The ‘CounterCulture’ of the Latin Alternative Music Conference

Image via Latin Recap.

My first time at the Latin Alternative Music Conference was enlightening.

I’ve always liked music that falls into this category, and it’s interesting to see it evolve. Where years ago this conference would have filled with Rock en español, this year’s artists encompass a variety of genres: electronic, indie pop and so on. NYC-based writer Marlon Bishop explains more about that here.

And, as the Associated Press’ Laura Wides Munoz explains in this piece, “alternative Latin musicians, some of whom have fan bases back home, are finding new audiences in the United States thanks in part to that online scene and the growth of second generation Latino audiences.” This only points to more growth in this area.

The panel discussions were enlightening. Calle 13’s Residente and Visitante discussed politics, religion and how Latin America on a whole inspires their music. They weren’t shy about throwing digs at tropical, urban radio stations, who play “music with botox” and the same artists, over and over again.

The LAMC press room was a flurry of activity on day one, with artists from Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Panama via Oakland and more chatted with journalists from all over. It was nice to see so many Latin American focused outlets in one place, especially since many of them no longer limit their interviews to Spanish-language only, something I find to be challenging when pitching Outernational.

The radio panel, featuring my Fordham colleague Rita Houston from WFUV, was informative and I loved that during the audience Q & A, artists from the States, Costa Rica, and Colombia asked how to overcome the radio hurdle. Most of the experts agreed: find your niche, send your music to college radio and just get your music out there to the people any which way you can.

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(Above: Residente & Visitante of Calle 13, Tego Calderon, Raka Dun and Raka Rich of Los Rakas and Miles Solay & Leo Mintek of Outernational. All pics by me.)

The four-day conference continued today with panel discussions on how to make that number one hit and a free concert by Calle 13 and Ana Tijoux for Celebrate Brooklyn! this evening at the Prospect Park bandshell.

I’ll have a couple of posts about LAMC coming out soon in Sounds and Colours so stay tuned.

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