Latin Roots

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Latin Roots

David Dye 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.
"Oh! It is so good to fly, at two in the morning, at two in the morning it's so good to fly, oh mama! To fly and let yourself fall, into the arms of a lady……The witch grabs me, she takes me to her home, she sits me on her lap, she gives me kisses …. 'Oh tell me, tell me tell me: how many creatures have you consumed?' 'Nobody, nobody! I only wish to…
Our Latin Roots reporter Rachel Faro is back this time to introduce us to Garifuna. Rachel wears many hats: as an artist, a record producer and she owns the Ashe record label specializing in Latin music. Garifuna music was originally specific to the geographic area surrounding coastal Belize and Honduras in Central America. It is the music of the Garifuna people who are descendants of slaves settled on islands off the coast, arriving after a…
Today we welcome a new Latin Roots co-host, singer-songwriter, Grammy nominated record producer and record company owner Rachel Faro to tell us about the Portuguese tradition of Fado. Fado began in Lisbon and has been around for at least a couple of centuries. Over the years the music has moved from the streets to the concert halls. Fado singers like the national treasure Amalia Rodrigues and Mariza, both of whom we will hear from today,…
A hefty task for our Latin Roots co-host today Josh Norek: Define the broad swath of Argentine rock with just few bands. But Josh, the co-host of The Latin Alternative, is up to it precisely because he spent time in Buenos Aires as student during a most vibrant period for the music. In this session he plays a classic from Los Fabulosos Cadillacs who had ska influences in their early work in the 80's. That…
A playground for musicians, Mexico has become the hub where traditional folk music has effectively fused with more modern forms of music. In this installment of Latin Roots David Dye has the pleasure to explore the prominence of an emerging crossover music genre with Josh Nerok, who is the co-host and executive producer of the nationally syndicated one hour radio show entitled The Latin Alternative. Already popular in Latin America, Mexitrónica is heading its way…
In this 29th installment of Latin Roots from World Cafe, David Dye and Grammy-winning Latin music producer Aaron Levinson embark on a transcontinental journey exploring the history and richness of bolero music — a slow-tempo dance with distinctive forms in Cuba and Spain. Bolero typically focuses on themes like love or loss, but as Dye and Levinson discuss, the critical difference between both forms is actually the rhythm. Since its beginnings in the late 18th…
Grammy-winning latin music producer Aaron Levinson and host David Dye embark on a journey to the world of merengue music, starting with its roots in the Dominican Republic. Largely influenced by the dictator Rafael Trujillo to celebrate his political agenda, merengue is a form of fast paced, rhythmic music. Utilizing diatonic accordions, tamboras, and the güira, traditional merengue bands have irresistibly induced listeners from around the world to move with the sounds of the tropical…
Latin Roots contributor and Music Journalist, Catalina Maria Johnson loves Christmas and joins us for a special Spanish language holiday selection that goes beyond "Feliz Navidad." She also has picked out another great Spotify selection for us! We hear music from Mexico, Puerto Rico, Columbia, and the Dominican Republic. In Latin America, some Christmas parties last for 9 days, from the 16th to the 26th, and they are all about the music.
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…
In this segment of Latin Roots, Jasmine Garsd discusses how the Brazilian artistic movement of Tropicália, also known as Tropicalismo, emerged and became a prominent force in the Latin American music scene. Garsd provides listeners with insightful information about the oppression and corruption that plagued countries like Brazil during a totalitarian regime. However, during these obscure times in Brazil, a cultural manifestation, identified as antropofagia, was conceived by Brazilian poet Oswald de Andrade and took…
In this 23rd installment of the Latin Roots segment, we diverge from focusing on a specific type of Latin music/ genre and instead talk about an integral and enormously popular instrument in Latin music. NPR's Alt Latino correspondent Felix Contreras is invited to discuss the history and the impact of the conga, or more properly known as the tumbadora, in Cuba and abroad. Originating from Africa, the conga became a critical instrument in Afro-Cuban religious…
Nueva Cancion ("new song") is a style born in the '60s and '70s, when many Latin countries were ruled by repressive dictators. The songs were folk-inspired, with guitar-based song forms, percussive elements and socially charged lyrics. The late Victor Jara is seen as the father of the movement, and he comes up in this conversation. Alt.Latino host Jasmine Garsd says the movement has resonated with a lot of people and brought about change — a…
We are back with another of our popular Latin Roots series. This time Felix Contreras from NPR's Alt-Latino is here to explore the Ranchera. We'll hear old and new examples of this Mexican narrative form. The first song is by Jorge Negrete, one of the most famous Ranchera singers of all time. Ranchera literally translates to "from the ranch," and first began appearing during the Mexican Revolution around 1910. The lyrics were originally written about…
