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21 Days of Musica Latina: Paraguay

Purahei Soul
Courtesy of the artist
Purahei Soul

Editor's Note: To commemorate Hispanic Heritage Month this year, World Cafe is going on a musical tour of Latin America. Every weekday from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15, we'll spotlight the music of a different Latin American country with a curated playlist of essential tracks, fresh voices and wild cards.

There's a lake called Ypacaraí, near Paraguay's capital, Asunción, whose beauty might move you to write an equally stirring song. That's what composer and playwright Demetrio Ortiz did in the '50s when he wrote "Recuerdos de Ypacaraí."

The song, covered by Mercedes Sosa, Jorge Drexler, Javier Solís and many more, serves as a great entry point for the next stop on World Cafe's 21 Days of Musica Latina. A melancholic serenade set against the backdrop of Paraguay's natural splendor, "Recuerdos de Ypacaraí" is part of the country's guarania tradition.

Today's mix is filled with the genre's influence, featuring Los Paraguayos, Lizza Bogado and Luis Alberto del Paraná, one of the country's greatest exports. Artists like Che Valle and Purahéi Soul keep traditions alive, singing in both Spanish and guarani, but adding their own distinct voices to Paraguay's music landscape.

There's also indie rock bands included in the playlist like Los Ollies, The Crayolas and EEEKS. One of our favorite finds from the entire 21 Days project has to be Sonido Chuli, a psychedlic cumbia band from Asunción.

Enjoy, and make sure you come back tomorrow to find out where World Cafe's headed next.

Copyright 2023 XPN

Miguel Perez
Miguel Perez is a radio producer for NPR's World Cafe, based out of WXPN in Philadelphia. Before that, he covered arts, music and culture for KERA in Dallas. He reported on everything from the rise of NFTs in the music industry to the enduring significance of gay and lesbian bars to the LGBTQ community in North Texas.