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Latinidad, liberation catch our Contest judges' attention

This year's Tiny Desk Contest judges will select a winner soon from the nearly 6,000 entries we received — but before they do, they're each sharing their favorites live on YouTube as part of our annual Tiny Desk Contest Top Shelf series. In the second episode, Albina Cabrera – Latin American Content producer & host of El Sonido at NPR Member station KEXP – shared her top picks with Tiny Desk series producer Bobby Carter.

Albina shared eight genre-defying entries that included artists singing in multiple languages and often about various forms of liberation, and applauded them for having the courage to enter the Contest. "It's very hard for independent artists to put together a session, to apply and submit their music — it's a very complex process," Albina said.

"I love Top Shelf so much because it's exposure," Bobby added. "The difference between succeeding and no one hearing it is exposure. And this gets those artists that much closer to having a career, to be doing what they love."

Entries featured in the second episode of Top Shelf include:

  • Nakupenda, "Kuongoza"
  • alegrías, "Mariposa (Wavy)"
  • Varsha, "Woman"
  • Lizbeth Roman, "agua que vuelve"
  • La Fonda, "Living In The Amazon"
  • Juno Lev, "I had gay sex with god (it could've gone better)"
  • Little Moon, "Wonder Eye"
  • You can subscribe to the Tiny Desk Contest newsletter to be reminded before the next episode of Top Shelf, in which Tiny Desk alums Baby Rose and Sudan Archives will share their favorite entries with Carter.

    Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

    Elle Mannion
    [Copyright 2024 NPR]