Thursday, April 29, 2010

Nueva Reina de Hiphop?

Do you know what comes from Chile? If you said hip-hop, by golly, you're right! Earlier this week, Chilean hip-hop artist Ana Tijoux's new album 1977 hit the U.S.

I'll save her background info for next week, and keep this post brief. Long story short, Tijoux has already toured the U.S. once, so 1977 is already attracting plenty of attention state-side.

The Austin Chronicle says Tijoux rhymes with, "wicked wordplay and effortless flow." Proving that the U.S. is a black hole for talent, the Los Angeles Times calls Tijoux, "one of South America's best-regarded MCs, male or female."

Until I drop some biographical knowledge on ya, check out her new single "1977." If that's not enough, here's a live performance of it too!

Estoy enamorado,
DJ Gringuito

Monday, April 26, 2010

The Velvety Ones

Los Aterciopelados are not to be considered plush and snugly, as their velvety-name suggests. This electro-punk-indigenous rock duo is focused on making changes to more than just the music scene.

Andrea Echeverri and Hector Buitrago first joined (strictly artistic) forces in 1992. Nearly two decades later, Aterciopelados has produced eight albums, earned several awards and gained international attention.

In fact, the band's first single "Bolero Falaz" was an instant hit. I'm sure the music video's animation sequences (foreshadowing future videos) added to the song's attractiveness. Always astute about music videos, MTV noticed the band and recorded their "Unplugged" set in 1997.

Fast-forward a couple of years, and Aterciopelados is now the Latin Grammy Award-winning Best Rock Group, an honor they received for their fifth studio album, Gozo Poderoso. The Latin Grammys continued when the duo won Best Alternative Album for Oye in 2007.

Oye solidified Aterciopelados' presence in Colombian politics. Tracks like "Don Dinero" have listeners questioning whether money truly is the answer to all of our problems, and the music video fits in the same aisle as Manu Chao's "Me Gustas Tu." Their protest song titled "Cancion Protesta" attracted international attention when Amnesty International gave the band an escopeterra for its awareness efforts. Other artists to receive the symbol of non-violence include Juanes and Manu Chao. Best of all, you can see it in the music video!

Aterciopelados' newest album, Rio, maintains the conscious message backed by ethereal, electro-funk sounds. The title track speaks of the struggle for native Colombians to have the fundamental right to clean-water access. Both members are more than just spokespeople for a problem. While floating down the Bogota River, they actually collected 2 million signatures in order to propel a clean water referendum to the next stage in the lengthy, bureaucratic process. Take that, Bono!

If you're still interested in what these progressive powerhouses sound like, check out these two tracks. One is quintessential fierce Aterciopelados, while the other shows the band's softer (yet equally enjoyable) side.

Nos vemos en Colombia,
DJ Gringuito

Monday, April 19, 2010

Conscious Colombian Pop

Cocaine and Colombia are perpetually linked. No matter how well the War on Drugs is (or isn't) working, the country cannot shake the stigma. But that's just the most publicized of the country's problems.

If history has taught us anything, it's that music has the power to change the status quo. From John Lennon's "Imagine" to N.W.A.'s "Fuck tha Police," music is always at the forefront of serious issues.

Well, one politically-conscious band has been speaking out against the country's faults for more than a decade. This week Radio Chevere is spotlighting the wild sounds of Aterciopelados. Come back soon for an in-depth look at what has the whole world looking at this dynamic duo.

No usa mota,
DJ Gringuito

Sunday, April 11, 2010

El Bonnaroo

Ohio University's commencement is set for June 12. Great news to all graduating Bobcats, but bad news for any
Bonnaroo fans. You're probably wondering why Radio Chevere cares about a music festival in Tennessee.

This year, the four-day fest spotlights a
Latino Alternativo Tent. Bonnaroo is always changing tent themes, and this year happens to be el año más interesante.

Concertgoers will be able to see Jay-Z, Conan O'Brien and Ozomatli all in the
same weekend. Other Latino acts include Los Amigos Invisibles and Aterciopelados. Just more progress for el mundo de la musica Hispanica!

Viva las Vegas,
DJ Gringuito

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Musica del Restaurante

So I didn't make it home for Easter this weekend. No biggie. My roommates and I founded our own Easter tradition: Drunk Mexican Easter!

We decided that the best place to celebrate la Pascua is at Gran Ranchero, the new Mexican restaurant on the block. While we sat around the chips, salsa y cerveza, I noticed the music playing through the establishment.

That's when I decided it was time to rank the Mexican restaurants in Athens by their musical selections! I'll work my way up to the champion.

3.) Casa Lopez: If this judgment was based on cuisine, Casa Lopez would easily walk away with the belt. However, I'm focusing on the restaurant's ability to satisfy my ears, not my taste buds.

Casa Lopez does not necessarily play bad music, but what music it does play is too quiet. Located far out on East State Street, Casa Lopez is the original family-friendly Mexican restaurant in town. This is likely the reason for the subdued tunes and muffled music.

2.) Gran Ranchero: I've only ventured to Gran Ranchero twice since its opening a few months ago, but that's all I need. This place is pretty spectacular. It easily boasts the best atmosphere of all.

Musically, Gran Ranchero does a nice job. The place has to have a great sound system to fill the massive space that is its dining area. Besides my Easter visit involving more Spanish Christian music than I would prefer to hear in a lifetime, both of my visits included solid sonidos.

1.) Rio Grande: It pains me to say it, but Rio Grande has the best Spanish-language music in Athens. The stomping ground for underage sorority sisters gulping down over-sized margaritas just so happens to bump the beats better than anybody else.

There might be telenovelas on the screens, but you can be sure that only the hottest reggaeton, ranchero y pop music is pouring through the speakers. I'm not a huge fan of the food, but then again, it's hard to mess up Mexican food. So tell your tummy what's comin', because Rio Grande is where la musica viva.

Tengo hambre,
DJ Gringuito