Felix Contreras

Felix Contreras appears in the following:

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 ...


First Listen: Chucho Valdés And The Afro-Cuban Messengers, 'Border-Free'

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Jazz fans will get the reference in the name of Chucho Valdés' quintet, The Afro-Cuban Messengers. Just as drummer Art Blakey did with various versions of his Jazz Messengers, Valdés is nurturing future generations of Afro-Cuban jazz musicians while also spreading the gospel of the music ...


First Listen: Buika, 'La Noche Más Larga'

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Ever since her self-titled debut in 2005, Spanish singer Concha Buika has mesmerized fans with her dark, husky voice, which mixes the Moorish roots of flamenco with the dexterity of great jazz singers. Buika, part of a long line of captivating female vocalists from Spain, has progressed from her ...


A Kind Of Magic: New Latin Music, Sprinkled With Discovery Dust

Thursday, May 16, 2013

I wish we'd put a camera in the Alt.Latino studio to capture Jasmine Garsd's face as she listened to my picks for the first time. It would have captured the way she stared into space as the sounds came through her headphones and made their way into her musical consciousness; ...


First Listen: Piñata Protest, 'El Valiente'

Sunday, May 12, 2013

I was in high school, playing drums in a band with some pals in the mid-'70s, when I got a call from my uncle: Would I like to play a couple of dates with his norteño band over the summer?

While my drumming skills were decidedly high-school-level in terms of ...


Omar Sosa & Paolo Fresu: Tiny Desk Concert

Monday, April 22, 2013

You don't really listen to an Omar Sosa concert so much as experience it. The Cuban-born pianist's overall demeanor exudes a sense of calm and deep reflection, while a spiritual connection to music and his ancestors comes through in his piano playing.

You can hear Sosa draw on more ...


Tito Puente: 90 Years Of Getting People To Dance

Saturday, April 20, 2013

The percussionist and bandleader Tito Puente would have celebrated his 90th birthday this weekend on April 20. And the recently released box set Quatro: The Definitive Collection is a great place to start celebrating the once and forever King of Latin Music. It captures the driving sound of ...


Guest DJ With California Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera

Thursday, April 18, 2013

When California Gov. Jerry Brown named Juan Felipe Herrera to the honorary post of poet laureate, he was tapping into a slice of Chicano history.

Herrera came of age during the late 1960s and early '70s, when politics, culture and social change influenced what became known as the Chicano Movement.



5 Stories About Immigration, In Song Form

Thursday, April 11, 2013

This week, Alt.Latino takes a look at five people who've been affected by U.S. immigration or immigration law. As you might expect, we take a musical approach, as we ask each subject to bring along a song that depicts his or her situation or status. The playlist is thought-provoking, and ...

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Bajofondo, Live In Concert: SXSW 2013

Monday, April 01, 2013

With eight accomplished musicians from Argentina and Uruguay, and a sound rooted in tango traditions, Bajofondo lays out a visual and aural feast. Led by Oscar and Grammy winner Gustavo Santaolalla, the group mashes up traditional candombe sounds and other forms with electronica to produce a mix that's hypnotic ...


Molotov, Live In Concert: SXSW 2013

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Politics and rock en Español go hand in hand, and Mexico City's Molotov is a flag-waver for that combination. The band formed in 1995 during an era in which seismic political changes transformed Mexican society; from the start, Molotov's music pointed fingers at economic and political institutions — and even ...