now together. So you all have been together seven years. What would you say to them?

ZETA: I'd say just what we've done so far is just do whatever the heck we want to do, and it's worked thus far. And sometimes, you kind of get confused with, should I sound like this? Should I do this? Is this a radio-ready single or whatever? And we just lost that along the way, even before we started Diamante. And that's the way we roll. And it's worked this far. So I guess it's responsible to put it out there as an advice.

GALEANO: Yeah, totally. I mean, I would say, like, write songs every day. That's what we do. Like, you write songs until you find that right song that can...

ÁLVAREZ: Make a difference.

GALEANO: ...Do damage, like you say, like...

(LAUGHTER)

GALEANO: ...That can do damage outside because it's a tough world outside. And never lose faith. Of course, if you are in for another reason than the music - but I know you guys are not. You guys look pretty committed. So it's - then, of course, music never breaks your heart. Business breaks your heart.

ÁLVAREZ: Yeah.

GALEANO: So it's like - it's true.

ARBONA-RUIZ: Those are very wise words.

ZETA: Yeah.

ARBONA-RUIZ: Yes.

ZETA: He's old.

GALEANO: I'm old.

(LAUGHTER)

GALEANO: I'm the oldest here, I think. So I'm old and wise, yes.

ARBONA-RUIZ: OK, so I want to do something creative. I want to have Ladama sing a harmony to something that you play.

GALEANO: Cool. Of course.

ARBONA-RUIZ: So is this - I don't know if you want to play some - one of your newest pieces or...

GALEANO: Yeah, yeah, yeah, let's play "Rotos," you know, like...

SARA LUCAS: Teach us something.

LARA KLAUS: You have to teach us, guys.

GALEANO: Of course, D and B flat.

ZETA: ¿El coro but...?

GALEANO: No, el verso.

ARBONA-RUIZ: OK, if you ladies can come in just a little bit more.

CONTRERAS: One, two, three, four.

GALEANO: (Singing) Está tan frío afuera. Dame tu calor. Simula este fuego en tu sol de neón. Crecí en el vientre tibio de mi soledad. No hay almas gemelas, solo amor real.

LADAMA: (Vocalizing).

GALEANO: (Singing) No llegues tarde. Ven. Cauteriza el error. Yo soy un blanco fácil, un vivo dolor. Odio decirlo. Somos lo que se perdió. Mi vida está seca. Riégame - sigamos ahí. (vocalizing).

SERNA: (Vocalizing).

GALEANO: Yeah, vamos.

MARÍA FERNANDA GONZÁLEZ: Damos el flow, Dani, suave.

SERNA: (Rapping) Aquí con los amigos de Colombia llegamos. Diamante Eléctrico se soltó y entró. Acá en ALT.LATINO, este amor, representando Venezuela, Brazil, reuniendo, bailando, soltando, vibrando con el tiempo. Yo te digo aquí en esta momento que todo brilló, que todo gozó y que estamos cantando con mucho flow, con mucho flow, con mucho sabor y puro, puro, puro, puro talento. Si te digo ¿como no? Que los latinos cuando estamos unidos, todo, todo, todo sabe mejor.

(CHEERING)

ARBONA-RUIZ: That was Daniela.

SERNA: (Rapping) Óyela, óyela, esa es, ¿cómo no? Óyela, óyela. Diamante Eléctrico con Ladama - qué bonita combinación y inesperada inesperada, sorpresiva, no me lo esperaba pero qué rico es la sorpresas de la vida que te da, te regala, te suelta cuando tú quieres, invocas todo ese poder natural, que todo se venga, que todo arrase, que todo limpie el alma. Todos nos vamos esta noche cantando. Todos nos vamos esta noche gozando. Todos nos vamos esta noche bailando, bien rico y apretadito, bacilando. Bailando.

GALEANO: (Singing) Vacilando. Vacilando, full vacilando.

JUAN GALEANO AND DANIELA SERNA: (Singing) Vacilando, full vacilando. Vacilando, y vacilando, y full vacilando.

LADAMA: (Vocalizing).

JUAN GALEANO AND DANIELA SERNA: (Singing) Vacilando, y vacilando, y full vacilando. Vacilando, y vacilando, y full vacilando.

SERNA: (Rapping) Óyelo, ¿cómo no? Óyelo, ¿cómo no? Óyelo, óyelo, ¿cómo no? Vaciló. El vacilón, el vacilón, y el vacilón, y el vacilón. Colombiano, el vacilón está colombiano.

(CHEERING, APPLAUSE)

GONZÁLEZ: Eso.

ZETA: Eso. Latinoamérica en la casa.

(LAUGHTER)

TOMAS COOKMAN: This turns into a plant, I was told, if you put water on it.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: It does.

COOKMAN: It does?

ARBONA-RUIZ: Yeah, that's the wildest thing I've ever seen.

COOKMAN: It is.

ARBONA-RUIZ: Yeah.

COOKMAN: Creative.

ARBONA-RUIZ: That's cool, actually.

So I just snuck here back - they're clearing up now (laughter). And I'm with Tomas Cookman, who is the founder of LAMC. And he's going to talk about this year.

