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11 Music Bands that Own the Streets of LA

Punk, cumbia, new wave, reggae — there’s a legion of Latino music bands from Los Angeles that are borrowing rhythms from all over the globe and making them their own. Here are 11 essential LA bands you should check out.

La Chamba Cumbia Chicha

Photo Credit: The Get Down Collective / Facebook

They carve a Peruvian sound with an East LA twist and a band name that means “to put in work.” Think cumbia with guitar leads and heavy bass lines. A working-class message that is, as they put it, “adding a rhythm to the daily bustle of life.”

More: Facebook, Bandcamp

Las Cafeteras

Photo Credit: Las Cafeteras / Facebook

This is an active group that has unapologetically created a hybrid sound of Son Jarocho, hip hop and pop. An East LA music scene staple with an infectious, politically conscious sound, Las Cafeteras have created a sound that crosses generational lines.

More: Official Site, Facebook

Chicano Batman

Photo Credit: Josué Rivas / chicanobatman.com

Their most recent achievement is being added to the lineup for Coachella 2015. Led by Mexican-Colombian Bardo Martinez, their sound is probably the most experimental on this list. Blend romantic ’70s Latin American music with its heavy keyboard sound add a Pink Floyd feel and sprinkle with funk.

More: Official Site, Facebook

READ: Irene Diaz – From Trader Joe’s to Touring Musician

Thee Commons

Photo Credit: Cristian Vargas / Facebook

With a new approach to an old vibe, this three-piece band brings an aggressive, stripped down sound — think cumbia channeling punk. A rebellious, youthful is sure to win over new fans; their covers of Selena and Los Caminantes are must-listens. With nine independent albums last year alone, their momentum keeps growing.

More: Facebook, Bandcamp

Viento Callejero

Photo Credit: Farah Stop / Facebook

This is the band that other bands go see. They are open to many sounds but the thread that binds them together is funk. Also a three-piece, the difference is that Viento Callejero have rotating singers, so the focus is the sound. The technique seems to be working for them as they are quickly gaining traction throughout the Los Angeles music scene.

More: Official Site, Facebook

Buyepongo

Photo Credit: Buyepongo / Facebook

Mixing afro beats with hip hop swag, Buyepongo has been hitting the scene hard for a few years. If you’ve ever been to one of their shows, you know that the groove will have you dancing all night long. Hailing from Norwalk, Calif., this group keeps the party going well into the morning hours.

More: Official Site, Facebook

Boogaloo Assassins

Photo Credit: Wendy Le / Facebook

The musical is in the bands’ name, boogaloo, a genre that took root in New York City. Thrown into this mix of 60s sounds are soul, salsa and other Latin rhythms. They’ve been active since 2007 and have a strong following throughout Southern California. It’s like having a slice of New York in Los Angeles.

More: Official Site, Facebook

Zapoteca Roots

Photo Credit: Zapoteca Roots / Facebook

Reggae meets Sonidero. What sets this group apart is the it has created. The “Sonidero” sound is a Mexican type of cumbia that has many fans in LA, and Zapoteca Roots caters to them. They create a contemporary vibe that will bring back memories of family gatherings and quinceañeras.

More: Facebook, Twitter

ECNO (El Conjunto Nueva Ola)

Photo Credit: ECNO / Facebook

ECNO has managed to turn New Wave ’80s classics into new cumbia mash ups. This Mexico City band hit the scene with a fury and acquired fans just as quickly. But they don’t consider themselves a cover band. They’re more interested in keeping the new wave melodies and giving the lyrics new life. Oh, and they wear luchador masks.

More: Official Site, Facebook

La Santa Cecilia

Photo Credit: La Santa Cecilia / Facebook

Perhaps the best known band on this list is Latin Grammy Award-winner La Santa Cecilia. They’ve come a long way from playing free fundraisers. Lead vocalist “Marisoul” has a voice that many have compared to classic rock icon Janis Joplin. An eclectic sound that covers a wide range of genres has been key to their success.

More: Official Site, Facebook

El-Haru Kuroi

Photo Credit: El-Haru Kuroi / Facebook

This bossa nova-influenced trio has been under the radar but they’ve definitely got a of their own. They combine Mexican, Central American and African sounds and rhythms at a pace that echoes punk. This year they plan on expanding their fan base by taking their blistering sound to the midwest.

