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21 Days of Musica Latina: Chile

Álex Anwandter
Esteban Vargas Roa
Courtesy of the artist
Álex Anwandter

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.

Traditional Andean instrumentation is the star of today's mix for 21 Days of Musica Latina. The unique sounds of the charango, trutruca, sikú and more are present in the work of these Chilean artists.

There's folklorist and ethnomusicologist Violeta Parra, who pioneered the nueva canción chilena revival in the '60s. In that same vein, there's the hugely influential folk rock band Los Jaivas, who helped Chilean folk music gain an even larger audience.

The mix also includes another turning point in Chilean music with the bands like Los Prisioneros, who helped kickstart the rock en español wave in Latin America in the '80s. Their 1990 single "Tren Al Sur" was such a huge hit that its music video was even nominated for an MTV Video Music Award.

There's also a bevy of contemporary pop musicians that have come out of Chile, like Mon Laferte, Francisca Valenzuela and Dulce y Agraz. Álex Anwandter, who produced Julieta Venegas' latest album, released a sultry, '80s-inspired synth pop project called El diablo en el cuerpo this year.

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.
Guatemalan born and Los Angeles raised, Byron Gonzalez graduated from California State University, Northridge with a Bachelor's in journalism, with an emphasis on broadcast. Shortly thereafter, Gonzalez became the program director of Los Angeles' only 24-hour Latin Alternative radio station, The Latin Alt ( He's also a Latin Roots correspondent for NPR's World Cafe program. He has dedicated his career to highlighting a wide selection of music from established, emerging and independent artists with roots in Latin America, Brazil and Spain.