[10 Jun 2014 ]
A Catalan Singer With Many Brave And Treacherous Stories To Tell

For Spanish singer Silvia Perez Cruz, stories are everything.
“Style is not what matters to me, but the result,” she says through a translator. “The song has to have a story that I believe in and I can make my own. I think I have that influence from my mother. My mother is a good storyteller, and she’s always believed that songs are stories.”
Cruz’s own story is pretty remarkable. The 31-year-old is a classically trained singer from Catalonia. She studied piano and classical saxophone, and has a degree in vocal jazz.
While …

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[10 Jun 2014 ]

Brazilians have dozens of Futebol songs, addressing every aspect of the Jogo Bonito, the beautiful game, the World Cup. I want to share three of them with you.
The first is from one of my favorite Brazilian singer-songwriters, Chico Buarque. His love for the game is well-known: there’s even a documentary about it called “O Futebol,” which is also the name of the song. It’s an homage to Brazilian soccer.
In this samba, Chico Buarque equates the craft of a soccer player with that of a composer and a painter, looking for the perfect moment to create …

Global Village, NPR »

[10 Jun 2014 ]
Balkan Brass Band Favorites From ‘Global Village’

World-music DJ Betto Arcos returns to weekends on All Things Considered to share the music he’s been playing on Global Village, the show he hosts on KPFK in Los Angeles. This week, Arcos brings four different takes on the Balkan brass band. From a mashup of funk and jazz out of Brooklyn to fun and funky circus music from the Oaxaca Mountains, Arcos’ picks span the globe. Hear his conversation with host Arun Rath at the audio link.
Four Takes On The Balkan Brass Band
Slavic Soul Party!, ‘Brasslands’

Artist: Various Artists
Album: Brasslands: A Motion Picture Soundtrack

Swing Sagarese

Artist: Adrian …

PRI's The World »

[10 Jun 2014 ]
This Cumbia band plays covers of the Sex Pistols — in Mexican wrestler masks

When the band El Conjunto Nueva Ola first got together in Mexico City in 2000, lead singer Urbano Lopez says things didn’t quite gel at first.
“We tried to do rock music, but we couldn’t have the rhythm right. So we gave up and decided to play Cumbia,” he says.
And that, Lopez says, was one of the smartest decisions they made — along with moving to the Los Angeles area a few years ago.
“We know that Cumbia is a rhythm that is played from La Patagonia to Los Angeles now, so in every …

PRI's The World »

[10 Jun 2014 ]
Which came first? Mexico’s famous drink, or the town that distills it?

Was the Mexican town of Tequila named after the Mexican drink or the drink named after the town?
To get the answer, Betto Arcos visited La Tequileña located in the town of Tequila. It’s one of the oldest distilleries in Mexico.
That’s where he found Sergio Mendoza, who says he comes from “a family of four generations dedicated to the business of cultivating the agave plant, the raw material for the production of this amazing spirit, tequila. It is a well-known fact that the blue agave, the raw material for tequila, has been harvested and …

PRI's The World »

[10 Jun 2014 ]
Remembering Malik Bendjelloul, director of ‘Searching for the Sugar Man’

Malik Bendjelloul, a freelance filmmaker from Sweden who shot to fame almost overnight with his Oscar-winning documentary, “Searching for Sugar Man,” died Tuesday.
The documentary is about singer Sixto Rodriguez — a Detroit-based musician who never managed to become popular in the US, but was a superstar in South Africa, without knowing it.
Tuesday night, Malik Bendjelloul died at the age of 36.
Reporter Betto Arcos once met the filmmaker and asked what made this half-Algerian, half-Swedish 30-something become obsessed with a Mexican-American folk singer who never got his due?
“He was looking for …