© 2023 WFAE
90.7 Charlotte 93.7 Southern Pines 90.3 Hickory 106.1 Laurinburg
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Latin Indie Groups Cover Ricky Martin Hits


That is the sound of a summer jam that caught the attention of our next guests, Jasmine Garsd and Felix Contreras of NPR Music's Alt Latino which is a weekly podcast about Latino arts and culture. They join us from time to time, and they're here now again. Welcome.

FELIX CONTRERAS, BYLINE: Thank you very much.

JASMINE GARSD, BYLINE: You can't get rid of us.


GARSD: We just keep coming back.

WERTHEIMER: Well, so Jasmine, you tell us about this song, and why it is a summer hit.

GARSD: Yeah. So there's this really cool publication in Puerto Rico - really good friends of ours. It's called Puerto Rico Indie. And they just recently celebrated a four- year anniversary. And to celebrate it, they got all these Puerto Rican and Latin bands and had them do covers of Ricky Martin hits.


WERTHEIMER: (Laughter) That is a very funny idea.

GARSD: And if that tune sounds familiar, it's because it is a Ricky Martin hit. It's "She Bangs."


RICKY MARTIN: (Singing) She walks like she talks. And she talks like she walks. She bangs. She bangs. Oh, baby, when she moves. She moves. I go crazy 'cause she...


LAS ACEVEDO: (Singing) ...She walks like she talks. And she talks like she walks. And she bangs. She bangs. She moves. She moves. I go crazy 'cause she looks like a flower, but she stings like a bee, like every girl in history. And she bangs. She bangs. She moves. She moves. I go crazy.

GARSD: The compilation is called "Indie Martin." Two twin sisters, and they do what they like to call, like, picnic rock. You know, it's very folky, but it has an edge. And they're called Las Acevedo.


LAS ACEVEDO: (Singing) Shake your bon. Shake it. Shake your bon. Shake your bonbon.

WERTHEIMER: Felix, you get the next track.

CONTRERAS: OK. There is a new album out. It's called "Raiz." And it's by Lila Downs, a woman named Nina Pastori and Soledad. Now the album is a mix of styles. There's rancheras. There's flamencos. There's tangos. And all three of these singers, who have very strong, distinct voices, they sing on every track. I brought in the track called "Cumbia del mole."



GARSD: Felix, you know what's crazy?

CONTRERAS: What's that?

GARSD: When I moved to the U.S. in, like, 2002, one of the things I thought as I left my native Argentina is, well, you know, one of the things I'm going to miss is the music. I'm never to hear that music live again. And it just says a lot about how the U.S. is changing that I hear that music live all the time. And one of the artists I thought I would never hear was Soledad.


GARSD: Yeah.

WERTHEIMER: I understand that the next song is a Jasmine find, but you both fell in love with it? Yes?

GARSD: Yes. I think with Alt Latino, you know, we have a little bit of the boy-who-cried-wolf effect with good music because, you know, we curate the show so carefully that we never play a song we don't like. So every single week, we're, like, oh, my God, I love this song. This is the best. But I'm here to tell you con mi mano en mi corazon - with my hand on my heart - this is my favorite musical discovery of 2014. This is the band Ibeyi, and they're doing the song "River." Just listen to this.


IBEYI: (Singing) Come to you, river, wash my soul. I will come to you, river, wash my soul. I will come to you, river, wash my soul again. Carry away my old leaves. Let me baptize my soul with the help of your waters. Sink my pains and complains. Let the river take them. River drown them. My ego and my blame, let me baptize my soul with the help of your waters. Those all means, so ashamed. Let the river take them. River drown them.

WERTHEIMER: That's just amazing. I mean, that's a very Latin version of gospel isn't it?

CONTRERAS: It's a great combination of the two. Now this is an example of the children of some of my favorite musicians now making music. OK? These two young ladies are the daughters of a percussionist who passed away in 2006. His name was Anga Diaz. And these are his daughters. And Anga was, like, a leading exponent of Afro-Cuban anywhere in the world. He lived in Paris. And in particular, with the santeria music with the drums and the chanting and all that - this track, if you listen, it has the feel of a santeria beat that they've stripped down to this almost, like, hip-hop beat. With the bottom, like...


IBEYI: (Singing) I will come to you, river. Come to you, river, wash my soul.

CONTRERAS: That is there, and it's underneath the music. And that's like the bottom, the fundamental building block of santeria music. I'm with Jasmine. This track just completely blew my mind. And I'm just - I'm in love with this group.

WERTHEIMER: OK. Time for one more song, but I don't know how we do something that's better than that one.

CONTRERAS: OK. I don't know that we can, but what we're going to do is look forward 'cause these are songs that we heard over the summer. And we're going to play a track now from an album that's coming out later in September.

This is a new album from one of our favorites. It's a guy. He calls himself Chancha Via Circuito, and the name of the album is Amansara. He is from Buenos Aires. He's part of the whole - this digital cumbia scene that they have there, which is a mix of traditional music from Argentina and other cultures down there from the Southern Cone. And they mix it with everything from electronic music to hip-hop. This guy, he creates these beautiful and really thoughtful sound collages. I love his work. This new album is perfect from beginning to end. It's due out on September 23, and we're going to give you a sneak preview of a track called "Tarocchi."


CONTRERAS: Can you hear why like that? I mean, there's, like, there's underlying rhythms. There's traditional music there, but he has this very unique way of applying all of this technology it to make it sound, like, otherworldly. Like something you know, but you don't know.


WERTHEIMER: Jasmine Garsd and Felix Contreras are the hosts of NPR Music's Alt Latino podcast. You can find the show at npr.org/altlatino. Look for them on social media. They are Alt Latino on Twitter and on Facebook. Guys, thank you so much for this.

CONTRERAS: Oh, thanks, as always.

GARSD: Thank you so much, Linda.


WERTHEIMER: This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Linda Wertheimer. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.