South America has always participated in the Latin music industry (with Brazil's position a bit more ambiguous, depending on the year and what's going on in Brazilian music at the time). After all, some of the genre's biggest stars come from Latin America's more southerly regions (ever heard of a singer named Juanes? Or Shakira?). But in 2012, artists from South America seemed to drive much of the most fascinating innovations happening in Latin music.
Celebrated and game-changing Chilean hip-hop emcee Ana Tijoux dropper her fiery second album, while her countrymen, such as Astro, were busy shaking up indie electro-pop. Meanwhile, Argentina cultivated an electronic music scene so hot it warranted its own comp (the rich Future Sounds of Buenos Aires), featuring the talents of artists/DJs/producers like electro-folklorico whiz kid Mati Zundel. Uruguay got in on the electro/indie action with contributions from the likes of the Campo project from Juan Campodónico (of Bajofondo) and Latin Grammy nominee Ulises Hadjis; there was also Novalima's neo-Afro-Peruvian club grooves and Bomba Estereo's latest electro-cumbia effort. Then there was Brazil, whose position in the industry was a whole lot less ambiguous this year, thanks to a little song called "Ai Se Eu Te Pego." You may have heard it or seen a YouTube video (or 30) of it?