Did you know it’s Hispanic Heritage Month? The period from September 15th to October 15th is dedicated to elevating Latinx identities, in culture and especially in music. Overshadowed yet resilient, Latinx artists and their music lack discoverability on streaming platforms compared to their American counterparts. When searching for Latin or Hispanic music, it’s difficult to come across genre variety; it’s even more challenging to find artists representing more than just three Latin countries. To combat this, World Cafe started a segment on the first day of the month-long celebration called 21 Days of Musica Latina. Every weekday throughout Hispanic Heritage Month, World Cafe is sharing playlists highlighting the musical heritage of a different Latin American country. You can follow these playlists at World Cafe’s Latin Roots page; so far, we’ve gotten the cultural richness of Argentina, Ecuador, Paraguay, Costa Rica, Venezuela, Mexico, Haiti, Bolivia, Honduras, Uruguay, Cuba and more in the form of a playlist that weaves the ancestral with the contemporary.
“I wanted to do something special for Hispanic Heritage Month that highlighted just how diverse music in Latin America really is,” says World Cafe producer Miguel Perez, who is spearheading the project. “Putting these mixes together has been an incredible exercise in musical discovery for me personally, and I hope that people who tune in learn as much as I have about all of the different stories, styles and rhythms that have come out of Latin America.”
With a week left to celebrate, there is a lot to look ahead to, as well as a lot to catch up on, so here’s an overview to make it easier. Hispanic Heritage Month commenced on September 15, beginning in the southernmost part of South America, we had Argentina kick the segment off.
Bridging The Traditional and Modern
In Argentina, the robust legacy of rock resonates deeply. With influential figures like Gustavo Cerati and Luis Alberto Spinetta, World Cafe’s Argentine playlist honors the varied forms of Argentinian rock — classic, alternative, and indie — embellished with contemporary electronic and experimental pop. “La Muralla Verde” by Los Enanitos Verdes is a particular song on the playlist that is rich in tradition, invoking nostalgia and demonstrating the enduring appeal of rock in Argentina’s musical soul.
Neighboring nations echo with their distinct melodies. Ecuador’s playlist serenades listeners with the melancholy pasillo, a down-tempo style of music played on guitar and a rondador — which you can find carved by hand at the artisan markets. The sentimental and poetic lyrics of pasillo continue to echo through the nation’s highlands and valleys, while alternative/indie tracks like Paola Navarrete’s “Van a Construir al Lado” are blowing up and Reggaeton tracks, like Neoma’s “Lento” play at the discotecas. Ecuador’s playlist features the traditional and the modern sides of the music scene.