New year, new playlist. Each week, Alt.Latino brings you top hits and hidden gems from the Latin music world. So far, 2019 has brought a new Ozuna hit, an episode from Locos por Juana's Postcards of Miami series and Juan Wauters singing entirely en español for the first time. Brazilian rock group Tagua Tagua makes an appearance and Ceci Bastida remakes "Pretty In Pink" into "Bella En Rosa."
This playlist (which you can listen to at the bottom of this page) is part of a series of NPR Music's favorite Latin songs, updated weekly on Spotify. Catch our weekly thoughts and hot takes here.
Ozuna, "Baila Baila Baila"
Ozuna had one hell of a 2018, with his second album Aura spending 19 weeks on the Billboard 200 and providing a motley of infectious and musically diverse singles. Not one to miss a beat, the Puerto Rican-Dominican chart resident gave us "Baila Baila Baila" in the first week of 2019 ahead of his yet-untitled (Nibiru?) third album. The solo dancehall track is a textbook dancefloor story with basic dancehall dressery, the track "One Dance" wished to be. Already at 6.5 million views on YouTube just four days after its release on Three Kings Day, the Nuno Gomes-directed video is hard proof of the real estate Ozuna owns on streaming platforms, bearing gifts of romance and perreo in space. — Stefanie Fernández
Locos Por Juana, "Tik, Tok"
How did I miss this?! Miami's favorite sons have been producing these cool Postcards of Miami videos and the latest was released just before Christmas. The eternal South Florida sunshine shines brightly in this episode's acoustic, guitar-driven groove replicating the seconds that tick by on a clock.
This is episode 10. Collect the entire run. Locos por Juana will never disappoint. —Felix Contreras
Juan Wauters, "Blues Chilango"
Back in November, Queens-based Uruguayan songwriter Juan Wauters (formerly of The Beets) announced his newest solo album, La Onda de Juan Pablo, a musical project recorded on a trip through the Caribbean and Latin America — in Mexico, Puerto Rico, Peru, Chile, Argentina and his native Uruguay.
"Estoy muy feliz de poder compartir esta música contigo," Wauters says in the home video he made about the project, "de cantar en mi lengua natal, y de que esta vez, puedas entender directamente de que se trata." Singing for the first time entirely in Spanish, Wauters demonstrates his knack for stringing together melodies that feel passed through generations in the particularly suramericano strain of predecessors like Alí Primera and Victor Jara.
The first three singles each come with companion mini-essays about the people he met in each country of his trip. Of "Blues Chilango," he writes that the lyrics of the song, the first he recorded in Mexico, describe his first impressions of Mexico City: "Me gusta la vida cotidiana / De la calle, de la noche / De tirar una moneda al aire / Y dejarla girar." — Stefanie Fernández
Tagua Tagua, "Na Banguela"
Brazil is not just the land of bossa nova, samba or MPB. Rock plays a pretty significant part of Brazilian music history. The 1970's was probably the heyday of Brazilian rock and those power chords still reverberate in Tagua Tagua.
The band is based in Sao Paolo and features Felipe Puperi on vocals and guitar. Puperi has been crunching the rock thing for a while. His last band Wannabe Salva originated what the members called space groove rock from its base in Porto Alegre.
"Na Banguela" comes from its new EP, Pedaco Vivo, and plants a dreamy yet aggressive flag for Tagua Tagua in the field of Brazilian rock. —Felix Contreras
Ceci Bastida, "Pretty In Pink"
The holidays really interrupted my new music listening and I found another outstanding track that I missed. LA based vocalist Ceci Bastida did a dreamy Spanish language cover of the Psychedelic Furs "Pretty In Pink" for the Hulu series, The Runaways.
"This song is part of the soundtrack of my teenage years, and I loved it mainly because of Richard Butler's beautiful, powerful, and raw voice," Ceci says of the cover. "It's one of those songs that you're almost afraid to touch, so I approached it with an open mind, knowing from the beginning that trying to re-do the original would be a waste of time. I decided that I should take it to a completely different place." —Felix Contreras
This playlist is updated weekly.