Felix Contreras

Felix Contreras is co-creator and host of Alt.Latino, NPR's pioneering program about Latin Alternative music and Latino culture. It features music as well as interviews with many of the most well-known Latinx musicians, actors, filmmakers, and writers. He has hosted and produced Alt.Latino episodes from Mexico, Colombia, Cuba, and throughout the U.S. since the show started in 2010.

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

Contreras is a recovering television journalist who has worked for both NBC and Univision in Miami and California. He's a part-time musician who plays Afro-Cuban percussion with various jazz and Latin bands in the Washington, DC, area. He is also NPR Music's resident Deadhead.

Alt.Latino host Felix Contreras offers a playlist of music that's comforting him and his listeners in these times. Listen in the audio player above and you can stream these songs by Ambar Lucid, X Alfonso, Sol Escobar, Jorge Drexler and all of Alt.Latino's favorite weekly picks on Spotify and Apple Music.

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For four days in January, Getting Funky In Havana — the title of a musical exchange between Cuba's

When I presented Cimafunk at the Alt.Latino SXSW showcase last year, it was easily one of the most dynamic performances I had seen in more than ten years of attending the annual music festival. I couldn't wait to get them behind the Tiny Desk so the band could strut its intoxicating mix of Afro-Cuban dance music and 1970s funk-and-soul from the US.

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Morning Edition's series called One-Hit Wonders / Second-Best Songs focuses on musicians or bands whose careers in the United States are defined by a single monster hit, and explai

In 2001, X Alfonso produced one of those kinds of key moments n Cuban music that reverberate long after the fact.

His album Moré, a tribute to iconic Cuban vocalist Beny Moré, made a huge impact on how compatible hip-hop was to Cuban music.

This past September, Alfonso launched a series of monthly single releases that will culminate this coming September in his first album in 10 years.

Last week, the New Orleans bands Tank and the Bangas and The Soul Rebels traveled to Havana to participate in a cultural exchange; it was meant to acknowledge the past by celebrating the present.

Listen to this playlist on Spotify or Apple Music.

Let it be known: Alt.Latino turns ten years old on June 15! We'll have a bunch of cool things to help us celebrate into June and beyond. But first, here's a batch of new music to kicks things off.


When Los Lobos gathered behind the Tiny Desk, it felt like they were cramped in the back room of a family Christmas party. "The only thing missing today are the tamales!" I told my office mates while introducing the band, a reference to a Mexican-American Christmas meal staple. The vibe in the room was definitely familia, with the presence of many longtime fans as well as folks who came for the holiday cheer, Lobos style.

Listen to this playlist on Spotify or Apple Music.

Bundle up! We're getting ready for cold weather with new songs by Lido Pimienta, Dimelo Flow, Tiger Army and David Lawrence.


Ozuna has been teasing his third album Nibiru since November... of 2018.

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