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Alt.Latino Brings New Music To Refresh Your Summer Playlist


We're about halfway through the summer, time to update your summer music playlist. And our friends at the Alt.Latino podcast have some suggestions. Jasmine Garsd and Felix Contreras are the hosts. They join us once a month to talk music. And as usual, they've brought along a wide variety of styles. Felix, you brought the first track. So what are we listening to here?

FELIX CONTRERAS, BYLINE: OK, this album is called "Hecho En Mexico" and the group is called Money Chicha. Now, chicha is a style of music from the jungles of Peru developed in the 1960s that can best be described as psychedelic cumbia.


CONTRERAS: And this group is yet another offshoot of some very talented musicians in Austin, Texas called Grupo Fantasma. They also did an amazing Latin funk cover of Black Sabbath last year.

NEARY: I just learned a whole new phrase, psychedelic cumbia.


NEARY: Now, Jas, you are usually the one who's really upbeat. But I guess you brought something kind of chill this time.

JASMINE GARSD, BYLINE: Yeah, you know what? I just moved to New York.


NEARY: The attitude is getting to you, right?

GARSD: Yeah, I kind of found that lately I've been wanting to listen to some more relaxed, chilled-out music with a glass of wine. And something that fell on my lap was Stella Santana. She is the daughter of Carlos Santana, but she has a totally different sound, just really chill and ethereal. Check it out. This is "Friends."


STELLA SANTANA: (Singing) Can I sit here, baby? You look like you need a friend.

CONTRERAS: You know, Carlos Santana has a son named Salvador Santana, who's also making music of his own. And both of the kids are playing nothing (laughter) like what their dad was doing.


SANTANA: (Singing) I want to touch you, so don't take this the wrong way.

NEARY: All right, now your next artist's name, Jas - the name when translated means conscious pencil?

GARSD: Yeah, Lapiz Conciente, another artist that I just recently discovered. And he's from Dominican Republic, and he has a new song called "Internacional." And I just love the beat. And he's a really good rapper, and the beat is awesome. I listen to it all morning long.


LAPIZ CONCIENTE: (Rapping in Spanish).

GARSD: So yeah, this morning I was listening to this track, like, feeling like such a boss with my sunglasses on, coming in on the really sweaty subway.


NEARY: That's one that just sort of you can't stop, you know, moving to somehow.

GARSD: Yeah...

NEARY: ...It seems to me.

GARSD: Great.

NEARY: Yeah.

GARSD: It's great. Maybe not so great to listen to it in a crowded subway because you want to start dancing.

NEARY: Yeah, you do.

GARSD: Yeah.

NEARY: All right, Felix, what have you got for us now?

CONTRERAS: OK, now I brought in something familiar but with a slight twist. Check this out. Right?

GARSD: Nice.


EL TRI: (Singing in Spanish).

GARSD: I know who this is.

NEARY: I don't.

GARSD: Is this El Tri?

CONTRERAS: This track is - yes, it is. It's from an album called "Quiero Creedence," OK? It's a collection of Latin artists covering Creedence Clearwater Revival, OK?

NEARY: (Laughter).

CONTRERAS: But this track is one of my favorites. This is the legendary Mexican rock band El Tri with the vocalist Alex Lora. They're covering the song we all know, "Proud Mary," but the lyrics are changed to reflect the immigrant experience of coming to the U.S. So the chorus...

GARSD: ...Whoa.

CONTRERAS: So the chorus of rolling on the river refers to the Rio Bravo or the Rio Grande.


EL TRI: (Singing) Rolling, rolling, rolling en el rio.

CONTRERAS: It's a very powerful transformation that speaks to the spirit of the album. And the entire album is just an amazing selection of artists and arrangement - bands like Ozomatli, Los Lobos, but also rockers from Latin America like Enanitos Verdes. It's a great, great record. It's a perfect album for summer road trips.

NEARY: And as always, this is a great and interesting and eclectic selection, guys. Jasmine Garsd and Felix Contreras are the hosts of Alt.Latino, NPR Music's weekly show about Latino arts and culture. They also double as summer music playlist consultants. Hit them up on their website for suggestions. They are at Thank you again, guys.

GARSD: Thank you.

CONTRERAS: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.