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21 Days of Musica Latina: Venezuela

Unax Lafuente
Courtesy of the artist

Editor's Note: To commemorate Hispanic Heritage Month this year, World Cafe is going on a musical tour of Latin America. Every weekday from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15, we'll spotlight the music of a different Latin American country with a curated playlist of essential tracks, fresh voices and wild cards.

If we had to boil today's 21 Days of Musica Latina mix down to one word, it'd be innovation — and there's no shortage of it in Venezuela.

Take Chelique Sarabia. The poet, composer and producer is considered an electronic music pioneer for 1971's Revolución Electrónica en Música Venezolana, which morphed traditional Venezuelan instrumentation into something new using electronic filters, tape delay and synthesized frequencies.

Fifty years later, artists like Arca continue to push musical boundaries. The prolific Caracas-born musician has produced for Björk, FKA twigs and Lil Uzi Vert. Arca's solo output, including the whopping five-album Kick series, transforms everything from techno to reggaeton through her own electrifying lens.

Elsewhere in the mix, you'll hear the work of Simón Díaz. "Uncle Simón," as he was lovingly known by fans, spent his life traveling Venezuela, collecting different folk music forms. His song "Caballo Viejo" has been recorded by artists like Plácido Domingo and Celia Cruz.

You'll also find a new song from La Vida Bohème. We highly recommend the rock band's latest album, Caribe Caribe.

Enjoy, and make sure you come back tomorrow to find out where World Cafe's headed next.

Copyright 2023 XPN

Miguel Perez
Miguel Perez is a radio producer for NPR's World Cafe, based out of WXPN in Philadelphia. Before that, he covered arts, music and culture for KERA in Dallas. He reported on everything from the rise of NFTs in the music industry to the enduring significance of gay and lesbian bars to the LGBTQ community in North Texas.