By Ernesto Lechner

As I was getting ready to write a few words welcoming friends of The Latin Alternative to our new blog, I started thinking about the specific qualities that make Latin Alternative music such a unique genre.

I’ve been writing about Latin music for years, covering everything from samba and merengue to cumbia and banda sinaloense.  Latin Alternative is especially compelling to me because it represents the exhilaration of freedom:  freedom to experiment with an endless array of musical formats, freedom in the content and form of lyrics and rhymes, freedom to use the wonders of technology in the music making process – but also to fall back into the comfort of retro sensibilities.  The sky’s the limit.

During the next few months, it will be my pleasure to share some great Latin songs on this blog.  To remember old masters that should never be forgotten, and follow the development of new trends and sounds.  Needless to say, all comments and opinions are always welcome.

To begin with, I’m posting three songs that represent three distinct aspects of the Latin Alternative that have always fascinated me.  First, its close connection to Afro-Caribbean music. Second, the desire to reinvent venerable folk genres from all over Latin America.  Third, its uncanny ability to evoke beautiful nocturnal moods.

Bienvenidos.

Mongo Santamaria – “O Mi Chango”

ChocQuibTown – “De Donde Vengo Yo”

Gustavo Cerati – “Balsa”