Latino USA offers insight into the lived experiences of Latino communities and is a window on the current and merging cultural, political and social ideas impacting Latinos and the nation.
Gustavo Dudamel’s Harmony In Times Of Crisis
Gustavo Dudamel is one of the most famous and acclaimed conductors in the world. He’s been the Music and Artistic Director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic since 2009, when he was just 27 years old. El maestro is the best-known graduate of El Sistema, Venezuela’s national youth music education program. In the years since, Dudamel made a name for himself conducting world-famous orchestras, running his own arts charity —The Gustavo Dudamel Foundation— and founding the Youth Orchestra Los Angeles. Even amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Dudamel has been living up to his personal passion of finding creative ways to play and expand access to music, all while stressing the importance of staying in touch with his Venezuelan roots. In this episode of Latino USA, Dudamel talks about staying indoors, calling family home, and his belief that music will inspire a stronger future for all.
La Brega, Episode 2: Levittown, Where The Good Life Begins
Alana Casanova-Burgess traces the history and development of Levittown, a massive suburb that was founded on the idea of bringing the American middle-class lifestyle to Puerto Rico during a time of great change on the island. Casanova-Burgess (herself the granddaughter of an early Levittown resident) traces back the story of the boom and bust of Levittown and explores what its shortcomings tell us about the promises of the American Dream in Puerto Rico.
La Brega, Episode 1: What Is La Brega?
In this kick off episode, host Alana Casanova-Burgess sets out to define la brega and examine what its ubiquity among boricuas really means. A brega implies a challenge we can’t really solve, so you have to hustle to get around it. In Puerto Rico, Cheo Santiago runs a social media account called Adopta Un Hoyo, where people deal with the huge problem of potholes by painting their edges white and posting photographs of craters to the site. Because the roads are rarely fixed properly, the challenges of potholes (hoyos) and what people do to fix them or get around them is a metaphorical and literal brega in Puerto Rico. Plus, the scholar Arcadio Diaz Quiñones reflects on how this useful word has its limitations, and how la brega sometimes asks too much of boricuas.
Yesika Salgado On Love, Lust, And Being A Hopeless Romantic
Yesika Salgado grew up in Los Angeles in a Salvadoran family, and she calls herself a fat, fly poet—her most recent book of poems is titled "Hermosa." Yesika and Maria start this episode with a trip to the world’s largest wholesale produce market, where they go on a quest to find the sexiest fruit. Then, they sit down to talk about how love has changed Yesika’s relationship with her body and how her literary success has shaped what she wants out of love.
Portrait Of: José Feliciano
Every holiday season, you can't help but sing along to the infectious melody of José Feliciano's 1970 mega single, "Feliz Navidad." But aside from the holiday hit, the Puerto Rican singer boasts an almost 60-year musical career and one of his specialties is recording covers like "California Dreamin'" and "La Copa Rota"—blending them with his own sound of blues, folk, soul and Latin. In this conversation with Maria Hinojosa, José Feliciano opens up about why he keeps the 70s alive and about one of his favorite relationships: the one he has with his guitar.
This story originally aired in February of 2020.
Suave: Episode 2 'The Hustle'
In this second episode of our new podcast series, Suave, Maria Hinojosa learns more about Suave’s early life in the South Bronx and the crime Suave was convicted of as a teenager in the Badlands of Philadelphia. We explore the "tough on crime" politics of the 80's and early 90's and the ruthless tactics of prosecutors that led to Pennsylvania becoming the state that sentenced the most minors in the country to life in prison without parole. Meanwhile, Suave anxiously awaits the decision from a judge that could grant him the opportunity to finally leave prison.