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Can't Stop The Beat: Three New Caribbean Artists Making Waves

<em>Alt.Latino</em>'s hosts are convinced that Cuban singer Danay Suarez is a legend in the making.
Courtesy of the artist
Alt.Latino's hosts are convinced that Cuban singer Danay Suarez is a legend in the making.

If there is a musical lesson history has taught us, it's that you cannot stop a beat. People can be imprisoned, movements can be disbanded, but music — and the ideas embedded in it — will always find a way.

The Afro-Caribbean style known as calypso is a great example. The Canboulay Riots of 1881 — a boiling-over of tensions between Trinidadians and British authorities — led to the banning of African percussion and stick fighting, which were traditional of that region's Carnaval. Folks started using bamboo sticks for percussion, but in time that, too, was banned. Eventually, people started using frying pans, dustbin lids and oil drums. Hence was born the steel pan drum style for which calypso is known today. Political independence took much longer, but the concept is the same: The beat of a drum, like the pulse of a people, cannot be banned.

This week, Alt.Latino stops by Weekend Edition Sunday to share music by some powerful Caribbean female vocalists. Danay Suarez represents Cuba's burgeoning young hip-hop scene, which is rebellious and irrepressible; Puerto Rican Raquel Sofia is independent in her song about leaving a toxic love behind; and Venezuela's Sol Okarina pays homage to calypso.

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Jasmine Garsd
Jasmine Garsd is an Argentine-American journalist living in New York. She is currently NPR's Criminal Justice correspondent and the host of The Last Cup. She started her career as the co-host of Alt.Latino, an NPR show about Latin music. Throughout her reporting career she's focused extensively on women's issues and immigrant communities in America. She's currently writing a book of stories about women she's met throughout her travels.