Felix Contreras

Here's a statistic for you: According to Fender Guitars, women now make up 50% of all entry-level players who buy their products.

Why am I sharing that?

The Dominican Republic has the historic distinction of being the landing spot of Christopher Columbus in 1492 after he sailed the ocean blue, but that European invasion set off a series of historical and social events that reverberate to this day.

The musical world is full stories of musical progeny who either embrace or struggle to get out from under their famous parents. Cuban vocalist Haydée Milanés walks around with one of the most famous names in all of Latin America.

The recent Latin Alternative Music Conference in NYC attracted musicians from around the Spanish-speaking world. Alt.Latino took advantage of the critical mass to grab interviews where and when we could.

The result is this Podcast Extra featuring three different bands from three different countries (and two continents) that represent as wide a span of music that you can imagine.

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Amid the most crucial political crisis to hit Puerto Rico in its modern history, three Puerto Rican musicians have released a protest song that is spreading across the island as fast a

The Alt.Latino Interview Archive is currently housed at a secret location just off Avenida de La Independencia in downtown Tijuana. I dispatched a courier to pick up two interviews that were recorded recently, so I could offer this mid-summer gift to you, an Alt.Latino Podcast Extra.

This week we present two artists with albums that deserve much more attention and discussion.

For our monthly visit with Weekend Edition, the native language is jazz as we move around the Spanish-speaking world in search of new music from voices both new and long-beloved.

Updated at 9:34 p.m. ET Saturday

João Gilberto, one of the principal architects of the Brazilian musical style bossa nova, has died at his home in Rio de Janeiro, according to a Facebook post by his son. João Marcelo Gilberto wrote that his father, who was 88 years old, died following an undisclosed illness.

When Carlos Santana was asked on this week's Alt.Latino where the new album fits into his legendary career, he compared it to the lamp on the top of the Statue of Liberty: it connects directly to the inspirations of the very first album released 50 years ago. The common denominator, he says, is reflected in the album's title, Africa Speaks.

There is a quiet Latinx revolution going on in television drama these days. Well, maybe not so quiet. But the status quo is definitely being shaken up.

The folks at the cable network Starz have just released the second season of the Latinx drama Vida, a pioneering production that pushes the boundaries of story telling and representation. The show presents the queer and straight Latinx community of the very real East Los Angeles community of Boyle Heights.

It's been a fascinating journey following the trajectory of Rodrigo y Gabriela as they rose from self-imposed exile from their native Mexico on the streets of Dublin to international acclaim and admiration.

All with just two acoustic guitars.

At this point, Lila Downs now has the kind of artistic stature among her fans that she has for the women she has celebrated throughout her career. She has always paid tribute to great voices and artist such as Chavela Vargas, Mercedes Sosa and even Joan Baez.

Personally, I like messages with my music. Some of my first experiences with music beyond the Top 40 format took place during the heat of the Vietnam War which became a high watermark for protest music in this country. It's how I discovered musicians like Bob Dylan and Joan Baez. Later on, the great voices of protest from Latin America became part of my playlist as songwriters began to speak out against poverty, inequality and racism.

Vocalist Angélique Kidjo is on another creative streak. As she has throughout her career, Kidjo has left little space between two musically rich releases that showcase her artistic bonafides. 2018's Remain In Light was a track by track re-imagining of the Talking Heads 1980 album of the same name.

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