In 2022, NPR are presenting an unprecedented display of Latin music via the Tiny Desk (home) concerts series for their Latinx Heritage Month, from September 15 through October 15. The Latinx series kicks off with reggaetón superstar J Balvin (yes, J Balvin previously performed a Tiny Desk) and the all-star array of talent also includes Omar Apollo, Carin León, Girl Ultra, Trueno, Jessie Reyez, Susana Baca, Tokischa, Carla Morrison, and Farruko.
NPR’s Felix Contreras says, “Genres and cultural inspirations are blended and blurred in just about all of the performers on the list for the month. Eme Alfonso’s gorgeous mix of Santería and soul, Diamante Eléctrico’s mix of Afro-Colombian roots music and modern pop, are just two examples. In fact, a closer examination of J Balvin’s rise reveals the transnational journey of reggaetón from the Jamaican community of Panama City to the mixtapes of Afro-Puerto Rican streets to the ex-pat communities of Brooklyn, and finally the worldwide dominance after “Despacito.””
He adds: “Latin music can mean a lot of things. From your parents’ favorite boleros reimagined to cumbia-punk, trapchata and the most PG-13 pop, our Alt. Latino podcast has got you you covered. There’s no living room in the world large enough to contain this pachanga.”
“It’s no accident that reggaetón’s musical trail also mirrors the many paths of immigration, as people move to and fro in search of better lives in new lands or, sometimes, new neighborhoods. So many stories of Latin musicians can be traced in the same fashion, and for Hispanic HerItage Month, for the next 30 days, NPR reach out through ‘El Tiny,’ the Alt. Latino podcast, their weekly Spotify and Apple Music playlists and Instagram feeds to tell those stories.”
Elsewhere in ‘Tiny Desk’-related news, Angélique Kidjo, who was named one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in 2021–stopped by NPR to help celebrate the 1,000th Tiny Desk performance. The intimate video concert series started in 2008 as an opportunity for producer Bob Boilen to feature acoustic versions of his favorite artists and performers. The concerts have achieved global fame with artists from all over the world wanting to play at the workplace whose shelves are filled with years of awards and music collectibles.