COOKMAN: It's been a really good year. I think when we started the LAMC 20 years ago, what we were looking for, in many ways, we found. To think about some of the biggest artists in the Latin space now have pink hair or green fingernails, which was inconceivable when we first started talking about, hey, someone listen to other types of music. And now it's OK. It's OK to be something different. It's OK to say something different, sound different. And I think that's what it's all about.

ARBONA-RUIZ: And tell me about the vision you had when you first started this.

COOKMAN: I was fortunate enough to travel around Latin America a lot because I was managing a lot of really good bands. And I kept on hearing such great music. And I said, OK, great. This is big in Colombia, or this is big in Argentina, or it's big in Mexico, or it's big in Chile. It needs to be big in other countries and especially here. And I always felt it could find an audience, whether it was rock music or hip-hop or electronica or reggae bands or whatever it may be. And luckily, a lot of great talent kept on coming out. And now it's a lot more conceivable to hear different great sounds.

ARBONA-RUIZ: There are musicians from all over Latin America and Spain who come here. And also, there's a growing presence of women.

COOKMAN: Yeah. We've been championing women for as long as we can possibly think of. And we've had panels about the challenges of women in hip-hop. Tomorrow at the Spotify offices, we're having a panel on women in the studio and producers, and we're fortunate to have the first woman ever to have won a Latin Grammy for producer of the year. So it's a subject - I mean, in our office, we have tons of women. It's - we're all human beings, and whoever can do the job best, whether you're a man, woman or child or animal, whatever, you should be doing the job. So - and fortunately, there's a lot of great women and a lot of great men out there.

So it's a really good time for music. And there's - you know, I think for a while, we were losing really good talents because there was no financial future in music. So they were doing other things. You had them more in TV or had them in ad agencies. And really smart people are finally coming back to what is the music industry.

ARBONA-RUIZ: Well, thank you, Tomas.

COOKMAN: Thank you very much. Thank you, and thanks for your support.

ARBONA-RUIZ: I'm backstage. I have just seen Vicente García perform, and here he comes.

VICENTE GARCÍA: What's up?

ARBONA-RUIZ: Hola.

GARCÍA: How are you?

ARBONA-RUIZ: Great to see you. Great to see you.

GARCÍA: Great to see you as well.

ARBONA-RUIZ: What an amazing show that was.

GARCÍA: Yeah, we had a lot of fun. I was nervous 'cause I was, like, looking forward to come here and to play here in Central Park with this new album. It's like with lot of merengue stuff. So I was, like, looking forward to see the Dominicans and the Colombians and everybody, like, dancing the rhythm - the most important rhythm of my country, the Dominican Republic.

ARBONA-RUIZ: You had everybody dancing out here.

GARCÍA: Great, I loved it. I came - I come from a singer-songwriter background. So for me, it's, like, really nice surprise to sing and watch, like, the people dancing and see how the music and the rhythm, like, gets into people, even though they don't speak Spanish or they don't understand. It's just about the rhythm and the music. And that's great for me. That's what I love. That's what I was born for.

ARBONA-RUIZ: And they love you. And, yes, you were born for that. And someone else is born for that, too. I want you to meet Alea.

ALEA: Hola. Mucho gusto.

GARCÍA: Placer.

ALEA: No, el placer es todo mío, verdad. I had such an amazing time watching your concert right now, especially 'cause I hadn't heard the album live, and I really wanted to see how that was going to work 'cause I had seen your previous work. So this just blew my mind. The band was so tight. That band was...

GARCÍA: Where are you from?

ALEA: I'm from La Guajira, Colombia.

GARCÍA: La Guajira.

ALEA: And I just released a new single called "No Hay Na'." And it's actually, you know...

GARCÍA: How's it called?

ALEA: "No Hay Na'."

GARCÍA: "No Hay Na'"? Sing it to me.

ALEA: "No Hay Na'." Dice.

(Singing) Cuando te dije te quiero, estaba dormida. No recuerdo na'. Prefiero olvidar este cuento. Retiro lo dicho. Aquí ya no hay na'.

(Laughter).

GARCÍA: Qué buena.

ALEA: Can you do it? (Vocalizing).

GARCÍA: (Vocalizing).

ALEA AND VICENTE GARCÍA: (Vocalizing).

ALEA: (Laughter).

ALEA AND VICENTE GARCÍA: (Vocalizing).

ALEA: ¡Epa!

GARCÍA: (Vocalizing).

ALEA: Yeah, el corito dice así.

(Singing) Quisiera que tú me quisieras como se quiere con genuinidad. Tanto loco suelto y yo queriendo un amor - oye. Mira, de esos de verdad (laughter).

Un trabalenguas (laughter) - bueno, so making this music, doing it, producing things that feel honest and that feel like you, and then now going and showing it and hoping to see what's going on. And somehow, I ended up here talking to you today.

GARCÍA: Great.

ALEA: (Laughter).

CONTRERAS: Thank you very much, Marisa. My thanks again to Marisa Arbona-Ruiz and Catalina Maria Johnson for their boundless energy and great interviews. My thanks also to the folks at AfroLatino Productions (ph) here in Philadelphia and, of course, the folks at LAMC and Ruido Fest.

You've been listening to our annual summer music festival edition of ALT.LATINO. Don't forget to follow us on Facebook and Twitter. We are NPR's ALT.LATINO. I'm Felix Contreras. Thank you, as always, for listening.

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