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An 'Alt.Latino' Christmas

Holiday traditions in Latin America run the gamut from Texas to Tierre del Fuego. There are parrandas in Puerto Rico, pastorelas in Mexico and Christmas trees and mistletoe in the U.S. This Christmas, Alt.Latino hosts Felix Contreras and Jasmine Garsd join Weekend Edition Saturday's Scott Simon to help put a contemporary spin on some of these traditions.

Copyright 2024 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

An 'Alt.Latino' Christmas

Burrito de Belén

From 'Top Latino Navidad'

By Various Artists

Along with reggaeton, bachata is one of the most popular forms of music on Spanish-language radio today. It was once dismissed by mainstream culture as music for rural dwellers, but it now resides in the middle of a cultural explosion. Members of the Dominican group Aventura call themselves "the kings of bachata."

Aires de Navidad

From 'Asalto Navideño'

By Willie Colón/Hector Lavoe

Fania Records can be described as the Latin equivalent to Motown: The label acted as an incubator for the sound that became known as salsa. On this record, Puerto Ricans Willie Colon and Hector Lavoe offer a modern take on parrandas, or music for small get-togethers around Christmastime.

La Botellita/La Trulla de La Gata

From 'Queridos Reyes Magos'

By Various Artists

This reggaeton cut from Tito Y Bambino celebrates the spirits associated with holiday times: The lead singer boasts that he is the most extreme rum-drinker around. The song was made popular decades ago by the Puerto Rican group Los Cantores de San Juan; this version updates the sound with a contemporary production style.

Samba Dreidel

From 'Samba Dreidel'

By Pacha Massive

Pacha Massive is a great representation of the multiculturalism that exists throughout Latin-American music. The New York group has members from both Colombia and the Dominican Republic, and performs a Brazilian-influenced song about a dreidel, in English.

Feliz Navidad

From 'Feliz Navidad'

By José Feliciano

This year marks the 40th anniversary of Jose Feliciano's classic, "Feliz Navidad." Feliciano was one of the first truly successful Latino artists to cross over into American music, and the success of this song cannot be understated. Whether or not you speak Spanish, chances are you know these lyrics.

NPR Staff