On today's episode of Latin Roots, NPR's Felix Contreras returns to discuss the Latin Alternative music of the 1970s. Contreras is a connoisseur of Latin music who hosts NPR's Alt.Latino, reports on jazz, world music and Latin culture for NPR's Arts Desk, and plays in several Latin and jazz bands. Here, Contreras describes how politics in the 1970s influenced Latin music of the era.
The English group Band of Skulls makes music that recalls The Black Keys and The Kills' heavy, distorted, guitar-driven rock. On its 2009 debut, Baby Darling Doll Face Honey, Band of Skulls proved it could own several styles of classic rock. But the follow-up, Sweet Sour, is comparatively airtight — and has already hit the U.K. charts.
British artist Jasmine van den Bogaerde — better known as Birdy — is probably best known for her 2011 cover of Bon Iver's "Skinny Love." The 15-year-old started playing piano at 5, began composing a few years later and won the Open Mic UK competition in 2008 at the age of 12. The win guaranteed the young artist a recording contract, but before releasing her debut, she'd already scored a spot on the U.K. pop chart with her cover of "Skinny Love," making Birdy a household name in the U.K.
Canadian singer-songwriter Kathleen Edwards is enjoying a huge career boost with her new fourth album, Voyageur. Produced in part by Justin Vernon of Bon Iver, Voyageur sounds deeply personal and genuine: Edwards sings of failed marriages, life in the spotlight and the delicate happiness that comes with new beginnings.