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Alt.Latino Picks The Best Latin Music Of 2016

Y La Bamba's Luz Elena Mendoza released <em>Ojos Del Sol</em> this year. It's one of <em>Alt.Latino</em>'s favorites of 2016.
Gerardo Mendoza
Courtesy of the artist
Y La Bamba's Luz Elena Mendoza released Ojos Del Sol this year. It's one of Alt.Latino's favorites of 2016.

The end of the year and the holiday season come with many traditions. If you're like us, one of those traditions is compiling a list of music that made an impression during the previous 12 months.

It seems to me that each passing year brings even more exciting music from both new and familiar names. Musicians in every style of the genre we call Latin alternative music are subtly — or not so subtly — challenging expectations and redefining musical rules.

We always have to add the caveat that these lists are merely the tip of the iceberg. If you listen back to our show over the last 12 months, you'll find great tracks that are not featured in this episode. And that's OK. The small corner of the musical industry we cover is extremely healthy and bursting with vibrant, creative and visionary musicians. (Go back and explore our past year!)

In this show, you'll hear some of the highlights, including Colombia's Sidestepper; Cuba's Omar Sosa; Tucson, Ariz.'s Orkesta Mendoza; and a trio of female vocalists who impressed me with their voices and exquisitely performed music.

I say it every year, but it's true: There is simply too much great new music to take it all in from every source. So let us help you with that — every week, right here.

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Felix Contreras
Felix Contreras is co-creator and co-host of Alt.Latino, NPR's pioneering radio show and podcast celebrating Latin music and culture since 2010.