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Five Best Latin Records of 2012 (So Far)

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Besides signaling the (almost) end of summer, the beginning of October also puts us right smack in the middle of National Hispanic Heritage Month. From September 15 through October 15, stateside brown folks can celebrate, "the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America."

With the "papers please" portion of SB1070 in effect, it certainly doesn't seem like there is much room for celebration these days, but we're not about to let a little social injustice stand in our way. The bigoted immigration law has hovered over the Hispanic community for some time now, but it hasn't stopped Latino music acts such as Mexican norteño legends Los Tigres Del Norte, bachata king Romeo Santos, and Spanish rapper La Mala Rodriguez from visiting this year.

To help mark the occasion, here are five 2012 Latin releases for you to bump while Arizona police officers continue polishing their omniscience training.

See also: Los Tigres del Norte, Wild Horse Pass Casino, 8/3/12 See also: El Komander, Celebrity Theatre, 7/21/12 See also: La Mala Rodriguez at Crescent Ballroom, 7/8/12

CéU, Caravana Sereia Bloom

A breezy Brazilian bombshell, CéU dishes out cool croonings over laidback samba-infused jazz beats in her third studio album. Although sung almost entirely in Portuguese, you don't need a translator to understand the sensual melodies. CéU performed at the Musical Instrument Museum on June 19.

See also: CéU at the Musical Instrument Museum, 6/19/12

Ana Tijoux, La Bala

The French-born Chilean rapper visited Arizona in May to get a firsthand look at ground zero of all this "immigration controversy." Inspired by civil unrest in her hometown and around the world, the MC eloquently speaks out over foot-stomping rhythms in her latest record. Tijoux joined human rights movement Puente for a free show on May 13 in downtown, and showed her support in a music video filmed in the desert.

See also: Ana Tijoux at Puente's Noche de Mujeres, 5/13/12

Carla Morrison, Déjenme Llorar

Morrison is a Mexican balladeer with a sweet sounding voice tinged with enough melancholy to support the release which translates to, "Let Me Cry." Delicate yet soulful, Morrison's voice propels everything as light ukulele strums and soft piano keys dot the album. Curse the devil who could ever make this angel voice cry.

Rodrigo Y Gabriela, Area 52

The flamenco duo's latest concerto matches their patented guitar strikes with 13-man orchestra, C.U.B.A. Together they rework old Rodrigo Y Gabriela songs into new masterpieces. Among them is my favorite, "Diablo Rojo" which will forever remind me of the cat-fight scene in the animated flick, Puss in Boots.

Quetzal, Imaginaries

Los Angeles-based Quetzal take not only a bilingual approach to their music, singing in both English and Spanish, but the troupe also blend a number of other Latin styles to make a groovy concoction of sounds. With driving rhythms and funk-filled beats, there's a little bit of something for everyone in Imaginaries.

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