Your Mix Fix: DJ Afro's Hour-Long Set Taking Us Through '80s Rock en Español

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The word mixtape has plenty of different interpretations. It used to be that mixtapes were actually DJ sets recorded on cassette tapes, but with the coming of the digital music age, the name remained the same, but the definition expanded. Nowadays, people call mixtapes many different things, some of which are not necessarily mixed and most of which were never taped. Here we try to cover them all. In this column, Juan Data gives you a worthy one every week.

DJ: DJ Afro
MIXTAPE: #281 Noches de Radio

DJ Afro caught me by surprise with this one. He put together an hour-long DJ set of ’80s rock en español in a format that resembles a radio show more than an actual mixtape (there’s very little, if any, mixing involved), and I was overwhelmed by the predominance of Argentine pop/rock.

Myself having been raised in Buenos Aires during those years of Argentine rock supremacy, I have a very odd relationship with the music from that era. I was never a fan of it, because it was so close and so prevalent that I took it for granted–it was our cultural status quo and I was a bit of a rebel. Soda, Enanitos, Charly, Fito, were always there, playing on the radio, as background, but I never actively sought them out. It wasn’t until I moved to the US as a young adult that I realized the impact that music had had all over Latin America and then I started appreciating it in a different way.

Now I re-listen those tracks, recontextualized by a Venezuelan DJ (and guitarist of Los Amigos Invisibles), seeing them through his own nostalgia prism and I can easily understand their appeal (there’re some funky guitars there!). But also, I found myself reminiscing over stuff that I didn’t even know I missed, like the opening song, by the pioneer Argentine girl-band Viuda e Hijas de Roque Enroll (last time I’ve heard this one my then-7-year-old sister was playing it from a cassette tape and we sung along to the catchy chorus without even having a clue that the song was about polyamorous promiscuity).

I can’t guarantee you’ll enjoy this mixtape as much as I did. I might bring back elementary school memories to some, but to others it might be a first exposure into some obscure tracks of a bygone era. Either way, it’s always interesting to see where the primary influences of an accomplished musician come from.