Latinitas - A Strong Voice for Latina Youth

Latinitas has the wonderful privilege each year to engage in the national music festival called Austin City Limits, that takes place annually here where Latinitas was founded.  It's an amazing opportunity for our young journalists to cover one of the most widely attended music events, nationally.  Each year,the festival seeks out some of the most exciting and inspiring up and coming contemporary Latino band or musician that almost systematically blows the crowd away. For multiple years Venezuelan pop/rock/disco fusion band Los Amigos Invisibles fitted the bill, Colombia's Aterciopelados has performed and even Los Lobos has played to thousands of bilingual and bicultural fans and Latino-philes.  In 2008, the festival introduced audiences to The Gotan Project, a band with an Argentinian tango sound melded with techno, a favorite of mine.  Last year, a sweat drenched crowd chanted the hip hop / cumbia-infused choruses of Bomba Estereo from Bogota, Colombia and Austin local favorites and Prince back-up band sometimes: Grupo Fantasma. Though not technically Latino, El Bronx Mariachi enchanted audiences, also.  But despite Austin's booming Latino population, growing exponentially faster than any other subculture in town, the Latino sound line-up was lighter than ever with the "Amigos" sounding Sonambulo and Antibalas, a jazz Latino ensemble.  And, despite their esteemed performances - festival goers were deprived of the type of band that packs tens of thousands in their country of origin - but are often new and unheard of here. For us who follow rock and pop en espanol, these performances are a treat and their muted celebrity in the U.S. gives us an up close experience to a remarkable band. But, that band was just not there this year at ACL and for a Latino publisher we are left disappointed and somewhat slighted.  Italian hip hop artist Jovanatti did skat and rap in Spanish and Italian, but it just wasn't the same. I could give folk rock singer and songwriter Steve Earle a shout out for acknowledging the challenging immigrant experience in his song of the same name, but it's not the same either.  Austin is like many American cities still working in structures and expectations that there is just one type of person out there, who likes one type of music and she is the majority. The fact is a slow, near deadened response to the a wonderfully growing and changing culture of the U.S. is a tough pill to swallow because usually if anything - America likes it Latino food and music.  I look forward to someone noting this next year.

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