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From Puerto Rican Soul To Ranchero Punk, New Obsessions In Latin Music

Puerto Rican soul singer Calma Carmona is Jasmine Garsd's latest musical obsession.
Courtesy of the artist
Puerto Rican soul singer Calma Carmona is Jasmine Garsd's latest musical obsession.

Like many music fans, I have an obsessive relationship with songs. When I find an artist I love, I listen over and over again, sometimes dozens of times in a row, to the point where my neighbors probably think I'm insane. I research the artist and all of his or her influences and contemporaries.

Co-host Felix Contreras and I often discuss the difference between approaching music from the perspective of a dancer (in my case) and approaching music from the perspective of a musician (in Felix's case). I have a theory that even my need to listen to songs over and over again comes from the habit of repeating dance routines for hours on end. Each time you get deeper into a song, you discover different nuances that you missed the first few times you heard it.

This week on Alt.Latino, Felix and I grapple with different musical obsessions. He brings amazing music from the Los Angeles Tropical revival, prompting me to ask him about his youth as a Chicano who came up with Mexican music and ultimately fell in love with Caribbean styles.

As for me, I have a fever, and the only thing that can cure it is new Latin soul. I've already documented my obsession with several new singers, and today I get to showcase another favorite — this one from Puerto Rico.

So come join us, and as always, tell us what you think in the comments. What are your musical obsessions?

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Jasmine Garsd is an Argentine-American journalist living in New York. She is currently NPR's Criminal Justice correspondent and the host of The Last Cup. She started her career as the co-host of Alt.Latino, an NPR show about Latin music. Throughout her reporting career she's focused extensively on women's issues and immigrant communities in America. She's currently writing a book of stories about women she's met throughout her travels.