Felix Contreras

The prolific and celebrated Mexican accordion player Celso Piña died Wednesday of a heart attack in his hometown of Monterrey, Mexico. He was 66 years old.

His record label, La Tuna Records, announced Piña's death on Thursday.

Piña contributed greatly to the evolution of cumbia. The Colombian folk genre has had an interesting life span since its 17th century origins and very few musicians have added to that colorful history more than Celso Piña.

Here's a statistic for you: According to Fender Guitars, women now make up 50% of all entry-level players who buy their products.

Why am I sharing that?

Even your dedicated Alt.Latino crew has to take some time off every now and then. As we dispersed to beaches, poolsides or family gatherings, the new music piled up so this week we try to squeeze in as many as we can and we'll probably have to do it again.

And do I really need to say it? The range of stylistic and genre expressions astounds. Prepare to add Latino bluegrass to your list of likes!

The Dominican Republic has the historic distinction of being the landing spot of Christopher Columbus in 1492 after he sailed the ocean blue, but that European invasion set off a series of historical and social events that reverberate to this day.

I had another show planned for this week — but I think we need something else, after the shootings in Gilroy, Dayton and

When vocalist Ileana Cabra Joglar and her band visited the Tiny Desk, they'd just arrived from the front lines of the historic demonstrations taking place in Puerto Rico. Two days earlier, they were part of a crowd of tens of thousands who were on the streets calling for the resignation of embattled Gov. Ricardo Rosselló. (Rosselló recently stepped down, effective Friday.)

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Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló has announced that he will leave his office on Aug. 2.

Every summer, Alt.Latino hits the road to attend the three largest Latin music festivals and it gets harder and harder to catch it all.

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Amid the most crucial political crisis to hit Puerto Rico in its modern history, three Puerto Rican musicians have released a protest song that is spreading across the island as fast a

The Alt.Latino Interview Archive is currently housed at a secret location just off Avenida de La Independencia in downtown Tijuana. I dispatched a courier to pick up two interviews that were recorded recently, so I could offer this mid-summer gift to you, an Alt.Latino Podcast Extra.

This week we present two artists with albums that deserve much more attention and discussion.

For our monthly visit with Weekend Edition, the native language is jazz as we move around the Spanish-speaking world in search of new music from voices both new and long-beloved.

Updated at 9:34 p.m. ET Saturday

João Gilberto, one of the principal architects of the Brazilian musical style bossa nova, has died at his home in Rio de Janeiro, according to a Facebook post by his son. João Marcelo Gilberto wrote that his father, who was 88 years old, died following an undisclosed illness.

This week on Alt.Latino's Spotify and Apple Music playlists, we jump the tip of the American continent to the clubs of Spain with a stop at a groovy samba party in Lisbon and finally check in on the groove filled streets of Bad Bunnylandia. This week's tracks have something for everyone no matter what language you speak.


This week on Alt.Latino's Spotify and Apple Music playlists: Orishas returns with a piano ballad for existentialist insomniacs, Chicago's Divino Niño offers a dream-pop ballad and Mateo Kingman teams up with Gustavo Santaolalla.


This week on Alt.Latino's Spotify and Apple Music playlists: Cuco announces his new album, Para Mi, with some "Feelings" and Bad Bunny sings a bolero (under his birth name) for fathers.


Editor's note: On June 4, the Trump administration made changes to U.S. policies that make it harder for Americans to visit Cuba. It was another decision that rolled back some of the more liberal visitation policies of the Obama administration.

We cast our net very wide this week and bring music to both get you onto the dance floor and do a bit of self reflection.


On this week's Alt.Latino music roundup, check out the latest Latin spins we've heard reflect and cross-reference the cultural roots, settling feelings and lived experiences that are beyond our lifetimes. Yesterday, we were blessed with a new video accompanying Cuco's dreamscape song "Hydrocodone." Likewise, C. Tangana and Alizzz dropped a video for "Para Repartir," a free form visual that settles nicely over the Cuban groove.

This week on Alt.Latino, the latest Latin songs on our radar embraced the idea of reconnecting back to intimate, past experiences. Whether it be a homecoming after weeks of travel, a self-reflection in the wake of romance or a reminder of where one started. In this week's music roundup, hear Las Nubes reiterate its post-punk femininity in Miami's hardcore scene, Twanguero return to philosophical roots and VINILOVERSUS duet with Tessa Ia in what feels like hazy nostalgia.

We tried something new this year at the annual SXSW Music Festival. We tracked down a bunch of Latin musicians, put a microphone in front of them wherever we find them and then ask them about their music.

To do this, I needed help so I called in Alt.Latino contributors Marisa Arbona Ruiz and Catalina Maria Johnson.

Years ago, Gina Chavez was a SXSW discovery for me: I'd tracked her down at some unofficial showcase and was immediately mesmerized by the Austin singer-songwriter. Since then, many good things have come her way, and she's developed into a major artist. On this Tiny Desk Family Hour video, recorded live at Austin's Central Presbyterian Church during SXSW last week, you can hear for yourself the voice that caught my attention back then — and has never let it go in the years since.

Attending SXSW is opportunistic in the sense that anyone can connect with other musicians and music enthusiasts in small bars, city stages and backyards around Austin. This year, Felix Contreras returned to Alt.Latino headquarters, aiming to balance out all the emotions of the festivals, as if his experiences came home with him.

I struggled to balance the conflicting emotions of enjoying the musical celebration that is the annual SXSW Festival with the pain of the devastating loss of life in Friday's terrorist attack in New Zealand. It was an emotional push and pull that I kept completely to myself.

Two South American countries have been in the news a lot lately. Venezuela's economy has collapsed in a political crisis and in Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, the country's new far-right president, has made racist comments and been accused of stoking anti-gay violence. For musicians in both those countries, the news is affecting their work.

Each week, Alt.Latino whips up a curated list of new favorites that emerge from the Latin music world. This week on Alt.Latino, explore Piñata Protest's new twist on conjunto punk, Los Tigres del Norte's tribute to legendary mariachi singer Vicente Fernandez and a diasporic folk ballad from La Doña.

It was sometime back in 2011 during the first few years of Alt.Latino when I heard a CD that was unlike anything I had heard before. There were traces of ambient sound, the bips and squeaks of electronic instruments, even some acoustic music all nestled underneath a slight falsetto that seemed as if it were far away and yet right in front of me at the same time.

Every week, Alt.Latino puts together a list of songs that celebrate emerging Latino artists in the music world. This week's picks include Tagua Tagua's Brazilian rock swinging in the spotlight and a celebratory party anthem off Amara La Negra's debut EP.

As part of a series of NPR Music's favorite Latin songs, we created a Spotify playlist to accompany the songs we write about. Listen along and read our hot takes below.

There is no denying the impact Roma has had on the movie going public on both sides of the U.S./Mexico border. The story of a young indigenous woman and her life as a live-in care taker for a middle class Mexican family in the mid-1970's is one of those rare instances that has crossed demographic lines and has people raving about from all quarters.

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