Punk In Translation

Audible Originals

After listening to Punk in Translation, you will never again think of punk as the exclusive territory of white men with mohawks. In eight immersive episodes, this Audible Original reveals the overlooked yet crucial role of Latin artists and Latin music in the origins and evolution of punk.

Much of the rule-breaking sound and style of punk’s music and political attitude was created and defined by Latin punk pioneers in the US and Latin America, starting with Question Mark and the Mysterians, the sons of Mexican migrant workers who formed the first band ever to be described as “punk rock” in a music magazine.

The stories of the artists in our series show how shifting notions of Latino identity in the US have played out through punk over the decades. We’ll reveal the Latin rock and roll roots of punk with artists like Ritchie Valens and Peru’s Los Saicos, and unearth the secret Latino history of New York’s CBGB’s. Punk in Translation profiles the Latino awakening in Hollywood’s early punk scene, and the Chicano punk revolution in East LA. And we’ll go to Tijuana, Mexico, the infamous sin city that became a gateway for American punk musicians to Latin America, and birthed Tijuana No!, the revolutionary band whose sound broke borders. We’ll even demonstrate the surprising roots of the punk anthem “Louie Louie” -- it comes from a Cuban cha cha chá. Punk in Translation dives in with these unsung Latin heroes to reveal the secret punk histories-and herstories- that not only reshaped music and the sound of social activism, but impacted the next 50 years of American culture.

Punk in Translation is hosted in English and Spanish versions by Ceci Bastida, the Latin-Grammy nominated singer and songwriter who started her career with Tijuana No! when she was just a teenager.

Punk in Translation features a cast of influential artists: Latin punk icon Alice Bag, Dead Kennedy’s Jello Biafra, Los Lobos’ Louie Perez, Victoria Ruiz of Downtown Boys, Blondie drummer Clem Burke, Willie Herron of seminal East LA punk band Los Illegals, Latin Alternative star Julieta Venegas, John Doe of famed Los Angeles band X, Bobby Balderrama of Question Mark and the Mysterians, Spitboy drummer Michelle Cruz Gonzales, Tony Abarca of South Central LA punk band Generación Suicida, Cuban pianist Chucho Valdés, former The Cramps and Nick Cave guitarist and queer Latin punk pioneer Kid Congo Powers, Los Saicos’ frontman Erwin Flores, Johnny Davila from Puerto Rican punk band Davila 666, drummer Rosie Rex, who played with The New York Dolls’ Sylvain Sylvain; and legendary rocker Joan Jett.

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