The L.A. band La Santa Cecilia crafts a unique style of Latin Alternative music by mixing traditional South American rhythms with everything from tango and mariachi to rock, jazz and Afro-Cuban percussion. The sextet, named for the patron saint of musicians, is led by the enchanting voice and often eccentrically flamboyant presence of Marisol "La Marisoul" Hernandez.
The English piano-rock band Keane formed back in 1997, but it wasn't until 2004 that the group's album Hopes and Fears took off on the strength of the smash single "Somewhere Only We Know." A Best New Artist Grammy nomination followed, and in the years since, the group has released three more albums: 2006's Under the Iron Sea, 2008's Perfect Symmetry and this year's Strangeland.
Originally published on Mon September 17, 2012 3:46 pm
Singer-songwriter Langhorne Slim (real name: Sean Scolnick) took his stage name from his hometown of Langhorne in Bucks County, Pa. After studying at the Conservatory of Music at Purchase College, Slim moved to Brooklyn and built a national following by touring with The Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players. Eventually, he made his way to Portland, Ore., where he's lived since the 2009 release of Be Set Free.
Texas native Kat Edmonson possesses astonishing vocal control: She glides effortlessly between tones, and can move from a lilting falsetto to a raspy growl with ease. Her debut album, 2009's Take to the Sky, finds her exploring the roots of classic pop and jazz songs — an approach she continues on its sequel, this year's Way Down Low.
Allen Stone's smooth voice plays well against the sometimes curiously synthetic beats that characterize his songs. The soul and R&B singer hails from outside Spokane, Wash., where he began his singing career as part of his church choir. After stints in community college and Bible school, Stone brought his talents to bear with his debut album Last to Speak in 2010. The self-proclaimed hippie crafts his songs with socially conscious lyrics, and his commentary on topics ranging from the economic crisis to technological dependence is wittily pertinent.
Joe Jackson is well known as the writer of the 1979 hit "Is She Really Going Out With Him?" and for his biggest single, "Steppin' Out." Jackson — who grew up in Portsmouth, England and attended the Royal Academy of Music — has also had five Grammy nominations over his illustrious four-decade career.
Chicago-based journalist Catalina Maria Johnson hosts the 15th installment of World Cafe's Latin Roots music series. Johnson writes in Spanish and English for publications such as HOY, Revista Contratiempo, Gozamos and Nat Geo Music, and is a radio personality and host/producer for the radio program Beat Latino, which airs in Chicago, Mexico City and Berlin.
Multi-instrumentalist Kelly Pratt has recorded and toured with bands like Coldplay, Arcade Fire, LCD Soundsystem and Beirut since 2006, but he's stepped into his own spotlight since forming the sunny pop band
Brendan Benson has spent the past decade and a half curating a distinct and exciting sound, but his ascent hasn't been a smooth one. His debut album, 1996's One Mississippi, is considered a power-pop classic, but it sold poorly at the time of its release.