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Women Who Rock -- In Spanish

Madame Marie du Deffand, a French hostess and patron of the arts, once said, "Women are never stronger than when they arm themselves with their weaknesses."

We wish she could tune into this week's edition of Alt.Latino, in which we celebrate the fantastically strong, talented women who rock in Spanish. And who better to guide us through the world of Latina rock than Andrea Echeverri, lead singer of the Colombian band Aterciopelados? We gave her a call and asked her to pick her favorite women who rock, as well as women who inspire rock.

Echeverri started off with folk icon Mercedes Sosa and picked some established rock musicians, such as Juana Molina and Julieta Venegas. Then she introduced us to some amazing new alternative artists who shouldn't be missed.

Although this week's show aired three centuries too late for Madame du Deffand to listen to, it's not too late for you to listen to Echeverri's picks, and tell us who your favorite Latina rockers are, present and past.

This week's theme song is "Caribe Atomico" by Aterciopelados. To learn more about the band, visit itswebsite.

Copyright 2024 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

La Flor Azul

Andrea Echeverri picked Argentine folk goddess Mercedes Sosa because of Sosa's larger-than-life personality and voice. "She reminds me of mountains," Echeverri says. Sosa passed away in 2009, having paved the way for fierce female musicians across the Americas.

Hear "La Flor Azul" on YouTube.

Un Dia

Juana Molina started out as a comedian in her native Argentina. Her quirky sense of humor is visible in her unique musical work. In "Un Dia," she sings about her desire to change her ways over a frantic, repetitive mechanical hum that makes listeners think of the mundane everyday life Molina seems to want to escape.

Limón y Sal

It's no wonder Mexican singer Julieta Venegas landed on Andrea Echeverri's list of women who rock in Spanish. Venegas is a talented musician (she plays guitar, piano and accordion) with a sweet but powerful voice. In "Limon y Sal," she lists her lover's flaws, but says she loves him all the same.


Francisca Valenzuela is lesser-known than the previous musicians, but the young performer has already been crowned "Princess of Rock 'n' Roll" by the Chilean press. With a voice reminiscent of Fiona Apple and killer piano skills, Valenzuela raised eyebrows with her debut album, Muerdete La Lengua ("Bite Your Tongue"). "Dulce" ("Sweet") is an ode to women who refuse to be made of "sugar and spice" and play nice.


On this week's show, Andrea Echeverri confessed her love of Chile and its music scene -- from legends like Violeta Parra to a rising star like Camila Moreno. Moreno may be young, but her music has intensity, passion and sociopolitical commentary well beyond her years. "Millones" ("Millions") is a cry against international corporations, in particular pharmaceutical companies, and their effect on native lands throughout the Americas. The lyrics capture the everyday nature of environmental horror: She sings about drinking tea in her kitchen while millions of souls suffer.

Jasmine Garsd
Jasmine Garsd is an Argentine-American journalist living in New York. She is currently NPR's Criminal Justice correspondent and the host of The Last Cup. She started her career as the co-host of Alt.Latino, an NPR show about Latin music. Throughout her reporting career she's focused extensively on women's issues and immigrant communities in America. She's currently writing a book of stories about women she's met throughout her travels.
Felix Contreras
Felix Contreras is co-creator and co-host of Alt.Latino, NPR's pioneering radio show and podcast celebrating Latin music and culture since 2010.