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Music Magazine: Sergio Mendoza, Vinyl Collectors And Tejano Punks On Film

Sergio Mendoza, shown performing for NPR in Austin, Texas, is featured in one segment of this week's episode.
Sergio Mendoza, shown performing for NPR in Austin, Texas, is featured in one segment of this week's episode.

Now and then, Alt.Latino offers programs that feature a single artist in conversation about life, art and anything else on their mind. But if we waited to speak with all of the artists who catch our attention one week at a time, it would take ... well, a long time.

So this week, we offer three shorter profiles of artists — some DJs, a musician and a pair of filmmakers — who are capturing Latino culture in three very distinct forms.

Sarah Ventre, from NPR Member station KJZZ in Phoenix, Ariz., conducts a great Q&A with Tucson musician Sergio Mendoza. He talks about his love for 1940s-style mambo and how his identity is reflected in the energetic music on his albums.

NPR assistant producer Jessica Diaz-Hurtado joins us again with a profile of some visionary young women who are using old-school vinyl records to educate themselves — and the crowds at their dances — about their parents' music and how that figures into their own identity.

Finally, I share a conversation with two young Tejano filmmakers who just created a must-see film called As I Walk Through The Valley. It's an insightful and fascinating look at music made by local artists in the Rio Grande Valley in southern Texas.

There is a dominant theme running through all three pieces that we didn't anticipate when we started this show: the various ways Latinos identify themselves through music and their shared life experiences. While there are a lot of us, we are hardly monolithic in anything, from our music to our politics.

And the beauty is in the differences.

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