Marisa Arbona-Ruiz

The latest stunner from La Santa Cecilia's visual album, Amar y Vivir, is "Ingrata," an interpretation of Café Tacvba, featuring Chilean pop star Mon Laferte.

If you took a snapshot of Latino demographics here in the U.S., you'd find substantial numbers in places most people wouldn't expect. In particular, the South has become a hotbed of new Latinx culture and artistic expression.

What does an artist do to follow up a critically and commercially successful album? The short-sighted might go for more of the same. But the truly innovative and visionary shed that success like a snake's skin and do something completely different.

That is the story behind Mexican vocalist Natalia Lafourcade's new album Musas. Music writer and Alt.Latino contributor Marisa Arbona-Ruiz had a heart-to-heart with the singer to talk about the motivations behind her new sound.

"Despacito" isn't the only catchy song of the summer that has people singing in Spanish. The Mexico City-based Chilean vocalist Mon Laferte has teamed up with Colombian superstar Juanes for the steamy single "Amárrame," whose video has lured nearly 60 million views on YouTube.

Note: NPR's First Listen audio comes down after the album is released. However, you can still listen with the Spotify or Apple Music playlist at the bottom of the page.


There should be fireworks named after this band, for all the intensity and color and life that bursts forth from Flor de Toloache.

Bring on the tequila for this one.

The Grammy-winning Mexican-American roots band La Santa Cecilia journeys into the heart of Mexico for what might be its greatest adventure yet: recording a gorgeous new visual album, Amar Y Vivir. Ditching the studio to record at 12 different locations in and around Mexico City, the band captures the spirit of the music in its natural habitat. Its members pay tribute to Mexican culture with the traditional sounds of boleros and rancheras, while subtly blending their American influences into the songs.

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