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Latin Alternative Music Conference's 20th Anniversary Edition Set For July

La Santa Cecilia

Photo: Rodrigo Varela/Getty Images

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Latin Alternative Music Conference's 20th Anniversary Edition Set For July

Throughout the years, the "Latin alternative" conference has celebrated the genre's vibrant scene with concerts, panels and showcases

GRAMMYs/Jan 5, 2019 - 07:07 am

Every year since 1999, the Latin Alternative Music Conference has brought together a range of voices that make up the Alt. Latino scene and for its 20th anniversary in July it will honor 20 people that have helped it shine throughout the years.

The conference, which hosts panels, concerts, exhibits and showcases, will take place July 7–13 in New York City. The 20 conference honorees are "people or companies that have helped these last 20 years be filled with ongoing music."

"The LAMC year after year has tried to be a meeting of the minds — a platform to show that there is an amazing, vibrant and complex market within Latin music," Nacional Records president and LAMC producer Tomas Cookman told Billboard. "Be it having Pitbull, Bomba Estereo or Natalia Lafourcade on early career showcases, or Calle 13 or Cafe Tacvba filling up a public park to capacity, the range and types of artists we have highlighted over these 20 years runs the gamut of the ever-changing face of Latin music."

Music performances will take place at the Central Park Summerstage, Celebrate Brooklyn at Prospect Park and Queensbridge Park. Panels will cover women in music, music education and the U.S. Latin market, among other topics. The LAMC will also have regional spotlights on Argentina, Colombia and Spain.

GRAMMY winners Natalia Lafourcade, Residente, La Santa Cecilia, and Carlos Vives  are LAMC alumni. GRAMMY nominee and Latin GRAMMY winner Jorge Drexler is another notable alum.

GRAMMY nominees Carla Morrison, Los Rakas and Kinky are former winners of the conference's Discovery Award.

More details are at the LAMC website. The conference has truly shaped the meaning of the phrase "Latin alternative."

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The 2023 GRAMMY Awards Premiere Ceremony To Feature Performances From Carlos Vives, Samara Joy, Madison Cunningham, Arooj Aftab & More; Presenters Include Babyface, Jimmy Jam, Malcolm-Jamal Warner & Others

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The 2023 GRAMMY Awards Premiere Ceremony To Feature Performances From Carlos Vives, Samara Joy, Madison Cunningham, Arooj Aftab & More; Presenters Include Babyface, Jimmy Jam, Malcolm-Jamal Warner & Others

Streaming live on Sunday, Feb. 5, at 3:30 p.m. ET/12:30 p.m. PT on live.GRAMMY.com and the Recording Academy's YouTube channel, the 2023 GRAMMY Awards Premiere Ceremony is where the majority of this year's 91 GRAMMY Awards categories will be awarded.

GRAMMYs/Jan 27, 2023 - 02:00 pm

Officially kicking off the 2023 GRAMMYs, the 65th GRAMMY Awards Premiere Ceremony will return to the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles with a star-studded celebration of performers, presenters and awards. Taking place Sunday, Feb. 5, at 3:30 p.m. ET/12:30 p.m. PT, just hours before Music's Biggest Night, the 2023 GRAMMY Awards Premiere Ceremony will stream live on live.GRAMMY.com and on the Recording Academy's YouTube channel.

The beloved annual event, in which the majority of this year's 91 GRAMMY Awards categories will be awarded, will be co-hosted by current GRAMMY nominee Randy Rainbow and will feature an opening number performance by Blind Boys of Alabama, La Marisoul from La Santa Cecilia, and additional surprise performers. Other artists scheduled to perform include current nominees Arooj Aftab, Madison Cunningham, Samara Joy, Anoushka Shankar, and Carlos Vives.

Presenting the first GRAMMY Awards of the day include current nominees Babyface, DOMi & JD BECK, Myles Frost, Arturo O'Farrill, Malcolm-Jamal Warner, and five-time GRAMMY winner and former Recording Academy Board of Trustees Chair Jimmy Jam. Recording Academy Chair of the Board of Trustees Tammy Hurt will provide opening remarks. Additional talent and co-host to be announced in the coming days.

This year, City National Bank has signed on as the first-ever presenting sponsor of the GRAMMY Awards Premiere Ceremony.

