After what seems like a lifetime of pause, KEXP’s El Sonido was able to return this year to Vive Latino in Mexico City. The music festival is one of the most important in Latin America and showcases talent from its home country of Mexico as well as across Latin America and the world. Its vast yet somehow intimate location at the grounds of CDMX’s Foro Sol is the perfect opportunity to reconnect with the live scene, while having an incredible time running from stage to stage, offering some of the best in Latin and global talent. Vive Latino holds a special place in the heart of El Sonido as both the first place that Chilly witnessed Latin bands live abroad as a wellspring of inspiration for the preliminary years of the radio program and also as the last “pre-pandemic” large-scale festival in the world which Albina Cabrera attended during the spring of 2020.
Both Chilly and Albina were more than exuberant to return, this time together, to some sense of big festival normalcy to discover new bands, make interviews with global Latin talent, and witness some of the best performances of the year so far.
Read our report or listen to it below.
The young Argentine MC and singer has already established himself as a star from his freestyle battle wins to his recent string of hits on radio and Youtube. He’s one of the most-watched artists on the global trap/hip-hop scene. His highly anticipated live performance at Vive Latino was met with a huge crowd who was undisappointed with a raucus live set that featured a full band as backup. We were lucky enough to meet with him to not only discuss his rise and music, but for an in-depth discussion about his musical inspirations. For such a young artist it was impressive to talk about his deep knowledge of the history of rap and funk, from the United States to Latin America, as well as his thoughts on the connection and importance between a variety of scenes from SoCal to Buenos Aires, as well as the kinship between rap, reggae, funk a beyond.
We came from a long wait after the Mexican composer Julieta Venegas published La Enamorada in 2019. Her recent collaborations, from "Lo Siento BB" with the Puerto Rican superstar Bad Bunny, to singles like "Cecilia," the official soundtrack of the Paramount + series of the same name, confirm that Julieta is a key voice in alternative Latin music. Two days before her live show at Vive Latino in Mexico City, the author of "Limón y Sal," "Andar Conmigo," "Me Voy," among many other beautiful songs, released "Mismo Amor," which anticipates her new album. For this new work, she is composing and producing together with the Chilean artist and personal friend, Alex Anwandter.
Another highlight of the festival, and most festivals, was getting a chance to hear and talk with artists that we hadn’t really known before. Another new favorite of ours was Daniel Quién from Mazatlán, Mexico. His cool demeanor and infectiously touching pop-folk songwriting will undeniably extend your sleeve on which to place your heart.
What C. Tangana presented at Vive Latino was beyond a regular concert performance. It was theater, and it was family. And it was a family everyone was, at least momentarily, born into. Not only have all of us music lovers waited years to be in a crowd of thousands watching an incredible artist perform one of the best albums of recent memory in a live setting, but we’ve been waiting to see if we’d be immersed in the story and the show of El Madrileño. We were. We crawled into the screen of the videos from the record and sat at the table together with the artists in the fusion of sounds that bridge pop, electronics, bachata, folk, reggaeton, flamenco, and more. The seamless flow of set changes and collaborations, in this case with a specifically Mexican (and, of course, Spanish) take, unfolded in front of us, highlighting both our favorites from his newest record as well as other hits.
One of the most outstanding acts of the 2022 edition was the Colombian artist based in Canada, Lido Pimienta, who unfolded songs from her successful album Miss Colombia on the Vive Latino stage. Her work has become an essential presence in the lineups of festivals worldwide. Lido is touring around the United States and Latin America and has added great opening artists such as Combo Chimbita and Y La Bamba to her long-awaited tour.
During her show at VL 2022, the author of “Nada,” “Te Quería,” and “Resisto y Ya” invited the Mexican artist La Bruja de Texcoco, and together, they starred in one of the best moments of the festival.
Our stay in Mexico was completed with the fulfilled dream of having been able to broadcast El Sonido from CDMX for the first time. We had the pleasure of allying ourselves with our friends from Radio Aire Libre, who have been building independent radio around independent music and content for years. We shared words and music with the host Raquel Miserachi and enjoyed broadcasting radio live from Latin America. Thanks to the many people, artists, and staff from KEXP and Aire Libre who worked to make it possible, Chilly and Albina did three hours of Latin American alternative music, focused on Mexico and the Ibero-American lineup of Vive Latino 2022. You can listen to this special show in its entirety below:
Special thanks to our photographer Geraldine Sanabria, Itzel Flores, the Vive Latino staff, Febe Esquerra, and the entire Aire Libre family.
As KEXP celebrates its 50th anniversary, we’re looking back at the last half-century of music. Each week in 2022, KEXP pays homage to a different year and our writers are commemorating with one song from that year that resonates with them. This week, Albina reflects on the 2016 Y La Bamba song “Ojo…
We will be attending the 2022 edition of Isle of Light, the Dominican festival, which will take place next March 12 in Santo Domingo with performances by Jungle, C. Tangana, Sublime with Rome, Yendry, Tokischa, and more. These are our outstanding Ibero-American acts from their lineup.