September 27, 2021
This month, we’re celebrating the Latinx artists transforming house and techno music as we know it. Artists on this list originate from Lima, Guadalajara, and Bogota to name a few, but their music transcends borders and even genres. These 10 musicians are purveyors of new flavors of house and techno, inspiring their peers in the genre to experiment with sounds, sin miedo. These artists are tastemakers and community builders—working to keep the music scene thriving in their respective cities like Los Angeles and Mexico City, after the past two harrowing years. Their projects are infused with the vibrant sounds of colorful indigenous instruments, lyrics of cultural lore, and ancestral wisdom. Get to know these 10 Latinx producers and musicians, you’re sure to see them on the main stage at a festival near you soon enough!
Born in Lima, Peru, Sofia Kourtesis had a trans-Atlantic education between New York and Hamburg. After organizing many university parties in Berlin, the young jetsetter aptly became a club booker, working some of Hamburg's most renowned clubs such as Prinzenbar, Docks, and Große Freiheit 36. Kourtesis eventually graduated to the mixing deck in Berlin’s Funkhaus and caught the attention of several high-profile fashion houses, like Levis and Adidas. Since then, Kourtesis has played at several festivals and released widely acclaimed projects. Her first two EPs, the 2019 self-titled Sofia Kourtesis and last year’s Sarita Colonia, were both deemed cult hits. Kourtesis’ brand of house music is so uniquely and distinctly hers—much of her work features distorted, harmonized vocals and splintered film samples, expertly weaved into joyful, buoyant house music that only Kourtesis can create. Her latest EP, Fresia Magdalena, is as pulsing as her previous EPs, though more meditative and reflective.
After spending a few years creating and djing independently around Spain, Sandro Merlucci and Jacobo Morata decided to meld their professional projects into one musical persona—Sandjake. The Madrid duo’s discography hovers over tech-house territory, though many of their latest drops have a classic house sound, heavy on drums and synths.
The Colombian composer is finishing up her BBC Radio 1 residency this Thursday and has recently announced she’ll be supporting Caribou on his 2022 tour. Her work has a consistent theme, that dissent is vital and necessary. “I want people to feel like they have the power to change the world,” she recently told Pitchfork. The techno producer believes that small acts can lead to big changes. Her debut album, acts of rebellion, is as jarring as it is hopeful. Minus creates powerfully evocative techno that is layered and driving with breathy, minimalistic vocals—it’s a beautiful combination and a unique one at that.
26-year-old Mexican musician Suricata, produces house music, big-room, and electronic dance music in Mexico City. He incorporates indigenous sounds into the context of rave culture in Mexico City’s electronic music landscape through his work. “Music is not the expression of ideas but the experience of ideas, that same fact has always made sound the perfect tool for self-transformation,” said the house artist. He works with Drecords.mx in the neighborhood of La Doctores in México City, whose current roster includes other Latinx techno and house acts, Kitschy Kitsch, Prudd, and CasaNegra.
Prudd has DJed in clubs all around Mexico City, London, Palma de Mallorca, and Tulum within the past decade. His projects are hypnotic, filled with plenty of layers of oscillating deep chords and rhythms. This Latinx DJ, hailing from Guadalajara, México, doesn’t shy away from experimenting slightly into the realms of dub techno and minimal house. His latest EP features expertly integrated sequencers and intensive drum machines to create these warm, memorable techno tracks you won’t readily forget.
Born in Monterrey, Mexico, the LA-based producer known as Leimantour brings live instruments to his mixes and does his own vocals and live percussion. Leimantour’s latest projects fluctuate between melodic house & techno, and progressive house. His work is powered by driving basslines and vibrant sounds and melodies that ricochet throughout his projects, inspiring a fresh take on techno and house music, ultimately honing his unique recipe of music. Leimantour is a tour de force, and one musical act not to be missed.
Bryan Dálvez is a Latinx producer and visual designer based in Mexico City. His musical endeavor, El Irreal Veintiuno, hybridizes euphoric sounds with peripheral tribal rhythms to explore new possibilities within contemporary Latinx club music. Dálvez’s music strikes perfectly between ancestral spirit and electronic dance music. He regularly DJs throughout Mexico City and is highly active within the capital’s electronic music scene. His latest releases are introspective and incredibly danceable. Tracks dropped within the last year have ranged from footwork-cumbia anthems to dance-floor ready tribal house cuts, intense and full of personal and mythological narratives.
Argentinian violinist, vocalist, and multi-instrumentalist Heidi Lewandowski, known in the Latinx electronic music scene as Kaleema, produces uplifting, experimental electronic music. The classically trained artist released her debut album in 2017, Nómada, which was positively received, in large part for her seamless execution of pairing irresistible hypnotic electronic elements with traditional Latin American instrumentals. Kaleema’s latest studio album, Útera, is an immersive experience—one that is full of sophisticated electronic arrangements that merge into downtempo and elegant, electronic ambient sounds.
Pelada is a Montreal-based electronic duo that produces a blend of techno and club music featuring themes of power, gender, and environmental politics. The duo consists of Tobias Rochman, who produces for the duo, and vocalist Chris Vargas. Their work as Palada spans various styles of dance music from house to cumbia. Vargas’ cutting vocals and biting lyrics sung in Spanish, paired alongside Rochman’s pulsing techno music, create a dynamic listening experience.
Mitú is Colombia’s best electronic music act. The duo, formed by Julián Salazar on synths, and Franklin Tejedor on percussions, create techno with a primal flavor. Salazar played guitar for Bomba Estéreo for over a decade and Tejedor comes from a lineage of San Basilio de Palenque musicians—the town was the first free black town of the new world, and as such was classified by UNESCO as an Intangible Heritage of Humanity. Tejedor previously played drums with Las Alegres Ambulancias, San Basilio de Palenque's most iconic band. The history of their lives and careers have inspired their latest works, which contain overarching punk themes reflective of society’s oppressive structures.
Words by: Melisa Yuriar, a Latinx music journalist to watch. You can find her on Twitter