More: Official Site, Facebook

Read: Yes, Latinos Were Present During the Birth of Hip Hop

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Kali Uchis’ “Telepatía” is Becoming a Global Hit Thanks to TikTok

Latidomusic

Kali Uchis’ “Telepatía” is Becoming a Global Hit Thanks to TikTok

Through the power of TikTok, telepatia kali uchis is going to the top. The Colombian-American singer is sitting comfortably in the top 10 of Spotify’s Top 200 chart in the U.S. thanks to a TikTok trend.

This isn’t the first time that TikTok brought new fame to songs.

TikTok has proven to be quite the catalyst for today’s top hits. The app assisted in getting Olivia Rodrigo’s “drivers license” to the top of Billboard Hot 100 chart, where it remains. TikTok also reinvigorated interest in Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams” last year thanks to Doggface’s viral video. Now Uchis is getting her long overdue shine with “Telepatía.”

“Telepatía” is becoming a global hit thanks to the same phenomenon.

At No. 7 on the Spotify U.S. chart, “Telepatía” is the highest-charting Latin song in the country. Bad Bunny’s “Dákiti” with Jhay Cortez is the next closest Latin song at No. 14. “Telepatía” is also making waves across the globe where the song is charting on Spotify’s Viral Charts in 66 countries and in the Top Songs Charts of 32 countries.

There’s also plenty of “Telepatía” memes.

Uchis is turning the viral song’s success into strong sales and streaming. On this week’s Billboard Hot Latin Songs chart, “Telepatía” debuts at No. 10, marking her first top 10 hit on the chart. There are also memes circulating on other social media apps that are contributing to the song’s virality.

“Telepatía” is one of the key cuts on Uchis’ debut Latin album, Sin Miedo (del Amor y Otros Demonios). It’s the best example of her translating that alternative soul music that she’s known for into Spanish. The song is notably in Spanglish as Uchis sings about keeping a love connection alive from a distance. It’s timely considering this era of social distancing that we’re in during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Uchis is currently nominated for a Grammy Award. She’s up for Best Dance Recording for her feature on Kaytranada’s “10%” song.

Read: You Have To Hear Kali Uchis Slay This Classic Latino Song

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Kehlani Dresses as Both Prom King and Queen on Cover of ‘Playboy’, Talks Feeling Comfortable in Both Gender Roles

Entertainment

Kehlani Dresses as Both Prom King and Queen on Cover of ‘Playboy’, Talks Feeling Comfortable in Both Gender Roles

Photo via kehlani/Instagram

Kehlani has long been open about the fluid nature of her gender expression. That’s why it’s exciting that the R&B star is experimenting with different facets of her personality on the most recent cover of Playboy.

In a bold move, Kehlani appears on Playboy‘s latest cover dressed in both (traditionally) women and (traditionally) men’s clothing.

And as if one Kehlani isn’t exciting enough, the magazine cover treats us to two versions of this Oakland native. On the left side of the magazine, Kehlani is dressed up as a Prom Queen, complete with a resplendent gown and a tiara. On the cover’s right side, Kehlani is dressed in Prom King drag: her tie undone, her collar open, her crown askew.

She shared the picture to her personal Instagram page with the cheeky caption: “I always wanted to date me.”

In the accompanying interview, Kehlani talks about gender identity and expression, motherhood, and owning her sexuality.

When Kehlani was asked how she defines masculinity and femininity, Kehlani got refreshingly candid. “I’ve discovered that I’ve run from a lot of femininity,” she admitted. “I was way more comfortable in a more masculine space. I feel more masculine when I am in my stillness and I’m grounded in a quiet, contemplative mode.”

She then explained that she feels “most feminine” when she’s “being the mother of my house.” (Kehlani had a baby girl named Adeya Nomi in 2019). She also explained that she “feels her femininity” when she ‘s indulging in self-care, like soaking in a flower-filled bath, or doing a hair mask.

“My femininity makes me feel soft and gentle and tender and careful in a different way than my masculinity makes me feel,” she said. “I’m trying not to let it fall into the gender norms of feminine and masculine, but for me it does a tiny bit. But I also am very fluid in both of those settings.”

Kehlani has always been open about her fluid sexuality and gender identity.

In 2018, she tweeted: “Not bi, not straight. I’m attracted to women, men, REALLY attracted to queer men, non-binary people, intersex people, trans people”.

But of course, haters on the internet accused her of “queer-baiting”–that is, pretending she’s queer to get more LGBT fans and attract attention. In an interview with The Guardian last year, she revealed why the accusation frustrates her.

“I’ve had girlfriends in front of people’s faces, right under their noses, and they weren’t famous and so nobody cared to make it public,” she said. “So they automatically assume that I must like men more than women.”

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