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Latin Roots #25: Catalina Maria Johnson Christmas Preview - December 13, 2012

As we approach the peak of this splendid and cheerful holiday season, this segment of Latin Roots is providing listeners with sizzling renditions of well-known Christmas classics. Most people are familiar with the traditional "Little Drummer Boy" song but most of them have yet to enjoy a very popular Cuban version of the song interpreted by the band Los Papines. The band, commonly known as the "Kings of Rhumba" utilize deeps sounds of the percussion to tell the story of a child's perspective of the holiday season. A fresh and unique twist to a beloved American Christmas classics, Catalina Maria Johnson and David Dye transition into the musical world of Spain and discuss the popularity of one particular Christmas song that has spread across all of its former colonies.

Most Americans will not be familiar with the enchanting lyrics and joyful sounds of "Los Peces en el Rio," but across all of Latin America, singing it has become a household tradition. With nearly every country having its own rendition of the song, Catalina treats her listeners by playing a mariachi version of the much beloved track. Typically, in Latin America mariachi is a male-dominated genre but Catalina introduces an all female mariachi band that is not only defying stereotypes in the genre but also providing a unique biblical perspective to the classic Spanish track. The mariachi band tells the story of a fish observing the actions of Virgin Mary and Baby Jesus as they are along the river. Offering thoughtful insights about the diversity of Christmas music in Latin America come join Catalina and David and enjoy the fresh Latin twists of your favorite Christmas tracks only on Latin Roots!
  • Listen to the Show:
    Listen to the session at NPR.org
  • Show Tracks:
    • Los Papines / "El Pequeño Tamborilero (The Little Drummer Boy)" / It's a Cuban Christmas
    • Mariachi Reyna de Los Angeles /Los Peces en el Río / Navidad En America
  • Listen to the Playlist:


Latin Roots is made possible by a grant from the Wyncote Foundation.

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