This installment is an encore presentation of Latin Roots #15 of World Cafe's Latin Roots music series is hosted by Chicago-based journalist Catalina Maria Johnson. She writes in Spanish and English for publications such as HOY, Revista Contratiempo, Gozamos and Nat Geo Music. and is a regular radio personality and hosts/producer for the radio program Beat Latino, which airs in Chicago, Mexico City and Berlin. In the late 19th century, Rumba started to emerge in…
In this 19th installment of World Cafe's Latin Roots series, Carlos Alfonso, one of the vocalists and principle songwriters of the Cuban progressive rock band Síntesis, talks with host David Dye about the relationships between Cuban music, Yoruba music (Yoruba are a people in current-day Nigeria) and Arara music (Arara being a culture in present-day Benin). Síntesis is cited as Cuba's first progressive rock band. The band's influences include groups such as Genesis, Pink Floyd…
In this installment of World Cafe's Latin Roots series, Raul Pacheco of the Grammy-winning band Ozomatli talks with host David Dye about how politics influence music. They've certainly affected Pacheco's music, as Ozomatli has been politically driven since its inception. The band's members started playing together 16 years ago, when they were working for the Peace and Justice Center of Los Angeles, and were asked to play for picketers during a strike. Pacheco lets the…
Grammy-winning Latin-music producer Aaron Levinson joins WXPN's David Dye for this, the 17th segment of World Cafe's Latin Roots series. Levinson, a Philadelphia native, started his music career at the Philadelphia High School for the Creative and Performing Arts. With a background as a musician and composer, he's a former governor of the Philadelphia chapter of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. Levinson has gone on to start his own record label, Range…
San Antonio native Alejandro Escovedo is the co-host of this sixteenth installment of Latin Roots, here to discuss the Latin character of his hometown's music in the 1950's. Escovedo's music has a strong Latin influence as a result of growing up in San Antoinio and listening to his parent's music. His Dad played mariachi, and his parents also to rancheras, country, and big band music - which all seeped into what he does today.
This fifteenth installment of World Cafe's Latin Roots music series is hosted by Chicago-based journalist Catalina Maria Johnson. She writes in Spanish and English for publications such as HOY, Revista Contratiempo, Gozamos and Nat Geo Music. and is a regular radio personality and hosts/producer for the radio program Beat Latino, which airs in Chicago, Mexico City and Berlin. In the late 19th century, Rumba started to emerge in the port city of Matanzas, an hour…
Chicago-based music journalist Catalina Maria Johnson hosts this fourteenth installment of World Cafe's Latin Roots music series. The bilingual and bicultural journalist is half Swedish and half Mexican and grew up in two cities both name St. Louis, one in Missouri, and the other, San Luis Potosi, Mexico. She writes in Spanish and English for publications such as HOY, Revista Contratiempo, Gozamos and Nat Geo Music. She is a regular radio personality and hosts/produces the…
For World Cafe's thirteenth episode of Latin Roots, Latin music aficionado Ernesto Lechner chats about tango. Lechner was born and raised in Beunos Aires, the birthplace of tango. He was first fully immersed in Latin music after moving to Los Angeles and has since written several books on the subject, including Rock en Espanol: The Latin Alternative Rock Explosion. Lechner also co-hosts the radio show Latin Alternative and is a contributing writer for Rolling Stone,…
This installment of the Latin Roots Series explores Bossa Nova music, guided by Latin music expert, Ernesto Lechner. Lechner grew up in Buenos Aires where his parents' record collection consisted of classical records and a solitary Bossa Nova LP. He later immigrated to Los Angeles where he was immersed in Latin music and subsequently became a music journalist and published several books on Latin music.
Jasmine Garsd joins David Dye to discuss Reggaeton's eclectic mix of salsa, hip-hop and reggae. On the eleventh installment of Latin Roots, NPR's Jasmine Garsd discusses the history of Reggaeton. Born and raised in Beunos Aires, Garsd spent her teenage years hooked on Argentinian rock. Garsd moved to the United States after high school, where she encountered an eclectic mix of American music as well. She co-hosts NPR's online program Alt. Latino with Felix Contreras.…
We've heard from Alt. Latino co-host Felix Contreras, but today we'll hear from the show's other half, Jasmine Serena Garsd. Garsd was raised in Buenos Aires and connected with the Argentinean rock scene in her teens. She moved to the United States after high school, an experience which exposed her to American music and she is now one of the co-hosts of Alt.Latino, a weekly show on NPR Music that explores music from all over…
On this episode of Latin Roots, Felix Contreras returns to discuss the Latin alternative music of the 70's. Contreras is a connoisseur of sorts when it comes to Latin music. He hosts NPR's Alt.Latino, reports on jazz, world music and Latin culture for NPR's Arts Desk, and plays in several Latin and jazz bands. Here Contreras discusses how politics in the 1970's influenced Latin music of the era. In the '70s, Latin music was impacted…
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Latin Roots is made possible by a grant from the Wyncote Foundation.

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