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This Week On Alt.Latino: New Music, And Remembering A Legend

Girl In A Coma.
Courtesy of the artist
Girl In A Coma.

If you think it's strange that we pay homage to David Bowie on Alt.Latino this week, think again. Bowie has had a tremendous fan base throughout Latin America, and he's been a strong musical influence. His talent was so great, and his work so diverse, it left few musical genres untouched.

Bowie means different things to different people. For Felix Contreras, growing up in the '70s in California, Bowie was always playing in the background. But he says really became a fan when the singer started experimenting with R&B and soul.

I discovered Bowie through the film Labrynth, and later came across Earthlings and worked my way back. He became part of my everyday sonic landscape. Whatever rough adolescent territory I was navigating, I could pop on headphones and travel to Mars. For many friends who were discovering their own sexual identity as teenagers, early Bowie also offered a glimmer of hope that life could be fun and wild and filled with color.

What many don't know is that, if Latinos were tuning in to Bowie, he was also tuning in to us. One of Bowie's favorite books was Junot Diaz's The Brief Wondrous Life Of Oscar Wao. He was a fan of Brazilian singer Seu Jorge. In fact, he said Jorge's covers of his music made him rediscover some of his own work. "Had Seu Jorge not recorded my songs in Portuguese," he said, "I would never have heard this new level of beauty which he has imbued them with."

This week on Alt.Latino, in addition to new music, we're spinning some Latin Bowie tributes. We hope you'll write in and share your own favorite Bowie memories and songs.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Jasmine Garsd
Jasmine Garsd is an Argentine-American journalist living in New York. She is currently NPR's Criminal Justice correspondent and the host of The Last Cup. She started her career as the co-host of Alt.Latino, an NPR show about Latin music. Throughout her reporting career she's focused extensively on women's issues and immigrant communities in America. She's currently writing a book of stories about women she's met throughout her travels.