Five Latinas Transforming The Indie Music Scene

Irene Diaz
Carolyn Cardoza

Latinas are no monolith, so why expect music by them to all sound the same?

As multifaceted as Latinas are in their identities, the music they produce also manifests into a multitude of radical forms, sounds, and experiences. Enter these five Latinas who are making waves in music. These singers are spearheading innovations in their scenes by using their modern visions to synthesize traditional sounds with classic styles. From cumbia to disco, these cutting-edge women demonstrate that their tunes are dynamic, revolutionary, and empowering for all Latinxs and their music tastes.

Sarah La Morena

Sarah Palafox, whose stage name is Sarah La Morena, went viral for her powerful vocals and perfect Spanish while performing alongside a mariachi. But the singer’s immaculate performance shouldn’t come as a surprise. The Afro-Mexican sensation was adopted as a newborn by Mexican parents and raised in Zacatecas, and as such, she proudly showcases her identity by performing cumbia and norteño music. Palafox has several singles out on social platforms and is close to completing her first EP.

Irene Diaz

Haunting melodies and a soulful voice mark the music of Irene Diaz, a singer, and multi-instrumentalist whose upcoming full-length debut, Lovers & Friends, was executive produced by Latin Grammy Award winner Carla Morrison. Diaz draws her musical inspiration from multiple sources, including Nina Simone, Nick Drake, and even Ariana Grande. Diaz’s recent single called, “Me and My Babe,” highlights queer love told through the filter of Diaz’s relationship.

Sheyla and Emily Rosas from Dueto Dos Rosas

The sisters from San Marcos, California, pay homage to their Indigenous Oaxacan roots by performing musica campirina and rancheras on YouTube as Dueto Dos Rosas. The sisters play requinto and acoustic guitars as they harmonize covers by icons like Las Jilguerillas, Lucha Reyes, Lola Beltrán, and others. Their YouTube music channel is so popular, that their cover of, “Cariñito de mi Vida” has over 6 million views.

Cusi Coyllur

Cusi Coyllur, whose real name is Shannen Roberts, is a Peruvian-American musician from Los Angeles who takes a holistic approach in her music to document her struggles with mental health and disability issues. The singer’s avant-garde music merges various genres ranging from experimental to electronic and connected by her captivating, ethereal voice. Roberts recently released the song and music video, “Welcome to Our World,” which confronts listeners by showing them how the pandemic affects people living with disabilities and those suffering from chronic illnesses.

Chrisol Lomeli

Watching Chrisol Lomeli perform live is like watching the late Mexican-American icon Selena. You can’t believe someone can move, sing, and perfectly capture the energy of the Tejana legend in such a powerful and uncanny way. Since 2015, she’s been singing in a popular Selena cover band from LA called Selenamos. Lomeli is now a star in her own right. Last year, she branched off and released her solo project. Lomeli’s music is a hypnotizing blend of Latin, disco, R&B, and soul. You can listen to it in her newest EP, Lovely.

a mother talking to her little daughter while the daughter sits in a sofa

First things first: I’m a “mande” girlie. That’s just how my mama raised me, even though I won’t say it’s right.

Keep ReadingShow less
Image of Vice President Kamala Harris

Originally published inThe Latino Newsletter–reprinted with permission.

Ever since President Joe Biden announced on Sunday afternoon that he would not seek a second term and endorsed Vice President Kamala Harris as the 2024 Democratic Party nominee, several Latino Democrats and organizations have been sharing statements of support. Here is just a sampling of the Harris endorsements. (FYI, the New York Times has a comprehensive list of all Democratic elected officials who are all in for Harris as of Monday morning. This list is being updated, and other Latino Democrats are on the complete list.)

Keep ReadingShow less
Latina having coffee and looking thoughtful

Today there are many labels I proudly use during introductions. I am a first-gen Guatemalteca-Mexicana college student. Identity is one of the things we use to define ourselves and we cling to it- it’s our orgullo. Latino culture is orgullo. I, along with many others, understand what the experience is like when we’re told we don’t look as if we have the privilege of feeling the pride that is our culture.

Keep ReadingShow less