SXSWORLD February 2013


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Cultural Crossovers Fuel Emerging Latin Urban Music by Claudia Alarcòn 46 SXSWORLD / FEBRUARY 2013 Terror Squad, Usher, 50 Cent, Cypress Hill and Wyclef Jean, among others. His album The Original Gallo del País was nominated for a 2012 Latin Grammy in the Best Urban Album category, eventually losing to Don Omar's MTO2 New Generation. SXSW alum and 2012 Grammy contender Ana Tijoux has had a meteoric rise, both in Latin America and worldwide. Born in France to parents who had fled the regime of Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, Tijoux returned to Chile as an adolescent and became enthralled with the hip-hop scene. The music spoke to her feelings of duality and appealed to her as a way to explore the cadence and sounds of both her native languages. She started freestyling in both French and Spanish, eventually founding the popular group Makiza, which became a success in the late 1990s. Tijoux decided to leave the group to pursue a different path, including collaborations with Mexican rocker Julieta Venegas. However, her first solo album, 1977, marked a return to her Tego Caledrón rap roots, earning her international acclaim as well as a Grammy nomination for Best Latin Rock/Alternative Album. Her style is melodic and non-aggressive, with heavy influences of jazz and ambiance, although she admits to be heavily influenced by early '90s hip-hop such as Pharcyde, A Tribe Called Quest and The Roots. More than 10 years ago in Medellín, Colombia's Crew Peligrosos founded what it calls the Cuatro Elementos Eskuela, a hiphop school that unites neighborhood youth to protect each other against violence and social problems by encouraging their interpretations of breakdance, graffiti, DJs and rap (emcees). Their motto, MC + Graffiti + B Boys + DJ = Peace, is the mantra of the youth of Aranjuez, the Medellín neighborhood that Ana Tijoux is home to the energetic crew. Debuting at this year's SXSW, Crew Peligrosos mixes Latin salsa, mambo and son, with hip-hop's characteristic phrasing. However, the group's flow, flavor and slangy lyrics are straight from the streets of Aranjuez. Peligrosos' video for "Medayork" pays homage to New York's iconic hip-hop culture and includes imagery of breakdancing, subways and graffiti art, transposed to the streets of Medellín. Its latest single, "Mera Vuelta," was followed by a full-length record produced by acclaimed Mexican DJ Toy Selectah, which is rapidly gaining momentum. ■ FELIPECANTILLANA T he emergence of hip-hop is welldocumented by various sources as an African-American movement, and African-American artists are most often associated with the sound broadly classified as "urban." Yet the emergence of this musical genre was not exclusive to life in AfricanAmerican neighborhoods. It was also was captured by the hardships of other minorities in the U.S., whether they were Puerto Ricans in New York City or Mexicans in Los Angeles. In fact, Latinos have been involved in hip-hop since its conception, and have been putting their own spin on the genre ever since. Springing up during the '80s and '90s, Latin hip-hop was the manifestation of a mixing of cultures. As young Latinos became exposed to urban hip-hop sounds, they began to shape them into their own styles, spreading from L.A. and the East Coast down through Mexico, to the Caribbean, Cuba, Colombia, Brazil and beyond. Artists began to incorporate other genres as they paid homage to the artists and rhythms that shaped their cultural heritage, creating a multicultural, multi-sonic mélange they could call their own. Today, Latin Urban is a diverse genre that includes hip-hop, reggaetón, jazz, salsa, cumbia, dancehall, samba and more, and has become an influential musical force around the globe. Crossover household names with massive mainstream appeal and millions in sales include the likes of Shakira and Pitbull, but there are many others who enjoy great popularity, not only across Latin America but among young audiences in the U.S. and Europe. Names like Ozomatli, Calle 13, Orishas, La Maldita Vecindad, Ilya Kuryaki and the Valderramas, Molotov, Control Machete, Don Omar and Bomba Estereo are but a few of the bands that have successfully crossed over. As the genre continues to grow and evolve, new acts keep emerging under the tutelage of, and often in collaboration with, established artists. Tego Calderón is better known as a reggaetón artist, but his music style combines elements of Latin jazz, salsa, plena, Jamaican dancehall and hip-hop, focusing on aspects of urban life in his native Puerto Rico in his lyrics. After spending a few of his younger years in Miami, Calderón became heavily influenced by rap artists such as N.W.A. Yet he has retained his own voice, rapping in Spanish and establishing himself among the top Latin hip-hop artists. Because his unique style has been fully embraced by American hip-hop culture, Calderón has been featured in collaborations and remixes by artists that include Fat Joe's For more information on showcases at SXSW Music 2013, stay tuned to

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