Latin American Music
Andrés Wood’s film, Violeta Went to Heaven, brought me back to a decisive moment. I am 14 and I am crossing a threshold. I am walking down a hallway at my aunt Lola’s house on Manuel Montt Street in Santiago de Chile.
Sebastián Silva’s highly realistic films are also thrillers. Set in Chile and performed by ensemble casts who replicate their counterparts in life with stunning veracity, his latest film, Old Cats, opens in New York this spring.
The soothing Andean panpipe and the plaintive folk tune “El Condor Pasa”—these are the stereotypes associated with Peruvian music culture—stereotypes that the Lima–based ensemble Serpentina Satélite crushes with a weighty psychedelic attack.
Combine Sai Baba with the suffix “sonic” and what you get is Babasónicos: an enigmatic name for a Buenos Aires-based band that neither practices meditation nor follows any gurus.
More than a Peruvian musical genre, Chicha (from the Spanish word for a style of homemade fermented beverage) is a peculiar hybrid culture centered in Lima—the clash of jungle, Andean, and coastal idiosyncrasies resulting from waves of coastal emigration to the city that began in the ’50s.
“Our position has always been that we tell the stories of what happens in the real world so that people can have outlets in song and won’t act that way in real life.”
One night this summer, as the city of New York endured the kind of tropical heat more familiar to folks south of the Rio Bravo…
Claudia Acuña’s album Rhythm of Life is reminiscent of her performances at Manhattan jazz clubs, combining Chilean music with jazz standards and Acuña’s original compositions.
This past august I talked for a couple of hours with pianist Bebo Valdés on the occasion of the release of El arte del sabor (Blue Note), his trio album with bassist Israel “Cachao” Lopez and conguero Carlos “Potato” Valdés.
Susana Baca exemplifies how an artist makes the world a stage.
Albita is about to put her name on our lips. While the music of this 33-year-old Miami-based Cuban singer couldn’t be more puro, her new CD, Dicen Que (SONY/Epic/Crecent Moon) will surely result in some “crossing over.” Not by her, though, but by English-speaking fans, especially those who like to dance from the hips down.