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Five Things You Didn’t Know About the Latin American Electronic Music Scene

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Latin American electronic music is a powerful genre that has been taking over international clubs and festivals for more than two decades.

The region’s music catalog is almost as vast and diverse as the geography of the continent. Although new digital trends and the streaming monopoly have tried to stifle musical diversity in the region, Latin America is definitely much more than Reggaeton.

We are no longer talking about folkloric and traditional sounds — although these will always be our strongest roots — but about new trends between electronic music and technological innovation.

A genre with an unfavorable name

“Latintronic.” This was the name given to the youth genre that began to make waves in the South Cone nightclubs in the early 2000s. While the phenomenon of national rock and its derivatives was entering its twilight — we are talking about the Fabulosos Cadillacs, Desorden Público, Café Tacvba, and Aterciopelados — a space was opening up for another type of experimentation.

Latintronic was the digital music produced from Tijuana to Buenos Aires, passing through Bogota, Cartagena, and Sao Paulo.

Since the album “Tijuana Sessions Vol 1” by Nortec Collective, what had previously been interpreted as a simple Latin house party music, was now a countercultural movement that took off with the beginning of the new century: Latin American Electronic Music.

The reappropriation of tradition

The Latin American electronic music movement was not only underground. One only needs to remember the award won by the Argentine group Bajofondo Tango Club at the 2003 Latin Grammy Awards in the alternative music category to understand how the continent’s cultural roots had much more to offer.

To the point that icons of the new wave of the eighties and of Rock Nacional itself, such as Gustavo Cerati, embarked on their own search for the mastery of loops.

A great market for the labels

Since the birth of Club Zizek (yes, in honor of the famous and controversial Slovakian philosopher) in Argentina in 2006, labels like “ZZK Records” or Gustavo Santaolalla’s label “Vibra” decided to bet on the new scene and take over a whole new market.

Between festivals and events, artists like the Ecuadorian Nicola Cruz gave us gems like the song “Cumbia del Olvido.”

From Samba to “Caipirissima”

But once the focus shifted to Brazil, Latin American electronic music would take an unexpected leap.

Led by Amon Tobin, perhaps the greatest electronic music artist of the whole movement, the Brazilian “Chill” would conquer all the halls and even the cafés of cold northern Europe.

The phenomenon of the Latin neighborhoods

With the migratory waves of the beginning of the 21st century, Latin American electronic beats conquered all the international scenes. From New York to Barcelona, today Latin American electronic music is everywhere.

Thanks to local festivals by the hand of producers like Pia Sotomayor in Chile, to the Mexican electro-house scene, the music made in clubs like Laroc, Warung, El Fortin (in Brazil), Crobar, Cocoliche, (in Argentina) Baum, Octava, (in Colombia) Mamba and La Feria, (in Chile) are heard in all corners of the globe.