Read More: 2023 GRAMMYs Performers Announced: Bad Bunny, Lizzo, Sam Smith, Steve Lacy, Mary J. Blige & More Confirmed

All Premiere Ceremony performers and hosts are current nominees at the 2023 GRAMMYs, as are most presenters. Aftab is nominated for Best Global Music Performance ("Udhero Na" with Anoushka Shankar); Babyface is nominated for Best Traditional R&B Performance ("Keeps On Fallin'" with Ella Mai); Blind Boys of Alabama are nominated for Best Americana Performance ("The Message" with Black Violin); Cunningham is nominated for Best American Roots Performance ("Life According To Raechel") and Best Folk Album (Revealer); DOMi & JD BECK are up for Best New Artist and Best Contemporary Instrumental Album (NOT TiGHT); Frost is nominated for Best Musical Theater Album (MJ The Musical); Joy is nominated for Best New Artist and Best Jazz Vocal Album (Linger Awhile); La Marisoul is up for Best Tropical Latin Album (Quiero Verte Feliz with La Santa Cecilia); O'Farrill is nominated for Best Latin Jazz Album (Fandango At The Wall In New York with The Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra Featuring The Conga Patria Son Jarocho Collective); Rainbow is up for Best Comedy Album (A Little Brains, A Little Talent); Shankar is up for Best Global Music Performance ("Udhero Na" with Arooj Aftab) and Best Global Music Album (Between Us… (Live) with Metropole Orkest & Jules  Buckley Featuring Manu Delago); Vives is nominated for Best Tropical Latin Album (Cumbiana II); and Warner is nominated for Best Spoken Word Poetry Album (Hiding In Plain View).

Read More: Where, What Channel & How To Watch The Full 2023 GRAMMYs

"We are so excited to kick off GRAMMY Sunday with the Premiere Ceremony ahead of Music's Biggest Night," Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason jr. said. "Not only do we have an incredible lineup of presenters and performers, but this ceremony will also reveal the winners in the vast majority of our categories, celebrating this amazing year in music across many of our genre communities."

Following the Premiere Ceremony, the 2023 GRAMMYs will be broadcast live on the CBS Television Network and stream live and on-demand on Paramount+ at 8-11:30 p.m. ET / 5-8:30 p.m. PT.

On GRAMMY Sunday, fans can access exclusive, behind-the-scenes GRAMMYs content, including performances, acceptance speeches, interviews from the GRAMMY Live red-carpet special, and more via the Recording Academy's digital experience on live.GRAMMY.com.

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Press Play On GRAMMY U Mixtape: New Year, It’s Poppin'! Monthly Member Playlist

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Press Play On GRAMMY U Mixtape: New Year, It’s Poppin'! Monthly Member Playlist

The GRAMMY U Mixtape is a monthly, genre-spanning playlist to quench your thirst for new tunes, all from student members. GRAMMY U celebrates new beginnings with fresh pop tunes that will kickstart 2023.

GRAMMYs/Jan 6, 2023 - 12:17 am

Did you know that among all of the students in GRAMMY U, songwriting and performance is one of the most sought after fields of study? We want to create a space to hear what these students are creating today!

The GRAMMY U Mixtape, now available for your listening pleasure, highlights the creations and fresh ideas that students are bringing to this industry directly on the Recording Academy's Spotify and Apple Music pages. Our goal is to celebrate GRAMMY U members, as well as the time and effort they put into making original music — from the songwriting process to the final production of the track.

Each month, we accept submissions and feature 20 to 25 songs that match that month’s theme. This month we're ringing in 2023 with our New Year, It's Poppin'! playlist, which features fresh pop songs that bring new year, new you vibes. Showcasing talented members from our various chapters, we felt these songs represented the positivity and hopefulness that GRAMMY U members embody as they tackle this upcoming year of exciting possibilities.

So, what’s stopping you? Press play on GRAMMY U’s Mixtape and listen now on Spotify below and Apple Music.

Want to be featured on the next playlist? Submit your songs today! We are currently accepting submissions for songs of all genres for consideration for our February playlist. Whether you write pop, rock, hip hop, jazz, or classical, we want to hear from you. Music must be written and/or produced by the student member (an original song) and you must be able to submit a Spotify and/or Apple Music link to the song. Students must be a GRAMMY U member to submit.

About GRAMMY U:

GRAMMY U is a program that connects college students with the industry's brightest and most talented minds and provides those aspiring professionals with the tools and opportunities necessary to start a career in music.     

Throughout each semester, events and special programs touch on all facets of the industry, including the business, technology, and the creative process.

As part of the Recording Academy's mission to ensure the recorded arts remain a thriving part of our shared cultural heritage, GRAMMY U establishes the necessary foundation for music’s next generation to flourish.

Not a member, but want to submit to our playlist? Apply for GRAMMY U Membership here.

