In our continuing quest for the best in world music, we’re skipping the next alphabetical country, the Holy See, which is another name for the Vatican. We’re guessing Pope Francis and his posse are not working on any secular tunes any time soon, so we’re venturing over to Honduras this week. This emerging, mountainous Central American nation carries a lush Mestizo culture, borrowing from Spanish and Mayan influences. Here are five music acts from the verdant country you need to know about.
The pumped-up urban duo of Csarec and Jimmy James have been turning up the heat in San Pedro Sula for about 10 years now. The Telegraph credits them as the lead purveyors of the country’s pop scene, with cheery barnburners such as 2015’s “Hula Hoop.” They’ve shared the stage with Pitbull, Marc Anthony and other Latin music luminaries, and continue to celebrate Honduran pride through high-octane dance numbers.
This collective is also known as Reinas del Sabor (Queens of Flavor) for good reason: Their catchy, rhythmic songs are earworms in any language. Female and male vocals trade barbs and sweet nothings, all while a cavalcade of beauties perform the punta catracha, a complex, hip-shaking dance form. LCZ are the full package when it comes to crystal-clear voices and impressive steps.
By showcasing a variety of Honduran working women in her video for “MUSA,” rapper and graffiti artist Graff sheds light on a devastating national issue: the high rate of femicide and uninvestigated assaults. Honduras is considered one of the most dangerous countries in which to be a woman, according to a recent ABC News report, with murders, forced amputations and even threats to children being made daily. Graff and her “Dolls Clan” fight the oppressive machismo of gang life with positive portrayals of their sisters and their defenders. Her rhymes and flow are reminiscent of the late, great Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes of TLC.
Where Graff counters violence with art and aggression, Adoremos fight it with faith. These Christian rockers incorporate group vox with giddy instrumentation that reminds us of a mix of the Carpenters and Of Monsters and Men. They’re a productive crew, with more than a half-dozen albums under their belt, including the new Hijo (Son) out June 16. Theirs is an uplifting brand, whether you share their religion or not. Their host of tones, from a reverent soprano to a hearty baritone, gives an unexpected twist to these sectarian tunes.
No quality, consumable-length videos exist of Balto Pinto’s lush techno—a pity, because his music defies time or locale. He has major followings in Europe and in Latin America, thanks to his blend of gothic electronica and untiring modern EDM. He’s been going strong for more than 10 years, solidifying his legacy among some of the world’s most enduring and adaptable DJs. He also runs REEF, the Roatan Electronic Experience Festival. (Thanks to El Heraldo for the recommendation!)
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