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by Monika Fabian

October 17, 2013

Latin Alternative 101

by Monika Fabian  |  October 17, 2013

Chances are you're already familiar with Latin alternative music and you don't even know it. For instance, Richie Valens' 1958 rock classic "La Bamba" is one of the earliest examples of the genre; same goes for Santana's cover of Tito Puente's "Oye Como Va." And Los Lobos? They're practically the godfathers of stateside Latin alternative music!

Essentially, Latin alternative is a catch-all genre for experimental and fusion sounds created by the mixing, remixing or pastiche of traditional Latin American melodies, instrumentation or rhythms with rock, hip-hop, blues, electro-pop, ska and more sung in English, Spanish or both. In commercial terms, Latin alternative is also record company-speak for the acts and subgenres that resist more traditional Latin music categorization and radio formats.

In the U.S., Latin alternative is usually created by musicians with strong ties to Latin American music and culture -- often immigrants from the region, or their children -- and who have a deep connection to stateside culture and sounds. It's a rich hybrid with endless permutations. Latin alternative music has a deep and storied history in Latin America too, but we've dedicated this playlist to the artists who call the 50 states "casa." Have a listen and get familiar with the bands that form this vast and diverse genre.

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