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Tiny Desk Concert (house): NPR




NPR Music

Having played music myself, I have always lovingly referred to regional Mexican music as “cowboy hats and accordions”. But it’s not the Mexican regional of your grandparents. Today, young musicians are rejecting the restrictions of this industry-imposed title and adding contemporary sounds like hip-hop and trap while retaining the emotional spirit and rough edges of the genre.

Then there’s Carin León – a game-changer if there ever was one. Her Tiny Desk (home) gig is a deep dive into this moment when the genre is truly changing. He begins with a traditional bolero “El Amor De Tu Vida” but the second song, “Alguien Mejor”, is an example of how he and his amazing band are changing things up. It starts with a traditional less than sixth guitar as he raps and sings the lyrics, but when the mournful strains of a popular steel pedal guitar with traditional country music come into the arrangement, the cross-cultural reality of life along the border where this music comes alive with the passion of both genres and cultures.

It’s an exciting moment in a four-song performance that beautifully depicts how a culture changes and develops as outside influences become part of its aesthetic. The music’s rustic roots are on display in the bar, with strategically placed bleached cattle skulls. You still see accordions and cowboy hats in this video, but you hear so much more – you can actually hear a society in transition.


  • “The love of your life”
  • “Someone Better”
  • “It’s not around here”
  • “The First Date”


  • Carin Leon: vocals
  • Orlando Aispuro: guitars, sixth bass, keyboards
  • Abraham Noe Reyes: guitars
  • Luis Carlos Perez: drums, percussion
  • Martin Caro: percussion, octapad
  • Antonio Z. Rivera: bass, tuba
  • Leonardo Barahona: tololoche
  • Luis Araujo: accordion
  • Cheche Avila: trumpet
  • Abel Anguiano: trombone
  • Alan Ortega: pedal steel, dobro, lapsteel


  • Video: Orlando Iceberg, Crane Roses, Kevin Roses, Yerick Johnsson
  • Audio: Alberto Medina, Baruc Llamas, Salatiel Granillo
  • Diego Valenzuela: photographer
  • Emilio Moreira: blunder
  • Angel Moreno: blunder
  • Diego Hernandez: blunder
  • Jesus Eden Camacho: engineer
  • Jesus Valdez: manager
  • Israel Aispuro: stage technician, guitar technician, recording assistant
  • Manuel Valverde: guitar technician
  • Ramon Herrera: rhythmic techno
  • Uzziel Hernandez: video technician
  • Ivan Villa: lightning technology


  • Producer: Anamaria Sayre, Felix Contreras
  • Video editor: Kara Frame
  • Audio mastering: Josh Rogosin
  • Small production team: Bob Boilen, Bobby Carter, Joshua Bryant, Marissa Lorusso, Hazel Cills, Maia Stern, Ashley Pointer
  • Vice President, Visuals and Music: Keith Jenkins
  • Senior Vice President, Programming: Anya Grundmann




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