Felix Contreras

Felix Contreras is co-host of Alt.Latino, NPR's web-based program about Latin Alternative music and Latino culture. It features music as well as interviews with many of the most well-known Latino musicians, actors, film makers and writers.

Previously, Contreras was a producer and reporter for NPR's Arts Desk and covered, among other stories and projects: a series reported from Mexico introducing the then-new musical movement called Latin Alternative; a series of stories on the financial challenges facing aging jazz musicians; and helped produce NPR's award winning series 50 Great Voices.

He once stood on the stage of the legendary jazz club The Village Vanguard after interviewing the club's owner and swears he felt the spirits of Coltrane and Monk walking through the room.

Contreras is a recovering television journalist who has worked for both NBC and Univision. He's also a part-time musician who plays Afro-Cuban percussion with various jazz and Latin bands.

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8:29am

Mon February 6, 2012
Tiny Desk Concerts

The Creole Choir Of Cuba: Tiny Desk Concert

Mallory Benedict/NPR

Just when you think you know Cuban music, along comes the Creole Choir of Cuba. This group sprang from the ashes of Grupo Vocal Desandann, a small vocal outfit created in the late 1990s to celebrate traces of Haitian culture in eastern Cuba. That history dates back to the late 18th century, when slaves from Haiti were delivered to Cuba to harvest sugarcane after successful slave revolts in Haiti. A long-lost culture was revitalized by the group through music performed largely a cappella and entirely in Haitian Creole.

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6:00am

Mon January 30, 2012
Tiny Desk Concerts

Girl In A Coma: Tiny Desk Concert

Michael Katzif NPR

One of the best features of our Tiny Desk Concert series is the occasional opportunity to hear a band perform its songs as they were written: with just an acoustic guitar and unamplified voices. That's the case with Girl In A Coma. In an interview, singer Nina Diaz said she writes the band's songs by closing herself off with just a notepad and her acoustic guitar.

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10:01pm

Tue October 18, 2011
Music

Girl In A Coma: Rockers Tackle Their Second Language

Originally published on Fri October 21, 2011 2:19 pm

Girl in a Coma performs in both English and Spanish — though none of the members is fluent in the latter.

Josh Huskin Courtesy of the artist

Girl in a Coma is a trio of young women from San Antonio who play rock music — loud rock music — in both English and Spanish. Lead singer and songwriter Nina Diaz, 23, is the youngest member of the band. Her sister Phannie plays drums, while their longtime friend Jenn Alva slaps the bass. Girl in a Coma is signed to Blackheart Records — a label owned by rocker Joan Jett — and takes its name from the song "Girlfriend in a Coma" by The Smiths.

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3:30pm

Thu August 25, 2011
The Record

A Dwindling Trust Puts Free Concerts On The Rocks

Perth Amboy, NJ's long-running free concert series is just one program threatened by loss of funding as the Music Performance Trust Fund dries up.
Felix Contreras

Over the next few weeks, we're producing stories about the business of putting on free concerts, how they work and what they bring to their communities. Last week's Weekend Edition Saturday story covered non-profit concert presenters in New York City.

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3:32pm

Tue July 26, 2011
A Blog Supreme

Frank Foster, Jazz Saxophonist And Arranger, Has Died

American jazz saxophonist Frank Foster performs on stage circa 1981.
David Redfern Redferns/Getty Images

Frank Foster, a saxophonist and composer/arranger best known for his longtime association with the Count Basie Orchestra, has died. He passed away in his sleep early Tuesday morning at his home in Chesapeake, Va., according to his widow and manager, Cecilia Foster. He was 82.

Foster was a key member of the "New Testament" Basie band — the large ensemble Basie led in the 1950s and beyond. In addition to his playing on tenor saxophone and other woodwinds, he contributed many melodies and arrangements. At least one of those tunes, "Shiny Stockings," became a jazz standard.

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