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Latin Alternative Music Conference: Ana Tijoux, El Guincho and Nortec Collective at Central Park Summerstage

Ernest Barteldes By

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Ana Tijoux, El Guincho and Nortec Collective
Latin Alternative Music Conference
Central Park Summerstage
July 7, 2010

New York, NY

The first night of the citywide Latin Alternative Music Conference—which includes concerts in various locations in Manhattan and Brooklyn—Chilean-born rapper Ana Tijoux kicked things off with a rap that seemed aimed at the anti-immigrant feelings in America, then went on with socially conscious tunes that focused on the need for unity among the different races living on the American continent.

Like many South American MCs, Tijoux tends to go into an exceptionally melodic groove, often singing the chorus in a perfect harmonic pitch. She also performed a more downtempo piece on the end of a love affair, which brought to mind the more recent work of Italy's Jovanotti (scheduled to perform at Summerstage later this month), and closed her set by inviting two Brazilian percussionists to accompany her on a tune that pretty much recounted the story of Brazil's triumph in the 1970 World Cup.

Next up was Barcelona's three-piece band El Guincho, who came onstage fueled by their country's victory over Germany during the World Cup Finals. They presented their genre-bending mix of electronics (they perform with live bass and guitar plus keyboards and beats), their tunes evidencing a clear African inspiration with mostly wordless vocals and ethnic instrumental patterns. However, after a certain amount of time they became a bit repetitive, even conveying the general sense that the group was ill-suited for a large outdoor venue like Rumsey Playfield. Their sound would have been far more interesting to hear in a smaller club, where their grooves would have attracted more dance-oriented fans.

Closing the proceedings was the event's headliner: Nortec Collective's Djs Bostich and Fussible, which came on armed with iPads and two backing musicians, their sound like a Mexican-infused Thievery Corporation. The live musicians on stage played along with the electronic grooves and samples, to the delight of the audience. It was a suitable closing at Central Park. The LAMC continued with a showcase of independent musicians at downtown Manhattan's Mercury Lounge.

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