Carín León gets into NPR’s All Songs and redefines regional Mexican music in a creative Tiny Desk Concert

Carín León dazzles on NPR and YouTube, blending blues, soul, and traditional Mexican sounds, earning accolades from fans and critics alike.

One of the most recognized artists in recent years, Carín León’s remarkable singing, songwriting, and performance skills have made him a standout in the world of music. Known for his versatile renditions that span genres from banda sinaloense to norteñas, sierreñas, country, and even mariachi-laced versions, León’s songs strike a deep chord with his fans and captivate any listener who comes across his tracks.

A Concert Like No Other

His popularity was on full display during a concert for the global platform YouTube. This wasn’t just any concert; it was a part of the famed Tiny Desk Concert series, where he showcased his exceptional vocal prowess. The performance has already charmed over 5 million users, an impressive feat, especially for a genre that’s often underrepresented on such platforms.

In this eye-catching concert, León broke away from the usual “regional Mexican” label. He brought in a band that leaned towards blues, with hints of soul, pop undertones, and a country touch. While he incorporated traditional instruments like the contrabass, bajosexto, accordion, and trumpets, he also introduced a drum set, percussion, electric bass, and a horizontally-played steel guitar typical of hillbilly music.

Masterfully, during the “Home Concert” sessions, a nod to the continuing pandemic worldwide, León performed four songs: “Amor de tu cama,” “Alguien mejor,” “No es por acá”, and “Ya sabía que te amaba.” These tracks have not only become instant classics for his fans but have also won over those who previously dismissed his music. He has earned the respect of experts, critics, journalists, and, most importantly, his audience.

NPR: A Beacon for Worldwide Musical Talent

NPR, a public local radio station, celebrates music from the US, Latin America, and beyond. Specifically, within their program “All Songs Considered,” they host what is now deemed a global musical promotional classic: acoustic sessions, sometimes with full bands, recorded right in the station’s offices. The inspiration for these sessions stemmed from the hosts attending a concert where the audience chatter drowned out the music, leading to the creation of a space where music takes center stage.

Over the years, the station has featured many legends from rock, reggaeton, rap, pop, and beyond. The likes of Taylor Swift, Coldplay, Sting, Weezer, BTS, Billie Eilish, The Cranberries, Adele, U2, and various Mexican artists have graced their space. These sessions, available for free on NPR’s official website and YouTube channel, often garner millions of views, with some even breaking platform records.

Historically, NPR’s sessions have always been inclusive, featuring many Latin American and specifically Mexican artists. They even introduced a “Latino Heritage Month,” increasing the number of Latino artists showcased. It was through this initiative that Carín León got his chance to shine on their platform.

Other notable Mexican artists who have graced this stage include Troker, Café Tacvba, Girl Ultra, Julieta Venegas, Natalia Lafourcade, Rodrigo y Gabriela, Carla Morrison, Silvana Estrada, Son Rompe Pera, Joss Favela, Magos Herrera, and Le Butcherettes.