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21 Days of Musica Latina: Costa Rica

Las Robertas
Tatiana Pozuelo
Courtesy of the artist
Las Robertas

Editor's Note: To commemorate Hispanic Heritage Month this year, World Cafe is going on a musical tour of Latin America. Every weekday from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15, we'll spotlight the music of a different Latin American country with a curated playlist of essential tracks, fresh voices and wild cards.

Like Costa Rica itself, today's 21 Days of Musica Latina mix is bookended by musicians that represent the dual pull of the country's Pacific and Caribbean shores.

To the east, there's Costa Rican calypso. Core to the country's musical heritage, this strain of calypso grew out of Afro-Caribbean influences from West Indies immigrants. The province of Limón has been a fountain of talent, including Costa Rica's "King of Calypso," Walter Ferguson. The region is also home to Marfil, another essential act that blends reggae, soca and soul.

Westward, Indigenous folk traditions permeate the music coming out of the province of Guanacaste. The mix includes artists like Max Goldenberg, whose songwriting captures the region's geography. Bands like Malpais, who takes its name from a remote beach on the Nicoya Peninsula, have also infused Costa Rica's folk traditions with blues and jazz influences.

Then, there's Costa Rica's capital, San José. This playlist includes San José bands like Ojo de Buey, Monte and Las Robertas. That last band released their debut album, Love Is The Answer, with production from Owen Morris (Oasis, The Verve).

Enjoy, and make sure you come back tomorrow to find out where World Cafe's headed next.

Copyright 2023 XPN

Miguel Perez
Miguel Perez is a radio producer for NPR's World Cafe, based out of WXPN in Philadelphia. Before that, he covered arts, music and culture for KERA in Dallas. He reported on everything from the rise of NFTs in the music industry to the enduring significance of gay and lesbian bars to the LGBTQ community in North Texas.