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Latin Music In The Heartland

The crowd at Los Dells Festival in Wisconsin celebrates music and identity.

There has been much written about how Latino populations are developing outside of the long standing, larger concentrations on America's coasts. But there's another way to track this development beyond the U.S. Census: follow the music.

As soon as numbers hit a critical mass in developing communities in the South, Northeast and the Midwest, someone invariably comes along to present concerts, live music in nightclubs and eventually festivals.

Such is the case with the third annual Los Dells Festival held in central Wisconsin. This year, the two-day festival featured big names like Café Tacvba and Ozuna as well as indie faves like Salt Cathedral. Luis Fonsi, Daddy Yankee and Maná have performed in previous years alongside regional acts.

Luz Elena Mendoza fronts the band Y La Bamba during a performance at Los Dells Festival.
Gabriella Cisneros / Radio Milwaukee
Luz Elena Mendoza fronts the band Y La Bamba during a performance at Los Dells Festival.

Our pals at 88Nine Radio Milwaukee spent two days in the bucolic backdrop situated about halfway between Chicago and Minneapolis. New Alt.Latino contributor Kenny Perez hung out backstage and gathered interviews with Café Tacvba, Salt Cathedral, Ximena Sarinaña and Natalia Lafourcade. There are more interviews to come that will found via Radio Milwaukee.

There is an undercurrent of identity as the theme for this week's show, both cultural and musical. Which proves my point again: if you really want to see how our communities are changing, just listen to our music. -- Felix Contreras

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