Setlist: Latin Worldwide

In the first ten minutes of DJ Don Jose’s Latin Worldwide, a Sunday morning program on BreakThru Radio, we hear live Spanish pop, Central American traditional dance with extraordinary Flamenco guitar soloing, Latino-American electro-dance, and finally Spanish punk guitar thrashing. This is all before Don Jose gets into the meat of his show—a feature on Madrid indie band Los Punsetes. So whatever visions you have of a radio show called Latin Worldwide being full of Caribbean dance music and Mexican folk song, you can toss them out the window.

Los Punsetes

DJ Don Jose is a well-informed Latin music fan and BreakThru Radio personality. He takes both pride in, and enjoyment from, the music he gathers for his show: “I enjoy talking to Latin indie-alternative artists about their music. I believe the conversations enhance the discovery process for BTR Latin Worldwide listeners,” DJ Don Jose explains to me in an email. “It’s amazing how many Latin indie-alternative artists are in New York, especially Brooklyn. Sure, it’s easy to connect via social networking, but there’s no comparison to meeting people in person and watching them perform live.” DJ Don Jose’s message is one we all share equally here at BreakThru—get out and see the music, don’t just become a fan of MySpace and online radio.

Don Jose practices what he preaches, and it shows. What I especially enjoy about his program is the way he directly involves the musicians he features by including interview segments as part of his artist feature. For example, on this week’s show, flanking both sides Los Punsetes’ “Tus Amigos” are pieces from a conversation Don Jose had with the band during their first live tour of the U.S.

“It’s our first time playing outside Spain,” vocalist Ariadna says.

“What do you think about the crowds here? Are they reacting differently to your music here than in Spain?” Don Jose asks.

“Yes, indeed they are. The first concert, everybody was like, not moving. They were, um, surprised. And yesterday it was completely different because people were moving even more than in Spain.”

The importance of getting these bands to play for American crowds is something that DJ Don Jose stresses in both his show and during our email-interview. “Latin alternative bands and artists, both from the U.S. and relocated from outside the U.S., are living in NYC and making music in NYC,” Don Jose reiterates in a second email, getting to the heart of the matter. “[T]he point is that all Latin music is not foreign. It’s home grown.”

DJ Don Jose

As I begin listening to the program, I am surprised to hear the introduction of the show is in as much Spanish as English. For a brief moment I panicked, fearing a language barrier from which I would suffer throughout the show. Not within the music itself, for music has no tribal tongue, but with DJ Don Jose’s Spanish introduction of bands and songs. I was glad to hear when he switched to English permanently to set up the music he plays: “Many young Latinos in the U.S. enjoy hearing Latin alternative music presented by English-speaking presenters, such as on MTV3 and Mun2,” Don Jose tells me. “Latin Worldwide has those type of Latino listeners and many others who do not speak Spanish, in the U.S. and around the world.”

Each Latin Worldwide show is there to help listeners discover new music. The show features a specific band or artist, trying to always keep true to the BreakThru style by making the feature a fresh Latino act. As listeners, we get to learn a little bit of the biography of the feature, and of course hear a good chunk of their music.

In the labyrinth of trying to find new music in today’s webbed world, it is programs like this that help expand our library of music. “One of the things that listeners to Latin Worldwide at BreakThru Radio are discovering is that there’s a lot of Latin indie-alternative music being created in the U.S.”

Click here to listen to the latest edition of Latin Worldwide!

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– Kory French


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