Felix Contreras

Felix Contreras appears in the following:

First Listen: Meridian Brothers, 'Salvadora Robot'

Sunday, June 08, 2014

It takes just two words to sum up Salvadora Robot, the new album by the Colombian band Meridian Brothers: "happy weirdness."

Last year's release of the anthology Devocion: (Works 2005-2011) introduced the quirky group to audiences beyond avant-garde circles in Bogota, and Salvadora Robot reiterates that these free thinkers don't ...


First Listen: Pasatono Orquesta, 'Maroma'

Sunday, May 11, 2014

They had me at "vintage Mexican circus music." Maroma, the new album by the roots band Pasotono Orquesta, is dedicated to music of the one-man circuses — known as maroma — that traveled in rural Mexico during the late 19th century. The big-tent circuses, or carpas, were pared down to ...


The Grateful Dead's Ultimate 'Dark Star' To Be Reissued

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

The Grateful Dead's song "Dark Star" was something of a holy grail for Deadheads attending either their first or 200th show. I once had an iPod playlist that had over seven hours of the legendary jam. So you can imagine my joy when someone turned me on to ...


Remembering Armando Peraza, An Afro-Cuban Percussion Giant

Thursday, May 01, 2014

It's hard to imagine a musical career that included musicians as varied as Charlie Parker, Peggy Lee, George Shearing and Carlos Santana. But such was hand percussionist Armando Peraza's resumé after almost 70 years making music.

A boyhood friend of Mongo Santamaria, Peraza was part of the first wave of ...


First Listen: Pacifika, 'Amor Planeta'

Sunday, April 27, 2014

The music of Pacifika draws you in almost immediately: The Vancouver trio's musicianship is superb, buoyed by a voice that stopped me in my tracks the first time I heard it. Pacifika's sound has been labeled as world fusion, but that label is more of a restriction than a description. ...


First Listen: Arturo O'Farrill & The Afro Latin Orchestra, 'The Offense Of The Drum'

Sunday, April 27, 2014

The Offense of the Drum is one of those moments when the course of music with a long tradition is altered slightly — when music moves forward in a subtle and graceful way that's likely to have a lasting impact.

Arturo O'Farrill has had to fill big shoes: His ...


Si Se Puede: Cesar Chavez, The Man Vs. The Movie

Saturday, April 26, 2014

There is no music in this week's episode of Alt.Latino. Instead, we do one of our occasional "deep dives" into a subject to pursue insights and perspectives that help us think about more than music. This time around, the subject is Cesar Chavez, the recent biopic about the civil-rights activist ...


Federico Aubele: Tiny Desk Concert

Monday, April 21, 2014

Argentine singer-songwriter Federico Aubele uses his dark, husky voice to produce a specific effect in the three songs he performs at this Tiny Desk Concert: Together, they jell into one impressionistic midtempo ballad.

A voice like Aubele's could be restrictive: His lower register seems to always reflect something dark ...


Paco De Lucia, Modern Superstar Of Flamenco, Dies

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Traditional flamenco is a singer's art, born in the cradle of Roma culture in Spain. De Lucia was neither a singer nor Roma, which makes his accomplishments all the more extraordinary.


Sofia Rei: Tiny Desk Concert

Saturday, February 22, 2014

A drum from the Argentine Pampas fuels the music of Sofia Rei in this video: The way Franco Pinna has it incorporated into a traditional drum set serves as a musical metaphor for the music Rei performs alongside Pinna and guitarist/bassist JC Maillard.

Rei carries the accent and spirit of ...


Ringing In Black History Month With Latin Music

Friday, February 07, 2014

Editor's note: It is February and that can mean only one thing. It is time for Black, Latino And Proud: Black History Month With Alt.Latino hosted by our friends and colleagues Felix Contreras and Jasmine Garsd. We pass the mic to Felix to hear what they will be featuring ...


First Listen: Gina Chavez, 'Up.Rooted'

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Gina Chavez's voice stops you in your tracks the first time you hear it. At least that's how it worked for me when I came upon her performance during South by Southwest a few years ago. She was playing a semi-acoustic set on a sunlit patio above a busy sports ...


A Dictator And The Music He Loved To Hate: Spanish Songs Of Rebellion

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Martirio owes an artistic debt to both a dictator and jazz.

She is a living, breathing and performing example of the artistic explosion that greeted the death of Francisco Franco, the despot who ruled Spain from 1939 through 1975. After decades of severely limited creative expression, Martirio and other ...


La Santa Cecilia: Tiny Desk Concert

Monday, December 16, 2013

La Santa Cecilia spreads joy every time its members plug in to do a show. They do it one dance step at a time, with cumbias, corridos, elegant mambos and plain old rock 'n' roll.

I first saw La Santa Cecilia perform in an Austin, Texas, parking lot about ...


Buika: Tiny Desk Concert

Monday, August 26, 2013

Concha Buika's voice doesn't come from inside her petite body: It comes from Africa, and from the past. There are obvious traces of flamenco, itself a historical mash-up of the Moors and various transitory cultures in southern Spain and north Africa.

During her flights of improvisation, we also hear ...


First Listen: Tremor, 'Proa'

Sunday, August 25, 2013

A while back, I found myself weary of hearing music played in 4/4 time, with the snare hitting on the 2 and 4. For relief, I dug deeper into an existing passion for Afro-Cuban music — and, during that journey, discovered the Argentine trio Tremor.

Tremor creates a mash-up of ...


Marian McPartland, 'Piano Jazz' Host, Has Died

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Marian McPartland, who gave the world an intimate, insider's perspective on one of the most elusive topics in music — jazz improvisation — died of natural causes Tuesday night at her home in Long Island, N.Y. She was 95.

For more than 40 years, she hosted Marian McPartland's ...


Of Ingenuity And Insane Clown Posse: 5 Books On Music For What's Left Of Summer

Thursday, August 08, 2013

It's already August 8, which means you've got maybe three or four weeks left to complain about preseason football, inadequately shield yourself from the scorching heat of the sun, and communicate with your kids about something other than why they haven't done their homework. So why not get cracking on ...


First Listen: Andrea Echeverri, 'Ruiseñora'

Sunday, August 04, 2013

It's possible to chart the development of Latin Alternative music by following the career of Andrea Echeverri.

In 1992, Echeverri and Hector Buitrago formed Aterciopelados in Bogota, Colombia, during a time of great innovation in rock en Español. Bands from all over Latin America were experimenting with indigenous ...


'A Walking Encyclopedia Of Rhythms': Remembering Steve Berrios

Monday, July 29, 2013

It is not easy to play both jazz drum set and Afro-Caribbean percussion. Lots of drummers do it, but few have mastered it in a way that makes their sound in either style unmistakable from the first beat.

The music community lost one of those true innovators Wednesday with the ...