Alternative Tango

Written by Ernest Barteldes on . Posted in Posts.

The Latin Alternative Music Conference—the annual showcase for Latin artists who don’t play salsa—is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year with concerts at venues like Central Park Summerstage, Celebrate Brooklyn!, Museo del Barrio, The SoHo Apple store, The Bowery Ballroom and others.

Artists appearing this year include Colombia’s Aterciopelados, local favorites Los Amigos Invisibles, Puerto Rico’s Calle 13, Argentina’s Juana Molina, Brazil’s Curumin and many lesser-known bands and musicians that use the opportunity to network, be heard and possibly land a record deal.

Among these is Argentinean-born and recent New York transplant Federico Aubele, who makes his second appearance at the conference. “I performed at the LAMC for the first time two years ago at Central Park Summerstage,” he says over a phone interview. “It was beautiful—we did sort of a hybrid electro-acoustic set, kind of using some beats I created with my guitar. This will be my first time as a New Yorker, and we’ll be performing songs from my new album rearranged to create unique versions of the tunes.”

The music that Aubele makes is an attempt to bring tango and bolero to the 21st century without losing touch with its roots—in addition to the bandoneon (an accordion-like instrument) and acoustic guitar, he also adds electronic beats and loops effectively creating a a very personal texture to his compositions. He is influenced both by the music he grew up listening to as a child and the genres he became interested in as he grew up. “My mother was an amateur musician, so she liked to play music for me all the time, and she was really into ’60s folk music, bossa nova and bolero,” he says. “Generally speaking I received a lot of Latin influences from her side. But as I grew, I started to listen to a lot of rock and punk rock—by the time I was grown I went back to my Latin roots and sort of mixed together with what I’d discovered.”

On his latest disc Amartoria, Aubele features several New York-based guests, among them Sabina Sciubba and Miho Hatori, two vocalists known for their involvement with the so-called “Nublu scene,” something Aubele does not consider himself part of that. “I moved here a couple of months ago,” he said. “I know the people that go there, I know Miho, Sabina and all The Brazilian Girls guys, I know Forro in The Dark and all that, but I’m not really a part of that place. I’ve never performed there, actually.”

Though he has only been residing here for a short time, Aubele says that the city makes sense for him—especially because of his career. “I’ve always liked New York a lot,” he explains. “It gave me a lot as a performer, and it always felt like a city I was close to. My booking agency is here, my management is here, and a lot of things are going on here. So I thought it would be good to make the move here.”

As he adapts to life as a new New Yorker, he is keeping busy with performances around the country. “We have a promotional tour for the album that will go on until October,” he says. “We’ll be playing Lolapalooza, the Austin City Limits festival and the Montreal Jazz festival opening for Diana Krall, which is also very good.

Aubele believes that being part of the LAMC is a great opportunity both for Latin artists and for those interested in the different genres (including metal and hip-hop) that are showcased during the event. “The last time I was part of it, I got to do a lot of press, because they could reach out to me just by being at the conference,” he recalls. “It was a very good promotional tool for me, and that worked out very well. It’s a very good opportunity to check out a lot of music in a more unconventional way.”

>Latin American Music Conference
Through July 11, for information on the show times, panels and ticket prices, visit Federico Aubele performs on July 9 at the Bowery Ballroom, 6 Delancey St. (betw. Bowery & Chrystie St.), 212-533-2111; 8 PM; $ 15