Latin American Music

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Violeta Went to Heaven by Cecilia Vicuña
Andrés Wood 1

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 by Christian Viveros-Fauné
The Maid

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.

Mario Galeano Toro by Marc Nasdor
Toro 01 Body
Serpentina Satélite’s Nothing to Say by Eric Schneider
Serpentina 2 Copy Body

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. 

Babasónicos by Laureana Toledo
Babasonicos 2 Body

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. 

Chicha is Coming by Renato Gómez
​The Roots of Chicha

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. 

Jorge Hernandez by Josh Kun
Hernandez01 Body

“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.”

Plastilina Mosh by Erasmo Guerra
Mosh 01 Body

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 by Zoë Anglesey
​Claudia Acuña​ 01

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.

Bebo Valdés by Ned Sublette
Valdes 01 Body

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 by Zoë Anglesey
Baca 1

Susana Baca exemplifies how an artist makes the world a stage. 

Albita by Zoë Anglesey
Albita 1

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.

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