Latin Rock in NYC tends to be Argentine, Mexican and Venezuelan.
Latin Rock has come a long way from Ritchie Valens’ “La Bamba” in 1958. Latin Rock developed first in Argentina, Brazil and Mexico. In the early days, playing Rock could get you beaten up, jailed, or worse. Now rockeamos el mundo (we rock the world).
This page is about Hard Rock. Soft rock and Rock fusions are now called Latin Alternative.
Latin Rock NYC Venues
- Barclays Center is an arena in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn.
- Brooklyn Bowl is a bowling alley in Williamsburg brooklynbowl.com
- Iridium is a guitar club in the Times Square Theater District.
- La Boom is a Latin disco in Woodside, Queens.
- Le Poisson Rouge is a nightclub in Greenwich Village
- Madison Square Garden is an arena in Chelsea.
- Music Hall of Williamsburg is a concert hall in Brooklyn.
- National Sawdust is a nightclub in Williamsburg, Brooklyn
- SOB’s Sound of Brazil is a nightclub in Hudson Square, Manhattan
- Terminal 5 is a concert hall in Hell’s Kitchen. terminal5nyc.com
- United Palace is a Latin theater in Washington Heights.
Latin Rock NYC News
His brilliant fusion of jazz and rock with Afro-Dominican folk make you want to dance. 🇩🇴 🇭🇹
HARLEM STAGE: Manhattanville, West Harlem
Friday, December 1, 2023
Los Amigos Invisibles, Tall Juan
Monday, February 13, 2023
CARNEGIE HALL CITYWIDE
LGBT COMMUNITY CENTER
West Village, NYC
February 15, 1969
The Annette A Aguilar Trio, featuring Uruguayan guitar hero Bele Beledo, plays late night jazz on New Year’s Eve morning at the Uptown Garrison in Hudson Heights, Manhattan on Sunday, January 1, 2023 from 1:30-4:30am. No cover. 🇧🇷🇳🇮🇺🇾
Emmy, Grammy, and Golden Globe-nominated, New York Jamaican bassist Russell Hall; celebrates Dr. Reverend Martin Luther King Jr with a jazz concert for the World Music Institute; in the BAMcafé at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) on Friday, January 13, 2023 at 9pm. FREE! 🇺🇸
Locobeach plays psychedelic cumbia rock at the Sultan Room in Bushwick, Brooklyn on Friday, January 13, 2023 at 11pm. $20. 🇻🇪
Musical collective Harriet Tubman (Brandon Ross, Melvin Gibbs and JT Lewis) celebrates Dr. Reverend Martin Luther King Jr for the World Music Institute with a jazz rock concert in the BAMcafé at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) on Saturday, January 14, 2023 at 9pm. FREE! 🇺🇸
Edna Vázquez blends Mexican mariachi and American folk, pop and rock into something fabulous for Carnegie Hall Citywide; at the LGBT Community Center in Manhattan’s West Village; on Monday, February 13, 2023 at 7:30pm. FREE! 🏳️🌈🇲🇽
¡Fuerza Positiva!, the CCCADI Hurricane Fiona Puerto Rico Benefit for artists and cultural workers in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean, features great Rock, Bomba, Plena, and Jazz at City Winery in Chelsea, Manhattan on Thursday, October 6, 2022 at 8pm. (6pm doors). From $25. citywinery.com 🇵🇷
Mexican Pop-Rock-Folk singer-songwriter Natalia Lafourcade makes her Carnegie Hall debut on the Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage on Thursday, October 27, 2022 at 8pm. 🇲🇽
Opera and musical theatre producer Beth Morrison Projects presents song cycles by three great African and Diaspora singers: Zimbabwean gwenyambira (musical storyteller & healer) Tanyaradzwa Tawengwa-Nzou Mambano, New York Rocker Yaz Lancaster, and classical electronic film score composer Tamar-kali whose roots are in the South Carolina coastal islands, at Harlem Stage in Manhattanville, West Harlem on Friday-Saturday, October 28-29, 2022 at 7:30pm. From $25. 🇿🇼🇺🇸
The Afropunk music festival is at Commodore Barry Park in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, Saturday-Sunday, September 10-11, 2022. From $110. 🌍🇺🇸
Vieux Farka Touré plays Malian Rock at Le Poisson Rouge in Greenwich Village on Fri, May 20 at 7:30pm (6:30pm doors). From $25. 🇲🇱
Elefante and Inspector play Mexican Rock at La Boom in Woodside, Queens on Fri, Mar 4 at 10pm. From $45. 🇲🇽
Espécimen plays Mexican Punk Rock for dancing at La Boom in Woodside, Queens on Sun, Feb 6 at 10pm. $50. 🇲🇽
Rata Blanca plays Argentine Rock at La Boom in Woodside, Queens on Fri, Nov 5, 2021 at 10pm (7pm doors). From $45. 🇦🇷
Latin Rock Festivals in NYC
LAMC, the Latin Alternative Music Conference is New York City’s big Latin rock festival. Summer festivals like SummerStage, BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn and Lincoln Center Out of Doors always include some great Latin rockers. Afropunk is the big Latin rock festival.
