Felix Contreras

Last week, the New Orleans bands Tank and the Bangas and The Soul Rebels traveled to Havana to participate in a cultural exchange; it was meant to acknowledge the past by celebrating the present.

There must be something in the water down in Austin, Texas, because as soon as Brownout started playing behind the Tiny Desk, it was pretty obvious that a deep musicality is just a fact of life for Austin bands.

Listen to this playlist on Spotify or Apple Music.

Let it be known: Alt.Latino turns ten years old on June 15! We'll have a bunch of cool things to help us celebrate into June and beyond. But first, here's a batch of new music to kicks things off.


There may East Coast/West Coast beefs in other forms of music, but jazz is all-embracing. This year's edition of A Jazz Piano Christmas features artists from both coasts, and the audience shows no signs of preferring one over the other.

Listen to this playlist on Spotify or Apple Music.

Bundle up! We're getting ready for cold weather with new songs by Lido Pimienta, Dimelo Flow, Tiger Army and David Lawrence.


Ozuna has been teasing his third album Nibiru since November... of 2018.

It's almost always impossible to pinpoint an exact moment in music history when the plates shift. But looking back at the last decade in Latin music, it's easy, now, to see that the release of "Despacito" by Daddy Yankee and Luis Fonsi in early 2017 was just such a moment.

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LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

Every week, NPR Music's Alt.Latino publishes a playlist of new music that you can stream. And every month, Alt.Latino's Felix Contreras joins us here on WEEKEND EDITION. So let's take an opportunity now to enjoy some of the music on those playlists.

Hi, Felix.

Just when you think you know a lot about Cuban music, along comes a pair of musicians who tell me one that of the major influences on their pioneering jazz/rock/santeria band was Queen.

Yes, that Queen.

Something happens for me when I hear jazz mixing it up with Brazilian rhythms. In the right hands it falls into the realm of magic.

Pianist, multi-instrumentalist and composer Jovino Santos Neto certainly cast a spell over those who gathered for this joyful turn behind the Tiny Desk.

His trio rushed right out of the gate with the samba-influenced "Pantopé" that introduces the concept of the trio: seamless interaction between the musicians that make the band sound like one big, melodic rhythm machine.

When country music legend Johnny Cash heard the heavy steel doors at Folsom Prison shut behind him on a cloudy January morning in 1968, he reportedly said, "That has the sound of permanence."

Listen to this playlist on Spotify or Apple Music.

As we hit fall, we here at NPR Music are starting to look back at the year that was. But before we get there, we still have at least 12 weeks of new music to enjoy.

Gaby Moreno's ¡Spangled! is a collaboration with Van Dyke Parks, a music arranger who has worked from everyone from The Beach Boys to U2 to

It's no coincidence that the Tiny Desk concerts I've selected here all happened within a year of each other: There was a stretch when a huge rush of A-list Latinx artists passed through the D.C. area, allowing them an opportunity to stop off at Alt.Latino World Headquarters for a turn behind Bob Boilen's nearby desk.

Obviously, there's no way for this list to account for the dozens of performances by musicians working under the gigantic umbrella known as "Latin music" — that's why we'll explore more in future volumes.

Saxophonist, flautist and bandleader Jane Bunnett has been traveling back and forth between her home in Toronto and Cuba for over 30 years because, well, she can.

Listen to this playlist on Spotify or Apple Music.

When searching for new songs, Stefanie Fernández and I have different tastes in music, resulting in a wide range of discovery. We're also not always in the same mood.

That is not the case this week.

It was a big day for Spanish artists today in the nominations for the 20th annual Latin Grammys.

If you submitted the DNA of rock and roll to one of those ancestry outfits, you'd get traces of just about every kind of music that developed in the U.S. Spirituals, folk, blues, country and western music have all have contributed to that early 1950s explosion of what became known as rock and roll.

Every month is Latino Heritage Month on Alt.Latino, but I like to set aside some special features from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15 to celebrate. We're kicking things off with a trio of interviews with musicians and a filmmaker who have three very distinct connections to Mexican music.

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