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¡Aparato! Takes Latin Music Traditions Into The Future

¡Aparato! is a Los Angeles trio that fuses rock with sounds and instruments from Mexico's <em>son jarocho</em> tradition.
¡Aparato! is a Los Angeles trio that fuses rock with sounds and instruments from Mexico's <em>son jarocho</em> tradition.

All this week, All Things Considered has been broadcasting from Southern California, a hotbed for Latin Alternative music. Felix Contreras, co-host of NPR's Alt.Latino podcast, says that even for him, that music often evades definition.

"Latin Alternative is a combination of tradition mixed with hip-hop and rock and electronica. But then sometimes it's just straight hip-hop, and that throws my theory into shambles," he says. "It's all of the above, but none of the above."

However you peg the style, he says, there's one Los Angeles-area group that's doing it right. ¡Aparato!, a trio whose name translates to "machine," fuses rock with instruments and sounds from Mexico's son jarocho tradition. While the band has yet to release a full album, it's already worked up a cult following and topped lists of the best Latin Alternative bands of the year in local alternative weekly newspapers.

Two of ¡Aparato!'s founders, Cat Mendez and Alexandro Hernández Guitérrez, joined host Audie Cornish at NPR West to explain the instruments they play, recount their past lives in punk and metal bands, and perform some music live. Hear their conversation at the audio link.

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