Borderline Latin is an exploration of the influence of Latin music in styles, places and rhythms beyond its traditional borders, and of different types of cross-pollination between Latin music and other musical creatures. Each week, we will feature the works of a ‘non-Latin’ artist via song or musical style whose rhythm, themes, melodic inflections or influences have earned it the name of Borderline Latin.
Kraftwerk will always have a special place in my iPod. They were the forefathers of electronic music –no one did more for the genre since the time of Léon Theremin: these folks really made it happen for synthesizers and computers in the music scene. They wrote music about pocket calculators, about being robots, and about human beings actually being machines –a statement nobody had dared repeat since Jean de La Mettrie wrote Man a Machine in 1748.
But few people knew that Kraftwerk actually recorded a few of their songs in Spanish, in order to reach audiences in Spain and in Latin America – a continent they toured in 2008, opening massive concerts for Radiohead, for the delight of their scattered Lain American fans. Kraftwerk has always had a steady Latin American following, and they have influenced Hispanic electronic music just as they have influenced electronic music in the rest of the world.
The Nazis gave Germany a bad name but, to be fair, this country has always had a fascination with the Hispanic world. From Alexander von Humboldt, who toured Latin America in the 18th century, writing about its natural wonders, to Arthur Zimmerman, a German ambassador in the US who wrote a telegram to Venustiano Carranza about the possibility of Germany helping Mexico recover the territory it lost during the Mexican-American war, we have a shared history. Kraftwerk’s “Sex Object” and “The Model” are just further proof of this. Enjoy.