Sound Check: Juan Luis Guerra Turns Japanese. Well, Sort Of.
By Grace Bastidas | 04/08/2010 - 17:00

Bachata king Juan Luis Guerra is back, and he’s speaking Japanese. The first single from his upcoming eleventh studio album (out June 8 on Capitol Latin) is called “Bachata En Fukuoka. It was inspired by the legendary singer’s trip to Japan last year, during which he visited the capital of Tokyo and Fukuoka, a city on the northern shore of the island of Kyushu that is considered to be the birthplace of Japanese civilization.

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Sound Check: Join the Copacabana Club
By Grace Bastidas | 03/24/2010 - 16:15

Justin Timberlake is huge fan of Copacabana Club, a five-piece band resonating all the way from Curitiba, Southern Brazil. Ever since their debut EP, King of the Night, was released in 2008—Levi’s Music used the dance track “Just Do It” for a commercial—this act has been perking up ears with their carnivalesque indie-rock party tunes. I spoke with singer Camila Cornelsen, the band's front woman, to see what's next:

What are the band’s influences?

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Sound Check: Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, Mexican-Style
By Grace Bastidas | 03/17/2010 - 17:00

Arriba, Arriba! Feliz Dia de San Patricio! What? You didn’t know Ireland and Mexico are practically compadres when it comes to nations? Apparently a group of Irishmen living in the United States dared to fight alongside Mexican troops during the Mexican-American War of 1846–48.

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Sound Check: The Multi-Talented Debi Nova Goes Solo
By Grace Bastidas | 03/12/2010 - 14:00

Costa Rican artist Debi Nova is hot in more than just the looks department. She’s a vocalist, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist that has collaborated with everyone—and I do mean everyone—from Ricky Martin to the Black Eyed Peas. Now she’s getting ready to make her solo debut with the album Luna Nueva (Decca Records; out May 18), a collection of potent pop songs that she sings in Spanish and English.

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Sound Check: Q&A with Banda de Turistas
By Grace Bastidas | 03/11/2010 - 16:00

Argentina’s Banda de Turistas is here to stay. The quintet made their U.S. debut in February with Magical Radiophonic Heart (Nacional Records), a compilation of their first two previous albums, and quickly won over critics with their 60’s-influenced cosmic pop. Next up, they’re headed to South by Southwest in Austin, Texas in a few weeks. I recently caught up with vocalist/guitarist Tomas Putruele and here’s what he had to say:

How did you all meet?

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Sound Check: Jorge Drexler Stops and Smells the Roses
By Grace Bastidas | 03/09/2010 - 14:00

Uruguayan singer/songwriter Jorge Drexler lets destiny lead the way. The title of his latest album, Amar La Trama (out March 16; Warner Music), translates to “Love the Plot,” referring to the celestial plot that charts our course.

Recorded live in a television studio in front of an audience, the 12 songs on the CD were created without any electronic instruments or sampling. The result is an organic sound that’s perfect listening music on a relaxed Sunday afternoon.

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