Felix Contreras

Felix Contreras is co-creator and host of Alt.Latino, NPR's pioneering program about Latin Alternative music and Latino culture. It features music as well as interviews with many of the most well-known Latinx musicians, actors, filmmakers, and writers. He has hosted and produced Alt.Latino episodes from Mexico, Colombia, Cuba, and throughout the U.S. since the show started in 2010.

Previously, Contreras was a reporter and producer NPR's Arts Desk and, among other stories and projects, covered a series reported from Mexico on the musical movement called Latin Alternative; helped produce NPR's award-winning series 50 Great Voices; and reported a series of stories on the financial challenges aging jazz musicians face.

Contreras is a recovering television journalist who has worked for both NBC and Univision in Miami and California. He's a part-time musician who plays Afro-Cuban percussion with various jazz and Latin bands in the Washington, DC, area. He is also NPR Music's resident Deadhead.

The Alt.Latino Interview Archive is currently housed at a secret location just off Avenida de La Independencia in downtown Tijuana. I dispatched a courier to pick up two interviews that were recorded recently, so I could offer this mid-summer gift to you, an Alt.Latino Podcast Extra.

This week we present two artists with albums that deserve much more attention and discussion.

For our monthly visit with Weekend Edition, the native language is jazz as we move around the Spanish-speaking world in search of new music from voices both new and long-beloved.

Updated at 9:34 p.m. ET Saturday

João Gilberto, one of the principal architects of the Brazilian musical style bossa nova, has died at his home in Rio de Janeiro, according to a Facebook post by his son. João Marcelo Gilberto wrote that his father, who was 88 years old, died following an undisclosed illness.

This week on Alt.Latino's Spotify and Apple Music playlists: Cuco announces his new album, Para Mi, with some "Feelings" and Bad Bunny sings a bolero (under his birth name) for fathers.


When Carlos Santana was asked on this week's Alt.Latino where the new album fits into his legendary career, he compared it to the lamp on the top of the Statue of Liberty: it connects directly to the inspirations of the very first album released 50 years ago. The common denominator, he says, is reflected in the album's title, Africa Speaks.

This week on Alt.Latino's Spotify and Apple playlists (now celebrating one year!): a pioneering Puerto Rican punk band re-emerges and R&B continues to influence musicians from throughout Latin America.


We cast our net very wide this week and bring music to both get you onto the dance floor and do a bit of self reflection.


There is a quiet Latinx revolution going on in television drama these days. Well, maybe not so quiet. But the status quo is definitely being shaken up.

This week, new music came in from the around the globe and it settled on our weekly playlist. And as you would expect, they are stylistically all over, but in a very good way. Buenos Aires, Havana, Mexico City and Santo Domingo are all represented, with the sounds of folk, reggae, pop and Cuban guaguancó.

Dig in and enjoy!


Haydée Milanés, "Identidád (feat. Ibeyí)"

It's been a fascinating journey following the trajectory of Rodrigo y Gabriela as they rose from self-imposed exile from their native Mexico on the streets of Dublin to international acclaim and admiration.

All with just two acoustic guitars.

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