Last Monday, Pandora officially launched its new series of stations focused on Afro-Latin American music. First on the list is Afro Colombia Radio, which is now available and ready for us to fill our homes with the best of champeta, cumbia, vallenato, afro-funk, and more.
On an email exchange with Marcos Juarez, Head of Latin Music at Pandora, he explained that the project reflects the company’s desire to amplify Black voices during these times of social change. “We are undertaking an effort to highlight and celebrate in a direct and overt way the infinite contributions made to contemporary Latin music by the African diaspora in the Americas,” he shares. “Not just a side note, Afro influence is the foundation, inspiration, and innovation behind almost every popular Latin music genre.”
Afro Boricua Radio is next on the list, scheduled to launch on August 11 and set to cover Puerto Rican genres like plena and bomba. Expect Afro Cuba and Afro Quisqueya to go live in September, two stations that will highlight the Afro-originated music from Cuba and the Dominican Republic, respectively. There are plans to expand the series to more and more territories, like Venezuela, Panama, Peru, Honduras, and more.
“The content will range from classic to contemporary, with the goal of showing that Afro Latin music is not static and remains ever evolving, dynamic and inspiring. Latin music is African music,” says Juarez, who points out that this is the first time Pandora goes beyond on-platform genre-specific programming and shares a holistic view to tell a larger story. “Some of this content is well known and some is obscure. The hope is to present a wide musical overview.”
Pandora’s Afro Colombia Radio is live now. Tune in here.