2022 In Review: 5 Trends That Defined Latin Music
(From left) Bad Bunny, El Alfa, Natalia Laforcade, Rosalía, Rauw Alejando

PHOTO: Gladys Vega/ Getty Images; John Parra/Getty Images; Rodrigo Varela/Getty Images for The Latin Recording Academy; Kevin Winter/Getty Images for The Latin Recording

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2022 In Review: 5 Trends That Defined Latin Music

2022 glowed with abundance in every region and style — from Chilean folk and Mexican sierreño to Argentine synth-pop, Dominican dembow and good old fashioned rock en español.

GRAMMYs/Dec 27, 2022 - 08:51 pm

Years from now, 2022 is likely to be remembered as a moment of expansion and inspiration for Latin music. It’s not only that the unstoppable reggaetón beat and its multiple permutations brought people to their feet as the entire world danced to the sounds of Bad Bunny, KAROL G and Rosalía.  

After years of pandemic-related suffering, 2022 glowed with abundance in every region and style — from Chilean folk and Mexican sierreño to Argentine synth-pop, Dominican dembow and good old fashioned rock en español. Forgotten genres were resurrected and given bright new outfits, while a wave of daring young producers experimented with cutting-edge textures and studio effects. Globalization shook up the Latin spectrum, and the results are splendorous.

Here are some of the notable trends that emerged during the past 12 months.

The New Epicenter Of Global Pop? Puerto Rico 

As the mainstream embraces Latin trap, EDM and folk genres like champeta and bachata in this brave digital world of neo-reggaetón hits, Puerto Rican vocalists and producers have mastered the recipe of success. 2022 marked the third consecutive year in which Bad Bunny was the most streamed artist in the world on Spotify. An intriguing combination of raucous party hedonism and melancholy self-reflection, Benito’s musical universe continues to evolve, but his hold on pop culture is part of a wider trend.  

The year also saw the release of excellent new tracks by Ozuna, Rauw Alejandro, Daddy Yankee and Myke Towers, confirming San Juan as the avant-garde capital of Latin futurism. La isla del encanto’s dominance shouldn’t surprise the most studious observers of popular music, though. Just like Jamaica, Puerto Rico has given birth to countless legends in the past, from Tito Rodríguez and Cheo Feliciano to El Gran Combo and Héctor Lavoe. Further, there is a solid threadline that unites the early salsa sizzle of 'Maelo' Rivera with the 2000’s narratives of Tego Calderón and the melodic brilliance of a Rauw Alejandro.

The Seduction Of Retro Lives On 

Much of today’s Latin music relies on the-future-is-now sonics, with the use of autotune, synth patches and all sorts of studio gimmicks to create the slick patina of today's hits. At the same time, a number of artists prefer a return to analog warmth and the formats that hypnotized their ears in younger times.  

Growing up in Texas, multi-instrumentalist and Black Pumas leader Adrian Quesada developed an obsession with the intoxicating strand of psychedelic baladas that flourished throughout Latin America between the early ‘60s and mid ‘70s. Quesada had already recorded a reverential cover of "Esclavo y Amo" by Peruvian combo Los Pasteles Verdes, but in 2022 he recorded an entire album, Boleros Psicodélicos, with mostly original songs that capture the sinuous beauty and baroque harpsichord lines of the original genre.  

Following a similar vein, Natalia Lafourcade’s stunning De Todas Las Flores favored a retro approach with songs such as the breezy tropi-pop gem "Canta la arena." The album was recorded live on tape, with every musician present in the recording studio and no previous rehearsals. And if the intro to the solemn "Llévame viento" reminds you of Claude Debussy and French impressionism, it’s no coincidence. The Mexican vocalist showed producer Adán Jodorowsky pictures by Claude Monet for inspiration while they worked on the record.   

Dembow Transforms The Urbano Landscape 

Hypnotic and repetitive, the Dominican genre known as dembow is instantly addictive, but at the same time a bit of an acquired taste. Because of its aggressive pattern, it can be successfully transplanted to mainstream reggaetón — a prime example being Bad Bunny’s eye-opening use of dembow in his mega-hit "Tití Me Preguntó."

The indisputable king of the format remains El Alfa, the incredibly prolific, 31 year-old singer/songwriter from Santo Domingo who has turned the native riddims and hilarious slang from his homeland into a cottage industry of feverish dance anthems. El Alfa (Emanuel Herrer Batista) releases singles and videos at a breakneck pace, and 2022 found him riding a creative wave. A collaboration with Braulio Fogón and Chael Produciendo, "Tontorón Tontón" grooves with a fervor that borders on insanity, as El Alfa spits out rhymes that fuse hilarious vulgarity with surreal impressionism.

