American pop music is well known for its tendency to swallow up influences from all around the world. Even people who are trying to hear a little bit of something different can have trouble escaping the tropes and sounds of American radio. Yet, a spin of the dial over to your local Latin station can reveal just the opposite — a lot of folks who are taking American music and putting a Latin twist on.
So, here are a few artists out there who are incorporating Latin America’s rich musical history into mainstream sounds in such a way that it will definitely catch a listener’s ear. These five artists are just a few examples of musicians keeping their ancestral traditions alive by putting a modern spin on the classics.
If you regularly use the term “binge-watch,” then you’ve probably heard the music of Rodrigo Amarante. The Brazilian singer was part of the late and critically adored bossa nova-rock fusion supergroup Little Joy, but he’s best known for performing the theme to the Netflix series Narcos, “Tuyo.”
Outside of streaming, the multi-instrumentalist and composer bridges the gap between the bossa nova sway of Brazil with the psychedelic folk that’s currently beloved by U.S. indie types. That he comes from a country that’s been doing freaky folk tunes better than anyone since forever certainly doesn’t hurt.