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21 Days of Musica Latina: Ecuador

Julio Jaramillo
Wikimedia Commons
Julio Jaramillo

Editor's Note: To commemorate Hispanic Heritage Month this year, World Cafe is going on a musical tour of Latin America. Every weekday from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15, we'll spotlight the music of a different Latin American country with a curated playlist of essential tracks, fresh voices and wild cards.

Like many of the countries we'll explore over the course of these 21 Days of Musica Latina, we can't talk about music in this next country without mentioning the influence of Indigenous musical traditions.

In Ecuador, that influence manifests itself across all genres. From the work of folk singer-songwriter Jaime Guevara to electronic artists like Mateo Kingman, Nicola Cruz and Mala Fama.

Another essential piece of Ecuador's musical heritage is pasillo. It means "little step," and while there are iterations of this genre across Latin America, it's core to Ecuadorian culture. This mix includes crooners like Julio Jaramillo, an Ecuadorian icon whose name is synonymous with pasillo.

There's some really exciting indie, pop and rock acts in the mix, like La Máquina Camaleón, Paola Navarrete and Lolabúm. That last group released an eclectic record called Muchachito Rojo earlier this year that is excellent.

We've also included Florida musician Helado Negro, whose gorgeous 2019 album, This Is How You Smile, pulls from his experience as the son of Ecuadorian immigrants.

Enjoy, and make sure you come back tomorrow to find out where World Cafe's headed next.

Copyright 2023 XPN

Miguel Perez
Miguel Perez is a radio producer for NPR's World Cafe, based out of WXPN in Philadelphia. Before that, he covered arts, music and culture for KERA in Dallas. He reported on everything from the rise of NFTs in the music industry to the enduring significance of gay and lesbian bars to the LGBTQ community in North Texas.