Alt.Latino started over 10 years ago covering Latin American music, from rock to the rise of reggaetón and urban genres. Throughout the years, the show expanded to a variety of arts and culture surrounding the Latin American community, but their heart is still in music. Host Felix Contreras has been at NPR for over 20 years, experiencing huge cultural shifts as well as growing conversations. We quickly caught up on the latest music, Latinx identities, and our recent favorites, from podcast episodes to tv shows.
How do you feel about interviewing storytellers?
It's all about getting out of the way in the interview to let the artist explode. An example is Ile, she always tells a whole story with a very succinct narrative.
There are so many cool different people and different genres – salsa, urban, all of it! And every one of them tells a different story.
What has been one of your favorite episodes in the show?
The episodes that deal with social justice are some of my favorites. We try to really show what is happening within our communities, not just saying 'this is wrong.' Along with that, the meditation episode we did received a lot of positive feedback because listeners were able to take some time to breathe after the election and come together through music.
How do you think listeners will understand the Latinx experience as varied in race, sexuality, ability, and more?
The [Latino] communities, in plural, are not monolithic and we try to show that illustrating by example. All the identities in Latin America reflect themselves in many ways. For example, there are different ways to represent Blackness for Afro-Latinos, it goes beyond one narrative.
What show/movie have you watched recently that you loved?
There's this show called Undone that I watched. I enjoyed it because it tells a whole story and it captures you. Mexicanness is a part of it but it is not the entire story.
And lastly, this is something that I always think about: do you have any thoughts on the debates of where certain genres of music were born within Latin America, such as Reggaetón?
I don't get in debates where there are no winners. *laughs*