The Latin Alternative
Now we Rock en Español. If you are a certain age, you’ll remember how great it felt to hear people rocking in your own language for the first time. You didn’t have to just lip sync anymore. Now you could sing along because you understood the words, and the words spoke to your own experience.
Rock and Roll is rebellious. Latins don’t rebel against their parents, but Latin rockers rebel against tyrannic governments.
The story of Latin rock is the story of Latin America finding its own voice. After years of covering or translating European and American bands, Latin America began expressing itself through the Rock Nacional of Argentina and Tropicália of Brazil. For Mexico and the States, it was Mexican American Carlos Santana who rocked the world.
These are some of the highlights of Latin rock.
- Latin Rock begins with Ritchie Valens’ “La Bamba” (1958)
- Argentine Rock Nacional started with “La Balsa” (1967) by Beatles lookalikes Los Gatos, and music by Almendra and Manal.
- Tropicália with Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil (1968) and Os Mutantes (1968)
- Carlos Santana’s “Evil Ways” (1969)
- Gustavo Santaolalla’s Arco Iris (1969).
- Buenos Aires Rock Festival (1970)
- Latin Alternative of Natalia Lafourcade and many others.
Gustavo Santaolalla was one of the visionaries of Rock Nacional. He later moved to the U.S. where he became the godfather of Rock en Español. His Bajofondo (2002-now) was part of the electronic neotango movement. Santaolalla began producing and scoring soundtracks. He produced “Amores Perros” and “The Motorcycle Diaries.” He later won two Academy Awards for scoring “Brokeback Mountain” in 2005 and “Babel” in 2006.
In the same way that rock became soft rock, Latin rock has become Latin Alternative. Nacional Records in Los Angeles leads this movement. They produce the LAMC, Latin Alternative Music Conference in New York City in the summer.
Rock and Roll is African American. It’s Rebellion is American, but it’s Playfulness is Caribbean
Rock and roll derives from blues, jazz and swing and also gospel, folk and country. Artists like Elvis Presley (That’s All Right, 1954) and Bill Haley cashed in on it (Rock Around the Clock, 1955), but rock ‘n’ roll was created by African American artists playing in juke joints, the roadside dance halls of the American South.
The music was refined by artists like Goree Carter (Rock Awhile, 1949), Ike Turner (Rocket 88, 1951), Chuck Berry (Maybellene, 1955),Little Richard (Long Tall Sally, 1956), and even others who went before them.
Rock and roll’s naughty lyrics, playfulness and willingness to bend the rules are Caribbean culture. When everything is taken away, you still have your body, so you learn to enjoy it a lot. When life is hard, you have to bend the rules to survive. You make fun of everything to keep your head on straight.
Rebelling against the older generation is very American. Latins cherish their families so there is less of that. Rock and roll is American, but its playfulness comes from the Caribbean.