Last Night A Lo-Fi Songstress Saved My Life

While the ubiquitous stars of the Latin pop firmament compete for hundreds of millions of streams, indie artists from Argentina to Mexico continue doing what they do best: writing awesome songs. Easy access to recording equipment has allowed a young generation of female bedroom-pop and lo-fi rock performers to blossom undeterred by any record label interference.

On her brilliant and darkly hued EP Misterios de la Plata, Argentine singer Srta. Trueno Negro channels her devotion to the Velvet Underground. Hailing from Culiacán in Sinaloa, Bratty collaborated with Cuco on the hazy reverie of "Fin Del Mundo." In Brazil, São Paolo native Brvnks flexed her angular, guitar-based hooks on "sei la," an atmospheric duet with Raça. Seeped in the sugary vibes of ‘80s Argentine bands like Metrópoli, "Tuna" — an under promoted single by young Buenos Aires composer Mora Navarro — is probably one of the most gorgeous Latin songs of the decade.

Bachata Officially Not A Niche Genre Anymore

All those Dominican aristocrats of the early 20th century who looked down on bachata as the filthy music of the lower classes would shake their heads in disbelief if they saw the place of honor it occupies today. Prince Royce and Romeo Santos made headway in bringing the authentic strains of música del amargue into the mainstream.  

But just like salsa in the ‘90s, bachata is now part of the pop lexicon, and artists from different genres delve into its mystique. Most famously, Rosalía, whose majestic "LA FAMA" distorts the expected guitar lines into jagged, digitalized objects of beauty. The autobiographical lyrics are poignant, and the diva’s decision to enlist the Weeknd helped to further the cause (as it turns out, bachata’s wounded feelings sting even more deliciously as a duet.) In Colombia, Elsa y Elmar aimed at the very roots of the genre with "atravesao," complete with skittish bongó beats and a vocal delivery that bleeds unrequited romance. Even in Buenos Aires, bachata has attracted the muse of talented songwriters such as Silvina Moreno, whose "Ley de Atracción" muses philosophically on the perverse contradictions of erotic desire.

2022 Year In Review: 7 Trends That Defined R&B

A Guide To Modern Funk For The Dance Floor: L'Imperatrice, Shiro Schwarz, Franc Moody, Say She She & Moniquea
Franc Moody

Photo: Rachel Kupfer 

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A Guide To Modern Funk For The Dance Floor: L'Imperatrice, Shiro Schwarz, Franc Moody, Say She She & Moniquea

James Brown changed the sound of popular music when he found the power of the one and unleashed the funk with "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag." Today, funk lives on in many forms, including these exciting bands from across the world.

GRAMMYs/Nov 25, 2022 - 04:23 pm

It's rare that a genre can be traced back to a single artist or group, but for funk, that was James Brown. The Godfather of Soul coined the phrase and style of playing known as "on the one," where the first downbeat is emphasized, instead of the typical second and fourth beats in pop, soul and other styles. As David Cheal eloquently explains, playing on the one "left space for phrases and riffs, often syncopated around the beat, creating an intricate, interlocking grid which could go on and on." You know a funky bassline when you hear it; its fat chords beg your body to get up and groove.

Brown's 1965 classic, "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag," became one of the first funk hits, and has been endlessly sampled and covered over the years, along with his other groovy tracks. Of course, many other funk acts followed in the '60s, and the genre thrived in the '70s and '80s as the disco craze came and went, and the originators of hip-hop and house music created new music from funk and disco's strong, flexible bones built for dancing.

Legendary funk bassist Bootsy Collins learned the power of the one from playing in Brown's band, and brought it to George Clinton, who created P-funk, an expansive, Afrofuturistic, psychedelic exploration of funk with his various bands and projects, including Parliament-Funkadelic. Both Collins and Clinton remain active and funkin', and have offered their timeless grooves to collabs with younger artists, including Kali Uchis, Silk Sonic, and Omar Apollo; and Kendrick Lamar, Flying Lotus, and Thundercat, respectively.

In the 1980s, electro-funk was born when artists like Afrika Bambaataa, Man Parrish, and Egyptian Lover began making futuristic beats with the Roland TR-808 drum machine — often with robotic vocals distorted through a talk box. A key distinguishing factor of electro-funk is a de-emphasis on vocals, with more phrases than choruses and verses. The sound influenced contemporaneous hip-hop, funk and electronica, along with acts around the globe, while current acts like Chromeo, DJ Stingray, and even Egyptian Lover himself keep electro-funk alive and well.

