Music

Various: The Rough Guide to Latino Nuevo

Music that is "exciting, innovative" and identifiably Latino.


Various Artists

The Rough Guide to Latino Nuevo

Label: World Music Network
US Release Date: 2007-08-14
UK Release Date: 2007-08-20
Amazon
iTunes

The Rough Guides have been going nuts with the Latin stuff. In two months they've popped out three compilations, Salsa Clandestina, Latino Nuevo, and Latin Funk, one after the other, the whole lot compiled by Pablo Yglesias, an American DJ who sounds like a busy man. (He curates art exhibitions! He writes! He percusses!) Some of the musicians manage to be on two or three things at once. Bakú, The Spam Allstars, and Ozomatli are Funk, Salsa, and Nuevo. Cuban Cowboys and Alex Wilson are Nuevo and Salsa but miss out on the trifecta by not being sufficiently Funky. Los Amigos Invisibles are both S. and F. but not N. Etc.

The compilation we're looking at here is the most general of the three. Its goal is to introduce us to music that is "exciting, innovative" and identifiably Latino (in that it has salsa trumpets or songo beats, say, to go with its more geographically unplaceable rock guitars or fusion remixes) and in this it succeeds. We move from laid-back José Conde y Ola Fresca and "Ride la Ola" to the faster sound of Cuban Cowboys and "Jardin de la Verdad", then power down to the happy backbeat-and-panpipes lounge of Hector Buitrago's "Música Somos" and take off again with Rico Pabón whose rap "Lay Em Down" is the most sombre track on the album. Some of the bands have reputations preceding them; others are new. It feels like a studio-polished mixtape, and, as with any mixtape, you'll possibly like some things a lot and others not quite so much. (For the record, I liked Cuban Cowboys a lot, Welfare Poets less, and was disappointed by the Yerba Buena track only because I've heard other songs from this band that I preferred.)

7

To be a migrant worker in America is to relearn the basic skills of living. Imagine doing that in your 60s and 70s, when you thought you'd be retired.


Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century

Publisher: W. W. Norton
Author: Jessica Bruder
Publication date: 2017-09
Amazon

There's been much hand-wringing over the state of the American economy in recent years. After the 2008 financial crisis upended middle-class families, we now live with regular media reports of recovery and growth -- as well as rising inequality and decreased social mobility. We ponder what kind of future we're creating for our children, while generally failing to consider who has already fallen between the gaps.

Keep reading... Show less
7

Very few of their peers surpass Eurythmics in terms of artistic vision, musicianship, songwriting, and creative audacity. This is the history of the seminal new wave group

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominating committee's yearly announcement of the latest batch of potential inductees always generates the same reaction: a combination of sputtering outrage by fans of those deserving artists who've been shunned, and jubilation by fans of those who made the cut. The annual debate over the list of nominees is as inevitable as the announcement itself.

Keep reading... Show less

Barry Lyndon suggests that all violence—wars, duels, boxing, and the like—is nothing more than subterfuge for masculine insecurities and romantic adolescent notions, which in many ways come down to one and the same thing.

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) crystalizes a rather nocturnal view of heterosexual, white masculinity that pervades much of Stanley Kubrick's films: after slithering from the primordial slime, we jockey for position in ceaseless turf wars over land, money, and women. Those wielding the largest bone/weapon claim the spoils. Despite our self-delusions about transcending our simian stirrings through our advanced technology and knowledge, we remain mired in our ancestral origins of brute force and domination—brilliantly condensed by Kubrick in one of the most famous cuts in cinematic history: a twirling bone ascends into the air only to cut to a graphic match of a space station. Ancient and modern technology collapse into a common denominator of possession, violence, and war.

Keep reading... Show less
10

From Haircut 100 to his own modern pop stylings, Nick Heyward is loving this new phase of his career, experimenting with genre with the giddy glee of a true pop music nerd.

In 1982, Nick Heyward was a major star in the UK.

As the leader of pop sensations Haircut 100, he found himself loved by every teenage girl in the land. It's easy to see why, as Haircut 100 were a group of chaps so wholesome, they could have stepped from the pages of Lisa Simpson's "Non-Threatening Boys" magazine. They resembled a Benetton knitwear advert and played a type of quirky, pop-funk that propelled them into every transistor radio in Great Britain.

Keep reading... Show less

This book offers a poignant and jarring reminder not just of the resilience of the human spirit, but also of its ability to seek solace in the materiality of one's present.

Marcelino Truong launched his autobiographical account of growing up in Saigon during the Vietnam War with the acclaimed graphic novel Such a Lovely Little War: Saigon 1961-63, originally published in French in 2012 and in English translation in 2016. That book concluded with his family's permanent relocation to London, England, as the chaos and bloodshed back home intensified.

Now Truong continues the tale with Saigon Calling: London 1963-75 (originally published in French in 2015), which follows the experiences of his family after they seek refuge in Europe. It offers a poignant illustration of what life was like for a family of refugees from the war, and from the perspective of young children (granted, Truong's family were a privileged and upper class set of refugees, well-connected with South Vietnamese and European elites). While relatives and friends struggle to survive amid the bombs and street warfare of Vietnam, the displaced narrator and his siblings find their attention consumed by the latest fashion and music trends in London. The book offers a poignant and jarring reminder not just of the resilience of the human spirit, but also of its ability to seek solace in the materiality of one's present.

Keep reading... Show less
8
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 Popmatters.com. All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.

rating-image