Catalina Maria Johnson

International radio broadcaster, bilingual cultural journalist, music curator


Subscribe to BeatLatino on iTunes »

Recently, we witnessed a “blue” moon, which won’t come around again until 2015. So this hour of Beat Latino is all about “la luna” – songs from Spain, Chile, Argentina, Mexico, Cuba and more Latin lands that celebrate the moon as it waxes and wanes and witnesses our affairs of the heart.

Don’t know what it is about the moon that makes us so crazy. We even have a word for the affliction – ‘moonstruck’ – and as Latinos we have sung to the moon in every possible way. Here’s a few samples from the show, but you can get the full podcast on Itunes or the archives. A most sultry and romantic Beat Latino this time around! Enjoy!

This classic bolero, Luz de Luna (light of the moon)  is as romantic as that torch-song genre can get! And in the velvety voice of Guinean afro-flamenca Concha Buika, the tune soars and wraps around us like very few other versions.

Gotan Project, a renowned Paris-based trio from Argentina and France, takes their name from the Lunfardo slang for tango (the word spelled backwards). Their delicate, often literary and always electronic take on tango rhythms and melodies make them perfect music for moon-lovers. Their 2006 release, “Lunático”, named after a racehorse owned by the much beloved tango singer Carlos Gardel, samples that late singer’s voice on the title track. I’ll share Mi Confesión, another track from “Lunático”, because as we all know – confessing is best done by moonlight:

Here’s a bluesy ode to the moon by Los Cenzontles (whose name is Nahuatl for “mockingbirds”), the pioneering and activist  ensemble of folklóricos from California. They mix traditional Mexican instruments like the string instrument the jarana, and the quijada or jawbone with contemporary instruments like the electric bass to create a unique Xicano-roots sound.

¡Luna Negra! ¡Puro Veracruz! This particular jarocho tune (in the afro-Mexican genre that was born in Veracruz) is renowned because of its revolutionary lyrics by poet Arcadio Hidalgo from Veracruz as well as a flexible structure which admits even hip hop and has become a staple of protests on both sides of the border. It’s impossible not to be captured by the achingly beautiful melody that frames Hidalgo’s words that was created by Los Cojolites, a collective of musicians that also work and live together in Veracruz.

Visit Beat Latino on Facebook,  subscribe via Itunes, and check the playlist or download the podcast on the archives.


Comments are closed.