Today, funk lives in many places, with its heavy bass and syncopated grooves finding way into many nooks and crannies of music. There's nu-disco and boogie funk, nodding back to disco bands with soaring vocals and dance floor-designed instrumentation. G-funk continues to influence Los Angeles hip-hop, with innovative artists like Dam-Funk and Channel Tres bringing the funk and G-funk, into electro territory. Funk and disco-centered '70s revival is definitely having a moment, with acts like Ghost Funk Orchestra and Parcels, while its sparkly sprinklings can be heard in pop from Dua Lipa, Doja Cat, and, in full "Soul Train" character, Silk Sonic. There are also acts making dreamy, atmospheric music with a solid dose of funk, such as Khruangbin’s global sonic collage.

There are many bands that play heavily with funk, creating lush grooves designed to get you moving. Read on for a taste of five current modern funk and nu-disco artists making band-led uptempo funk built for the dance floor. Be sure to press play on the Spotify playlist above, and check out GRAMMY.com's playlist on Apple Music, Amazon Music and Pandora.

Say She She

Aptly self-described as "discodelic soul," Brooklyn-based seven-piece Say She She make dreamy, operatic funk, led by singer-songwriters Nya Gazelle Brown, Piya Malik and Sabrina Mileo Cunningham. Their '70s girl group-inspired vocal harmonies echo, sooth and enchant as they cover poignant topics with feminist flair.

While they’ve been active in the New York scene for a few years, they’ve gained wider acclaim for the irresistible music they began releasing this year, including their debut album, Prism. Their 2022 debut single "Forget Me Not" is an ode to ground-breaking New York art collective Guerilla Girls, and "Norma" is their protest anthem in response to the news that Roe vs. Wade could be (and was) overturned. The band name is a nod to funk legend Nile Rodgers, from the "Le freak, c'est chi" exclamation in Chic's legendary tune "Le Freak."

Moniquea

Moniquea's unique voice oozes confidence, yet invites you in to dance with her to the super funky boogie rhythms. The Pasadena, California artist was raised on funk music; her mom was in a cover band that would play classics like Aretha Franklin’s "Get It Right" and Gladys Knight’s "Love Overboard." Moniquea released her first boogie funk track at 20 and, in 2011, met local producer XL Middelton — a bonafide purveyor of funk. She's been a star artist on his MoFunk Records ever since, and they've collabed on countless tracks, channeling West Coast energy with a heavy dose of G-funk, sunny lyrics and upbeat, roller disco-ready rhythms.

Her latest release is an upbeat nod to classic West Coast funk, produced by Middleton, and follows her February 2022 groovy, collab-filled album, On Repeat.

Shiro Schwarz

Shiro Schwarz is a Mexico City-based duo, consisting of Pammela Rojas and Rafael Marfil, who helped establish a modern funk scene in the richly creative Mexican metropolis. On "Electrify" — originally released in 2016 on Fat Beats Records and reissued in 2021 by MoFunk — Shiro Schwarz's vocals playfully contrast each other, floating over an insistent, upbeat bassline and an '80s throwback electro-funk rhythm with synth flourishes.

Their music manages to be both nostalgic and futuristic — and impossible to sit still to. 2021 single "Be Kind" is sweet, mellow and groovy, perfect chic lounge funk. Shiro Schwarz’s latest track, the joyfully nostalgic "Hey DJ," is a collab with funkstress Saucy Lady and U-Key.

L'Impératrice

L'Impératrice (the empress in French) are a six-piece Parisian group serving an infectiously joyful blend of French pop, nu-disco, funk and psychedelia. Flore Benguigui's vocals are light and dreamy, yet commanding of your attention, while lyrics have a feminist touch.

During their energetic live sets, L'Impératrice members Charles de Boisseguin and Hagni Gwon (keys), David Gaugué (bass), Achille Trocellier (guitar), and Tom Daveau (drums) deliver extended instrumental jam sessions to expand and connect their music. Gaugué emphasizes the thick funky bass, and Benguigui jumps around the stage while sounding like an angel. L’Impératrice’s latest album, 2021’s Tako Tsubo, is a sunny, playful French disco journey.

Franc Moody

Franc Moody's bio fittingly describes their music as "a soul funk and cosmic disco sound." The London outfit was birthed by friends Ned Franc and Jon Moody in the early 2010s, when they were living together and throwing parties in North London's warehouse scene. In 2017, the group grew to six members, including singer and multi-instrumentalist Amber-Simone.

Their music feels at home with other electro-pop bands like fellow Londoners Jungle and Aussie act Parcels. While much of it is upbeat and euphoric, Franc Moody also dips into the more chilled, dreamy realm, such as the vibey, sultry title track from their recently released Into the Ether.

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