Latin Roots is a bi-weekly series on the World Cafe program, hosted by David Dye, and made possible by the Wyncote Foundation. In this new series, David Dye explores the vast variety of music from Spanish-speaking countries and people. From the standards like cumbia, mambo and son to Latin rock and even reggaeton, we’ll hear it all.
The series airs every other Thursday during the second hour of the World Cafe program, and will delve into the musical styles and genres of Spanish influence with a rotating series of guests. With each segment, David Dye and his guest will explore two related songs, current and old, and discuss their unique characteristics, how they relate and where they fit into the spectrum of Latin music.
Latin Roots #1: Salsa, With a Difference
Latin music expert, Aaron Luis Levinson sits down with David Dye and shares his take on the music, beat and culture of Salsa. Levinson, a member of the Latin Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences, is a Grammy-winning producer, musician, composer and owner of Range Recording Studios in Ardmore, PA. You'll hear music from Bio Ritmo and Cortijo on today's segment.
Latin Roots will feature other expert guests including Felix Contreras, a reporter and producer for NPR's Arts Desk and the co-host of Alt.Latino, NPR's new web-based program about Latin alternative music. Tom Moon will also serve as a guest contributor. Moon is a Music Reviewer for NPR and has been writing about pop, rock, jazz, blues, hip-hop and music across the globe for more than 25 years.
For more World Cafe Latin music moments, and to listen to this session, visit our page at WorldCafe.NPR.org. There you will find links to interviews and performances with artists like Juana Molina, Ximena Sarinana, Ana Tijoux and Puerto Plata, as well as a Spotify playlist inspired by each segment currated by the guest.
Latin Roots #2: The Late Resurgence Of Cumbia
To introduce us to a corner of Latin roots music called Cumbia, Grammy-winning producer and record
label owner Aaron Levinson is in the studio. Affiliated with a number of professional recording academies and societies,
this internationally known musician also owns a recording studio in Ardmore and has consistently received recognition
for his work with Latin music. In the studio today, Aaron and David talk about the origin and evolution of Cumbia,
including its late resurgence in popularity in New York, and listen to songs by Bomba Estereo and Rodolfo Y Su Tipica.
Cumbia is the manifestation of a melding of cultures, and it originated in Colombia. Mixing the music of native
Colombians, slaves from Africa, and Spanish colonizers, Cumbia first rose to prominence in the 1960s on the coasts of
Colombia. It made its way across the continents, evolving for Mexican and Peruvian listeners, and eventually reaching the
United States in the 21st century. Cumbia enthusiasm was rekindled in Colombia as New York artists began to popularize the
historically courtship dance music. In the interview, Aaron and David explore the many forms of Cumbia--from the hip-hop
elements in today's cumbia to the geographical understanding of cumbia to traditional Cumbia elements of many drums, claves,
guitars, clarinet, and flute.
Latin Roots #3 - The Backbone of Latin Music, Clave
This session of Latin Roots is devoted to all things "clave." Music journalist Tom Moon sat down with our host, David Dye, to discuss the history of clave in Latin Music. Clave, which means code or key, functions as such rhythmically. Tom Moon explains how clave was introduced to Cuba and how it played into different trends and movements within Cuban music. Moon walks us through the Cuban standard, "Bruca Manigua," and the unexpected return to clave in Luis Enrique's "Yo No Se Manana." He also discusses how clave has been incorporated into music outside of the Latin world-
from Johnny Otis to Bruce Springsteen.
Tom Moon began his career in music studying professional saxophone at University of Miami's School of Music. He played in back-up bands, orchestras and even cruises, but found himself drawn to the world of music journalism when he started to freelance write for the Miami Herald. Moon went on to write for GQ, Rolling Stone, Vibe and NPR, including All Things Considered and World Cafe. Moon has won multiple awards for his work in music journalism, including a "Heroes" award from the Recording Academy. He has also published a book, "1,000 Recordings to Hear Before You Die." "1,000 Recordings" is, as Moon puts it, "an exploration" into music from all over the world, including, of course, instances of clave.
Listen to Tom Moon's World Cafe Latin Roots session on WorldCafe.NPR.org.
Listen to Tom's essential playlist on Spotify.
Latin Roots #4 - Festejo, Afro-Peruvian music with Novalima
Explore the roots of Afro-Peruvian music with Novalima in this segment of Latin Roots from World Cafe.
