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María José Llergo: Tiny Desk Concert

In the moment that María José Llergo took her place behind the Tiny Desk, those of us lucky enough to be in the audience (and now anyone who watches the video documenting it — lucky you) were transported to her native Andalusia in southern Spain, the traditional home of flamenco.

But the Spanish music scene that Llergo is part of is exploding with new energy, too. Her vocals are based in the Arab-influenced vocal trilling of cante jondo, but like many artists from Spain these days, she uses tradition as a springboard for stylistic mash-ups with hip-hop, R&B and jazz.

Her cross-genre expressions display a nuanced balance of her respect for the deeply ingrained cultural influences left over from the 16th century that is her family background as well as 21st century music that is her day-to-day reality.

Llergo’s performance is propelled by a vivacious spirit, and her final song, “LO QUE SIENTO,” is a meditation on and homage to what it means to be a Spanish musician in this moment when the boundaries of genre and tradition can be both celebrated and expanded.




  • María José Llergo Sanchez: vocals
  • Julio Martin Macias: keyboards
  • Carlos Sosa Zambrano: drums
  • Juan Manuel Montoya: bass, guitar


  • Producer: Anamaria Sayre 
  • Director: Joshua Bryant
  • Audio Technical Director: Neil Tevault
  • Host/Series Producer: Bobby Carter
  • Editor: Maia Stern
  • Videographers: Joshua Bryant, Maia Stern, Kara Frame, Christina Shaman
  • Audio Engineer: Carleigh Strange
  • Production Assistant: Elle Mannion
  • Photographer: Michael Zamora
  • Tiny Desk Team: Hazel Cills, Ashley Pointer
  • Executive Producer: Suraya Mohamed
  • Series Creators: Bob Boilen, Stephen Thompson
  • VP, Visuals and Music: Keith Jenkins

Copyright 2024 NPR

Felix Contreras is co-creator and host of Alt.Latino, NPR's pioneering radio show and podcast celebrating Latin music and culture since 2010.