Felix Contreras

Felix Contreras appears in the following:

First Listen: Los Hijos De La Montaña, 'Los Hijos De La Montaña'

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Although they share the same last name, it's hard to imagine a less likely pairing than Luz Elena Mendoza and Sergio Mendoza.

While both have roots in Mexico, Luz Elena makes her home in the Pacific Northwest and has fronted a band called Y La Bamba. That group sets ...


Apanhador Só: Musical Magic With A Trunkload Of Toys

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

One of the most musical countries on the planet, Brazil is awash in folk-music traditions, as well as a rich history in jazz and bossa nova. It seems as if Brazilian musicians can make beautiful sounds with everything and anything they touch.

The band Apanhador Só demonstrates that point, and ...


A Bluegrass Ditty By Way Of Uruguay

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Uruguay belongs high up any list of locations for musical discovery. Nestled between Argentina and Brazil way down on the southern tip of the Americas, it spends way too much time in the shadows of its better-known neighbors.

But a closer listen reveals something for just about everyone: rockeros, sure, ...


Diego El Cigala: Tiny Desk Concert

Friday, May 01, 2015

Every now and then, if we are extremely lucky, we are witness to a musical game changer. That is the rare musician who single-handedly alters the direction of a genre though the power of musical vision and artistry.

Diego El Cigala is one of those game changers.

While he comes ...


Chris Washburne And The SYOTOS Band, 'Stairway To Heaven'

Monday, April 20, 2015

This crazy, clever cover medley spans an entire musical universe, as it superimposes one of Duke Ellington's sacred works (1968's "Heaven") over Led Zeppelin's 1971 rock classic "Stairway To Heaven." Trombonist Chris Washburne and his mighty See You On The Other Side miniature big band have released an album of ...


Rosa Díaz: Tiny Desk Concert

Friday, April 17, 2015

Rosa Díaz is nothing if not passionate: Her performance behind Bob Boilen's desk practically burst with the kind of passion that made it feel almost confessional. Her sophisticated lyrics reflect deeply felt emotions in this performance with cellist Daniel de Jesus.

This is the kind of performance best experienced for ...


Surviving SXSW 2015, With An Assist

Thursday, March 26, 2015

People don't attend Austin, Texas' annual SXSW Music Festival so much as survive it. More bands than you'd ever have time to see squeeze into every conceivable space across the Texas city known as the live-music capital of the world.

Latin bands make up an increasingly prominent portion of the ...


Aurelio: Tiny Desk Concert

Saturday, March 07, 2015

Many tributaries follow the story of African migration to this part of the world. Much of that narrative is well-known, but little-known pockets of African culture still produce unique cultural expressions. The story of the Garifuna people is just one example.

A tapestry of cultures and influences can be heard ...


First Listen: Omar Sosa, 'Ile'

Sunday, March 01, 2015

Cuban-born pianist and composer Omar Sosa has carved out a place for himself in the musical landscape that's equal parts musical and spiritual. His playing and his songs are saturated with the beauty and power of West African music dedicated to Yoruba deities, and yet an unmistakable reverence for ...


Clark Terry, Ebullient Jazz Trumpeter, Has Died

Sunday, February 22, 2015

A member of the Count Basie and Duke Ellington Orchestras, Terry also enjoyed a long freelance career which included jazz education and a featured slot in NBC's Tonight Show band. He was 94.


How Santería Seeped Into Latin Music

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Santería ceremonies are for calling out to the spiritual world, and that spiritual connection is made through music. Felix Contreras explores how some sacred beats made a secular crossover.


Moreno's 'El Burrito Sabanero', Welcomed Update To A Holiday Song

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

"Mi Burrito Sabanero" is about a little donkey making its way to Bethlehem on the night Jesus was born. We hear about a reimagined version of the classic Latin American Christmas song by Gaby Moreno.


Festivo Alt.Latino: Cantigas In Concert

Monday, December 15, 2014

For this edition of our holiday special we turn to the healing and uplifting power of the human voice with the Washington, D.C.-based group, Cantigas. The group's 25 members assembled in NPR's Studio 1 in front of a live audience to present an eclectic mix of songs and rhythms ...


Davíd Garza: Tiny Desk Concert

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Davíd Garza was already a favorite son for folks in Austin when I discovered a collection of his past works, filled with stunning songwriting and a voice that seemed familiar yet new. Once I heard his music, I knew I'd always look forward to whatever he produced.

Being a ...


Making Movies: Tiny Desk Concert

Saturday, November 08, 2014

When Los Lobos' Steve Berlin sent me an audio file of a band he was producing, I stopped what I was doing and listened closely. There was something about the energy coming from Enrique Chi's vocals as the rest of Making Movies enveloped him in sound.

The band has been ...


In Music, Carlos Santana Seeks The Divine

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

I was introduced to Santana in 1969, and have followed along ever since. At times, it was simply a musical path: I discovered jazz through the band's spiritual and jazz-influenced mid-'70s albums. Then, as Carlos Santana — a child of Mexico — made a name for himself in mainstream ...


Alt.Latino Lays Out A Sonic Altar For Dia De Los Muertos

Thursday, October 30, 2014

A friend who lives in Mexico just wrote on her Facebook page to wonder whether the dead are hip to social media. She's moved around so much in the last year that she wants to make sure the people she's lost over the years know where to find her.

Such ...


Raquel Sofia: Tiny Desk Concert

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Singer Raquel Sofia has spent most of her career 20 feet from stardom as a backup singer for Juanes and Shakira. But these days, she's got her own new album and tour, leading a small band of gifted musicians. Sofia's songs are about matters of the heart — and, as ...


Bio Ritmo: Tiny Desk Concert

Monday, September 29, 2014

Latino migration in the U.S. has placed people of Afro-Caribbean heritage all over the country. Bio Ritmo's heritage leads directly back to that migration — and to the sound of Fania Records, which fueled Latin dance music's transition from the big-band mambos of the 1950s to the cutting-edge sounds of ...


Puerto Rican Princesses And Mexican Centaurs

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Achieving any kind of longevity in the music business is a tricky proposition. So when a genuine legend continues to produce engaging and artistic music, we take notice.

This week, we play a track from such a legend: Sergio Mendes. He played with the pioneers of bossa nova back ...