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Latin Roots

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About Latin Roots

Latin Roots Live
The Latin Roots Live! concert series is inspired by Latin Roots, the bi-weekly radio series on World Cafe® hosted by David Dye, which explores the vast variety of music from Spanish-speaking countries and people, from cumbia, mambo and son to Latin rock, reggaeton, and more. Latin Roots on World Cafe is made possible by the Wyncote Foundation. Latin Roots Live! is produced in partnership with Afrotaino and Raices Culturales and made possible by the William Penn Foundation

Latin Roots Live!

Latin Roots Live XPN Welcomes the Mural Arts Open Source Block Party.
Join us for a neighborhood celebration with artists Keir Johnston and Ernel Martinez, which explores the intersection of the Latino and African American communities in North Philadelphia.
Music by CALMA CARMONA, DENDE & BAND, and DJ Rahsaan. Also enjoy treats from local shops, dance lessons, interactive art and more!

Latin Roots #35 - Cardenche

Latin Roots #35 - Cardenche by Jasmine Garsd

The a cappella style has a sense of urgency, like a physiological necessity for those who sing it. A naked person walks into a fancy gala. In a world of overproduced, painstakingly packaged and perfectly polished music, that's what it's like to hear Canto Cardenche — a completely a cappella style of Mexican music — for the first time.

It's one of the most stunning, honest and unpretentious forms of music I have ever encountered: The singer truly could not care less what you think about his song. For those who sing it, Canto Cardenche is simply a physiological necessity; the need to expel pain through song.

Indeed, the word "Cardenche" comes from a cactus plant whose thorn is even more painful upon removal than it is when it penetrates the body. But in spite of the pain, it can't remain stuck in there; it must come out, just as the Canto Cardenche has to come out.

Often sung in vocal groups of three, and accompanied by alcohol, it's a style that has always been passed from generation to generation in rural areas. It's also in danger of extinction. It is currently kept alive in the small northern Mexican town of Sapioriz, Durango, and by artists such as Lila Downs and Juan Pablo Villa, who recognize its simple beauty.

One of my favorite reinterpretations of Canto Cardenche is by Venezuelan DJ Algodon Egipcio. His rendition of "La Espina Del Cardenche" adds instrumentation to the traditionally a cappella music, but it's minimal and ethereal. Rather than sounding like a music track under vocals, it simply sounds like a man floating in the clouds, singing his heart out.

Latin Roots is made possible by a grant from the Wyncote Foundation.

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