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New Wave Latinx Artists on the Rise in DFW

Kalid Abdul, POLITO and Bleu Santana are members of CHROMA, an alternative hip-hop collective.EXPAND
Kalid Abdul, POLITO and Bleu Santana are members of CHROMA, an alternative hip-hop collective.
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Music knows no boundaries, and new artists, bands and collectives hybridize genres to contribute to the Latinx “new wave” sound. Here are seven emerging Latinx artists, bands and collectives on the rise in Dallas.

Luna Luna is a bilingual Latinx band that blends modern, alternative, indie pop genre elements to create their unique sound. Their latest single, “Time,” released on Oct. 23 is a catchy, alternative pop song that includes a bit more live instrumentation than the rest of their discography.

“The rise of new wave Latinx artists is one of my favorite things happening in music right now," said Kavvi, lead vocalist and producer for Luna Luna. "I was born in Colombia, but I grew up in Dallas. Growing up here I discovered all types of American music while at the same time was being introduced to music in Spanish by my mom. I feel like that’s why you're getting the type of music that's coming out by this new wave of Latinx artists. It’s the blend of the American styles and Hispanic styles. When I make music, I love incorporating sounds from American acts that have influenced me, but I always want to have a touch of that Latin flavor in our tracks as well.”

The Bralettes
The Bralettes
Roger Gallegos

The Bralettes is a trio that explores themes of sexual assault and harassment, toxic relationships, social insecurities and raw coming-of-age experiences with an overall sound, style and aesthetic of bubblegum punk blended with garage and power punk elements. Their latest project, Jawbreaker, arrived Nov. 6; it's a four-track EP that includes their third most streamed track, “Maybe." Observer staffer Jacob Vaughn described their music in 2019:

"The Oak Cliff-bred girl power punk-rock trio The Bralettes make people move at all their shows. The band's simple but catchy licks on guitar and bass, played by Paulina Costilla and Molly Hernandez, respectively, enhance the frontwomen's crisp, powerful vocals as Andy Cantu drives the songs forward with heavy drum beats."

Ariel & The Culture is a first-generation Latinx group led by vocalist and guitarist Jason ‘Ariel’ Bobadilla. Drawing inspiration from Texas and Mexico, Ariel & The Culture use hip-hop, R&B, jazz, alternative and Latin elements in their music. Ariel & The Culture’s latest single “dame tu amor” dropped on April 21.

“I’m a big fan of all of the Latinx artists coming from Texas and friends with most of them," Bobadilla said. "I think that it’s long overdue for Latinx artists to get their spotlight, considering we are a 1/5 of the U.S. population. I’m just so excited to see the art that has yet to come out and see how it represents me and all the other people who are first-, second- and even third-gen children of immigrants.”

Yung Chente is an independent Latinx artist who recounts his vivid life experiences and complicated relationships on the rise to stardom. His latest project 2 All The Girls I loved Before arrived Feb. 14 and uses lo-fi hip-hop, acoustic and alternative elements that express Chente’s continued exploration of hip-hop.

“Personally, I think it’s great to see this new wave of Latinx Artists in the DFW area thrive," Chente said. "It breaks the mold of many Latinx stereotypes as well as introducing new sounds that weren’t heard in our own music before. They push boundaries by expressing themselves with a flare that’s been lacking at times; dyed hair, tattoos, piercings and more differentiate them from the normal look we’ve seen in other genres such as Tejano, banda, norteño and others.”

CHROMA is an alternative hip-hop Latinx collective consisting of musicians POLITO, Kalid Abdul, and Bleu Santana, videographer Marvin and graphic design artist Andrés.

“It’s an incredible time to be a Latinx artist, as well as a fan of them!," the group said collectively via email. "Throughout the past few years, it’s been a breath of fresh air to witness the rising stars of the Latinx scene. There’s no shortage of inspiration to take from the soundscapes that stem from the perfect blend of navigating life as a first-generation immigrant and the music of our Latin forefathers. During the turn of this decade ... a lot of Latinx artists will be striking while the iron’s hot because if one thing is clear, it’s that there’s no shortage of talent that’s yet to reach everyone’s ears.”

CHROMA’s latest project is with Dallas musician A-Wall on their sophomore album Primavera (Deluxe). The deluxe version of the album was released Jan. 15 and added four bonus tracks to the original album released Oct. 9. One of their more popular tracks, “LEMONADE,” was remixed as a bonus track by Dallas native Pretty Boy Aaron.

CANA! is a ’90s freestyle, synth-pop duo (Danica Salazar and Johnny Garza) from Dallas. Their visual aesthetic is almost '90s color pop, and their sound is reminiscent of the influential Debbie Deb’s dance and freestyle; it's futuristic, synth-pop homage. CANA!’s latest release, Luvfield, arrived Nov. 27 and is a jam-packed five-song project the duo describes as “a ’90s freestyle pop dream.”

"It’s powerful to see so many Latinx artists flourishing in their art here in Dallas and all over Texas," Salazar said. "As a Latina, it makes me proud to be able to contribute to that growing scene. Incorporating the rhythm and words that I grew up with into the music I make is part of the journey in discovering who I am, and I feel that same energy from other Latinx artists. Regardless of what art we are creating, we’re keeping our culture and roots alive in our own way and being our most authentic selves."

Punk band Sub-Sahara has a message similar to the NWA's with "13-12."EXPAND
Punk band Sub-Sahara has a message similar to the NWA's with "13-12."
Jesus Mireles

Sub-Sahara is an angry, post-punk band from Dallas that explores themes of police brutality, social injustice and lifestyle. Their latest single, “13-12,” was  “dedicated to all the people who lost their lives to police brutality and incompetence.”

“Seeing all the injustice and lack of change in the police force and all the protests and people fighting for change inspired us to finish the song and share it with everyone,” the band’s frontman, Aarón Mireles, told the Observer in September.

Their latest collaboration features vocalist Paulina Costilla from The Bralettes.

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