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From the Editor

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Last week, I was in New York speaking on a panel at the Latin Alternative Music Conference at the Puck building in SoHo. LAMC is a growing annual music-industry shindig much like the dance/DJ-related Winter Music Conference in Miami, the college radio-oriented CMJ Music Marathon, also in New York, and the Big Daddy of music confabs, South by Southwest, in Austin, Texas.

The topic of my panel was non-traditional markets for Latin alternative rock and so-called hurban music (Hispanic urban and hip-hop). I was joined by another area music journalist, Jessica Bloch, who programs alternative music for Batanga (www.batanga.com), a Latin internet radio site and magazine based in Greensboro. Other panelists included representatives of Warner/Elektra/Atlantic, the Latin alternative music video channel mun2, the William Morris publicity firm and others who have been monitoring the explosion of Latin music in nontraditional areas of the United States such as the South and Midwest.

The LAMC was a microcosm of what's happening in communities across the nation, as second- and third-generation Latinos begin to create their own presence in the US. Until now, Hispanic radio and newspapers have catered primarily to first-generation immigrants, reporting traditional news and playing traditional Latin music styles. As second-generation Latinos grow and find their own niches here, demand for new ways of getting the news and hearing music are emerging.

I believe that in the next few years we'll be seeing adventurous new Latino radio formats popping up in the Charlotte area; new publications and homegrown web sites. As young Latinos continue intermingling with young African Americans and Anglos, Southern art and music will be the biggest beneficiaries. The success of reggaeton, the Spanish-language blend of hop-hop and reggae, is just a taste of what's to come. We can resist change out of fear, or we can boldly embrace it as an exciting new era in Southern history.

One way to embrace it is to attend the Carlotan' Rock Latin Rock Festival at Skandalo's here in Charlotte on Friday, and then at the Orange Peel in Asheville the following night. For more details, see the lead music story this week on page 83.

Speaking of exciting new developments in music . . . let me welcome Creative Loafing's new music editor, Kandia Crazy Horse. Kandia has been writing about music for nearly a decade, contributing to the Village Voice, the Atlanta CL and many other web and print publications including Rolling Stone and Paste. She is the author of Rip it Up: The Black Experience in Rock & Roll, a collection of essays on black rock innovators from Little Richard to Cody Chesnutt.

Kandia's specialty? Southern rock. But don't expect your typical approach to this time-honored genre. Kandia is a true innovator in her own right. We're thrilled to have her here. You should be, too.

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