Billboard asked me to identify ten artists from ten countries who people should know about. Of course my picks were only a sampling of the worthy musicians from the Spanish-speaking world. and they include some of my personal current favorites.
Calle 13's "Respire el Momento" is ESPN's theme for the 2015 Pan American Games. I caught up with Residente to talk about sports, raising little boys, and living in Brooklyn.
People are geting crazy for Cuban music again, but Gilles Peterson's Havana Cultura record series is still not as well known as it should be. Daymé's "El Ruso" and "Cry Me a River" have made it into a few of my playlists already.
Just in time for the final dates of the Buena Vista project's last tour, World Circuit puts out an album of live performances and outakes from the original recording sessions in Havana's Egrem studios (the shrine to Cuban music once known as Panart).
I'm looking forward to going back to Sonar this June in the city that's now my hometown - Barcelona. Meanwhile, the electronic culture fest folks have announced new festivals in a couple of my other favorite cities.
I love everything about his project: the concept, the people involved, the execution. Simple, passionate and effective music activism. I wrote about it for Billboard, and I'll be giving this album as gifts this year to support bird conservation and spread the word about Chancho Via Circuito and other artists who should be better known.
"There are a lot of shared feelings in Mexican music and Moz songs, so we thought it was a fantastic idea," Camilo Lara says. "We Mexicans like to suffer and make people suffer. Melodrama, irony, sarcasm -- we share those with Morrissey. If Mexico's top pop art form are the telenovelas, you can see why Mexicans love Morrissey." This I would like to hear!
Spoti, Napster and other streaming services achieve what everyone said was impossible: making Spaniards pay for digital music! I reported the news in Billboard.
Despite the recent hype about the U.S. in Cuba, not much has changed when it comes to music and the embargo regulations. Meaning that bands still can't cash in from concerts there. THis story in Billboard is the latest in my continuing coverage of the subject.
The news that the U.S. and Cuba were restoring relations seemed unreal for all of the artists who had through so many years opened the road for it to happen. And for me: I've been covering U.S.-Cuba cultural relations since 1993. When the news of detente broke, I wrote this story for Billboard about how political actions could impact artists in both countries.
President Obama’s announced changes in current Cuba policy may increase Cuban artists’ presence on U.S. stages, or maybe even, eventually, on the charts. Or they may not. What is clear is that if you don’t know these artists from Cuba, the time is now.
A look at the ups and downs of U.S. and Cuba’s musical relationship over the past five decades traces politics’ influence on art while revealing artistic triumphs, personal tragedies and the diplomatic power of music.
I contacted Joe when I saw he'd produced No Te Va Gustar's latest album. Then I learned why classic albums by Charly Garcia, Andres Calamaro and others sounded so good!
After Cerati's death in September I was thinking not only about his music but about my own years as a young journalist in Buenos Aires. At year's end, I wrote this personal tribute.