Beat Latino

hosted and produced by Catalina Maria Johnson, a Chicago-based music journalist

Beat Latino celebrates in every hour a different facet of the extraordinary diversity of the Latin musical universe. From traditional, roots music to the most cutting-edge avant garde, Beat Latino shares the best of Latin music with you! Each week, Beat Latino explores a topic of cultural significance through our music - holidays, immigration, genres and rhythms from different countries, life, family, love - everything Latinos have sung about past, present and future. Beat Latino is presented in Spanish and English.

Cada edición de Beat Latino celebra una diferente faceta del presente, pasado y futuro de la extraordinaria diversidad del universo musical latino - desde ritmos y melodías raíz tradicionales hasta la música de último momento y de vanguardia - ¡lo mejor de lo mejor de la música latina! A través de la música, en el programa de Beat Latino exploramos en cada hora un tema de importancia cultural, por ejemplo, días festivos, la inmigración, diversos géneros y países, la vida, la familia y el amor - ¡todos los temas sobre los cuales cantamos los latinos! Catalina Maria Johnson les invita a sintonizar Beat Latino, cuya presentación es en inglés y en español.




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Photograph: Catalina Maria Johnson

Beat Latino on | 17.05.2014

This week Beat Latino takes a trip to deep in the heart of Texas, to Austin where the Pachanga Latino Music Festival has taken place annually for seven years.

This year's line-up was truly amazing! As founder Rich Garza has noted, the festival is a state of the union of Latino music today, and in one day, we had a chance to see La Vida Boheme from Venezuela, Niña Dioz and El Gran Silencio from Monterrey, Nuevo León, Making Movies from Kansas City, and much more --- Latino music from both sides of the border and Latin America!

Come enjoy the pachanga with us at Fiesta Gardens at the Pachanga Music Festival in Austin!






content of recent radioshows:


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Cover of "up.rooted", Gina Chávez' new album

Beat Latino on | 05.04.2014

This week, Beat Latino shares new Latino music from around the globe- whether in Colombia, San Francisco, Brooklyn or Cuba, Latinos continue to amaze us as they explore what it means to musically express our shared cultural legacy.

Ani Cordero revisits Latin American music from the XX century that marked social and political transitions: Cuban Alfredo Rodriguez takes on a classic tango giving it a jazzy new dress; London-based Cineplexx spins dreamy soundscapes with fellow-Argentinean Natalia Clavier's help. It's an indefinable, indescribable, always surprising hour of sounds - just like us. Enjoy!






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Photo: Alika by Catalina Maria Johnson

Beat Latino on | 22.03.2014

Here's a special edition of Beat Latino dedicated to SXSW 2014 music! It was truly a year to remember at the acclaimed Austin, Texas festival. SXSW may have gone too corporate and Lady Gaga for some folks, but the 5 day music-avaganza is still for Beat Latino a unique opportunity to discover and savor indie sounds of every kind and beat from all over Latin America, the Latino U.S.A. and Spain as well as Brazil. Enjoy!







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Beat Latino on | 01.03.2014

The month of February marks the 50th anniversary of the Beatles first stepping foot on this side of the Altantic, and this weeks Beat Latino celebrates the Fab 4's effect on music and the world. From mariachi to bossa to rock en español, the Beatles' tunes adapted to almost any musical context it seems, evidence of the qualities that have made the Liverpool lads the legends they are until today. Enjoy this magical Latin Mystery Tour!



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Beat Latino on | 08.02.2014

This week's Beat Latino explores songs from the past and present that speak to who we are. How do we identify ourselves? Who tells our story? Where do we say we come from? So, here's a special selection from all over the Americas that sings about a few possibilities. We have expressed regional pride (Soy de Durango), sung of our immigrant status (Emigrante Latino), our mestizo heritage (Soy Mexicoamericano), our shared heritage with others (Soy latino) and much, much more. And we end the show with a question - ¿Quíen Soy? Who am I?

Here's to telling your own story, in words and songs of your own choice! And of course, dance all the while doing so! Enjoy!



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Beat Latino on | 01.02.2014

This special edition of Beat Latino pays homage to the infinite ways in which as a committed human being, a musician and an activist, Pete Seeger transformed our world in his 94 years of lifetime. He was well aware of many of the political mishaps in our Americas, and to remedy that, in addition to concrete actions, he sang many of our songs in Spanish. Rest in peace, Maestro.







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photo: Aruán Ortiz

Beat Latino on | 25.01.2014



This week's Beat Latino goes to New York City, to bring you the sounds of APAP 2104 (The American Association of Art's Presenters annual conference) a frantic, frenzied and amazing 5 days or so of amongst other things, lots and lots of music. From Winter Jazzfest to globalFest to showcases galore, it's a wonderful way to take the musical pulse of things to come. Enjoy!




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Beat Latino on | 11.01.2014

Here in Chicago, it's been about the Polar Vortex! So in honor of snow, cold and things related, this week's Beat Latino takes you to the hot, hot side of snow - whether it's songs about cold hearts, ice cream and snowy, icy things, here are some melodies to warm your heart in wintertime!