Originating in coastal Peru and comprised of contributions from African, Spanish, and South American cultures, festejo takes its name from 'fiesta', the Spanish word for festival. It is often accompanied by a competitive and lively dancing, as well as call-and-response vocals, a celebration put to music and tied to historical roots. In this interview, David Dye talks with Novalima members Grimaldo Del Solar (arranger, artwork, composer, programming) and Alfonso Montesinos (bass) about this 100-year-old style of festejo, and the several different forms it can take through varying rhythms. Festejo has influenced their live improvisations, and inspired Novalima to become less like a studio project and more spontaneous.
The title of Novalima's latest single, "Festejo," takes it's name from this popular form of celebratory Peruvian music.
Tom Moon looks at tumbao - what the pianst does, and muntuno - the beat that the other musicians play. Montuno is a kind of syncopated piano vamp often used in traditional Cuban music. A 'vamp' is a repetitive musical accompaniment or phrase, often found in jazz, gospel, and soul. A 'vamp' is to those genres as a 'riff' is to rock music or a 'loop' is to hip hop. The literal translation of montuno is 'from the mountains', and it is often at the heart of Cuban dance music, giving piano players a range of harmonizing phrases to use.
David Dye talks with music journalist Tom Moon as they play a couple of montuno-based songs from well-known artists such as Rodrigo Y Gabriela and Eddie Palmieri. Tom Moon is a well-known writer and musician whose work has been featured in big name publications such as GQ, Rollingstone, and Vibe. He's also a professional saxophonist, and he's received accolades such as the ASCAP-Deems Taylor Music Journalism award. Given his experience playing Latin music, Moon gives insight into what it takes to reshape traditional music into something new.
Latin Roots #6 - Josh Norek on Latin Hip Hop March 22
On this sixth segment of the Latin Roots music series, the co-host and executive producer of The Latin Alternative - a one hour radio show of Latin funk, hip-hop, and electronica - (http://www.facebook.com/TheLatinAlternative) is in the studio to introduce Latin hip hop. Josh Norek is also a musician, producer, and journalist who currently works for the Latin indie label Nacional Records as VP of Business Affairs & Digital Relations.
He and David Dye will explore some of the history and current directions of Latin hip hop. Arising first on the West Coast during the '80s and '90s, Latin hip hop was the manifestation of the mixing of cultures. As young members of the Hispanic population became exposed to urban rap sounds and shaped it into their own style, their beats began to spread from LA to the East Coast and then down through Mexico and South America. Artists began to incorporate Spanish language and other genres by turn (such as jazz in the case of Ana Tijoux and klezmer in the case of Norek's Hip Hop Hoodios), and Latin hip hop itself has become an influential musical force across the globe.
In this session, David Dye and Josh Norek explore the cultural dispersion that has helped create Latin hip hop. On both sides of the border, young artists began to sample their parents' music and combine it with the sound of burgeoning hip hop groups such as NWA. Since then, the genre has matured and become an influence in its own right. Norek plays from Tres Delinquentes, who he describes as the first 'post-racial' Latin Hip Hop crew, and also outlines the spread of the genre into South America with a smooth trip-hop arrangement from Ana Tijoux.
Latin Roots #7 - Latin Funk w/ Josh Norek - April 5, 2012
On this seventh segment of the Latin Roots Music Series, Josh Norek is back. The co-host and executive producer of The Latin Alternative - a one hour radio show of Latin funk, hip-hop, and electronica - (http://www.facebook.com/TheLatinAlternative) is in the studio to lay down some Latin funk beats and describe the origins of this genre. Norek is also a musician, producer, and journalist who currently works for the Latin indie label Nacional Records as VP of Business Affairs & Digital Relations.
In this World Cafe session, Josh Norek and David Dye explore the cultural roots of Latin funk, a mixing of Latin grooves and Afro-American funk. It's been evolving for over forty years now, arising out of urban centers and the earlier salsa + R&B mixes such as boogaloo. Given the melting pot that is New York, the exposure of young musicians to variants of jazz, soul, funk, and the diversity of Latin rhythms and instrumentation created an environment of experimentation. Norek describes the ties of Latin funk to the Latino pride movement, and plays a song from the famous Latin percussionist Ray Barretto that expresses this pride. Then Norek describes the diversification of Latin funk over the last few decades, and spins a track from the latest retro Latin funk release by Venezuelan outfit Los Amigos.