Alt-Folklorico y Más: Latin's Outer Fringes
by Rachel Devitt | October 25, 2011
Over the last decade or so, many Latin artists have carved out a new style by stitching indie rock, hip-hop, electronic and pop together with folk and traditional music to create a sonic tapestry that's at once comfortably familiar and chicly cutting-edge. New York outfit Pistolera call their indie-rocking brand "alt-folklorico." But fashionable innovators have sketched out similar models in a diverse range of genres, from the urban-regional movement in Latin hip-hop to the folk electronico crafted by knob-twiddlers like Mexican Institute of Sound. One of the genre's founding mothers is Lila Downs, who has made a career of digging into her Mexican heritage to create nueva ranchera, neo-norteño and other kinds of rich, rootsy pop. Her latest album, Pecados y Milagros, is redolent with the homey accordions, sweeping strings, warm brass and dramatic vocals of regional Mexican music but with indie-pop twists. Dig into the new roots Downs and other artists are putting down with our alt-folklorico playlist.