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Beat Latino on | 04.01.2014

Nuestra música had an amazing year in 2014, whether the beats were traditional or avant-garde, Latino artists on the side of every border created music to warm our souls, lift our spirits, transport us to beautiful soundscapes or simply set our bodies dancing! Beat Latino this week shares just a taste of the wild ride we had and will continue to have in the near future as our music continues to surprise with #latinpsychedelia #cumbiaforever #Perurediscovered #Ecuadorrising #Argentineansoundscapes #womenwild #bilingualbilingüe #punkhardsalsa #UKfusions




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Beat Latino on | 28.12.2013

Our 2013 recap, part 1, is all about the musical feminine- no doubt, it was a Beat Latino year for the ladies! Divine, fierce, wild and wonderful - their voices soared, rapping and rhyming, crooning, sighing, lamenting, celebrating in song...we really loved the amazing music the chicas malas and mujeres divinas brought to our lives in 2013. ¡En el 2013, las chicas rifaron!






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Beat Latino on | 21.12.2013

It's the Beat Latino Christmas special! There just seems to be no end of songs we create about Christmas, whether it's the celebrating and other traditions, or the month of December, or just our unique stamp on the classics. There's a little bit of all of that and more, in this year's Beat Latino Navidad special. So, sit back and let the music transport you to new places for the holidays...Whether it's the soaring, smoky voice of Guatemala's Gaby Moreno in an austere and elegant version of the Little Drummer Boy, the soulful twang of David Garza's guitar in a rich, textured version of Silent Night, Puerto Rican cuatro masters such as Yomo Toro or even a rockabilly rockin' Christmas tune from Argentina - there's something for all kinds of celebrations. Here's wishing you a wonderful holiday season!



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Beat Latino on | 14.12.2013

What really defines us as Latinos? And what defines our music? That can be a difficult question to answer, but that's a very good thing. A recap of some recently created music truly defies categorizing! So we start this Beat Latino with Spanish rockeros Jarabe de Palo "Somos"--We are--and what we are includes: jazzy punked-up cumbia from Belgium via Colombia (La Chiva Gantiva), psychedelic salsa from Brooklyn via Peru and Latin America (La Mecánica Popular), U.K.-based Wara delivering cosmopolitan Cuban-riffs propelled by a Nigerian-Argentinean vocalist, beautifully lyrical indigenous-flavored jazz from a Colombian-U.S. bassist known as Snow Owl--all of this, and more. Enjoy!



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Beat Latino on | 07.12.2013

 It was a wonderful year for fierce women in the indie and alternative Latin and Latino music, and the Latin Grammy's were evidence of it all! From "Best Alternative Album" winner Natalia Lafourcade to "Best Urban Album" for Mala Rodriguez to awesome nominees like Afro-flamenca Buika and Colombian hip songstress Andrea Echeverri - Beat Latino's edition this week rounds them all up for you, along with other amazing tunes such as winners for "Best Instrumental Album" Bajofondo (pictured), for this year's Latin Grammy Recap. Enjoy!







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Beat Latino on | 30.11.2013


It's Thanksgiving Weekend, and this week's Beat Latino is all about saying "gracias", and the tunes that thanks love, life, family, the fans, music and more! And mil gracias for listening to Beat Latino! I am thankful to get to share the music with you!







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Beat Latino on | 16.11.2013

This special hour of Beat Latino brings a full spectrum of freedom songs - ballads, salsa, rock en español and hip hop that speaks to a wide variety of society´s situations that need to be addressed: war, violence, revolution, poverty, homeless children and unfortunately, even more - from a history which includes poet activists suffering for their words and songs, to our present day rappers and rockers that comment on violence in our communities, Latinos have been singing freedom songs for a long time.

Nevertheless, the music is hopeful and even danceable - cause even a Revolution needs to find its rhythms! So sing and dance your way to a better world!


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Beat Latino on | 09.11.2013

Back to Cardiff, Wales, again for another special episode of Beat Latino, taped live at Womex 13. This week we visit with Lokkhi Terra, a U.K.-based ensemble that mashes up Bangladeshi beats with Cuban grooves; members of Flamenco Eléctrico who drive traditional Spanish rhythms into a 21st century format, and a maestro who has spent 44 years putting the world to dance to Cuban rhythms- Juan Formell from Los Van Van, Womex 13 Artist Award! Enjoy!





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Beat Latino on | 05.10.2013

What is it about Autumn that makes it such a special time? There's a chill in the air, the leaves begin to fall, and it seems to be a time to remember days and loves gone by. This hour of Beat Latino is a musical tribute to that time of year- a selection of tunes, from all over the America's and Spain to celebrate Otoño - enjoy Beat Latino's Autumn Song!






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Beat Latino on | 28.09.2013

Why do we like sad music? There was even an article in the New York Times recently as to this mystery of feeling better after listening to sad music. So, this week it's time to sing those blues away on Beat Latino! What better way to get rid of sadness than to sing and dance about it? It's a show with songs that say "hola, sadness" but that becomes an "adios, sadness" on Beat Latino!






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Beat Latino on | 21.09.2013

This week is a very special edition of Beat Latino, a homage to the eternal spirit of art, the power music and its possibility to transform society. Forty years ago, Chile was plunged into decades of dictatorship in a military coup that also took poet activist and singer/songwriter Victor Jara's life. This week's Beat Latino is a musical tribute to Victor Jara and the enduring spirit of Chile's music, which has emerged from those dark times. ¡Viva Victor Jara! !Viva Chile! And long live Chilean music!