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El Laberinto del Coco: Tiny Desk x globalFEST 2024

In 2021, the Tiny Desk x globalFEST series was created to promote international music discovery. For the last three years, artists from around the globe have performed Tiny Desk (home) concerts from their respective countries, but for the first time this year, artists performed at the Tiny Desk at NPR's headquarters.

The island of Puerto Rico has become known for various musical styles that have influenced not just Latin music, but also global musical trends. From the Afro Caribbean styles that make up the salsa boom of the 1970s, to the "BOOM-chicka-BOOM" of the reggaeton beat that came to dominate the charts, Puerto Rican musicians innovate while never straying far from tradition.

That idea inspired percussionist Hector "Coco" Barez to create the group El Laberinto del Coco, a genre-bending collective built around the folklore and rhythmic styles of bomba. The group's message is clear from the opening grooves of "Se Vuelve Miel" that Barez's vision is to dig deep into the African roots of call-and-response with four vocalists and four horn players to remind us throughout its performance of the power of bomba to create community.

Special mention should be made of the presence of musician Jerry Medina, a musical treasure and icon from the island who has performed with the biggest names in Afro Caribbean music as a vocalist and trumpeter — in this case adding voca rumba percussion and sound effects.


  • "Se Vuelve Miel"
  • "El Silencio"
  • "Todo Va a Estar Bien"
  • "La Bambula"
  • "Canción de Repertorio"


  • Hector "Coco" Barez: musical direction, tambor primo
  • Andrés "Kino" Cruz: tambor buleador
  • Efrain Martinez: drums
  • Manuel "Kike" Rodriguez: bass
  • Jorge Andres Ferreras Pujol "Patillazz": electric guitar
  • Daniel Ramirez Amador: trumpet
  • Luis Francisco Colon: tenor sax
  • Jomar Santana: trombone
  • Janice Maisonet: baritone sax
  • Chamir Bonano: cantora
  • KIaní Medina: cantora
  • Antoinette Rodriguez: cantora
  • Soreimi Bezares: cantora
  • Jerry Medina: cantaor


  • Producer: Felix Contreras
  • Director/Editor: Kara Frame
  • Audio Technical Director: Neil Tevault
  • Host/Series Producer: Bobby Carter
  • Videographers: Kara Frame, Maia Stern, Joshua Bryant, Alanté Serene
  • Audio Engineer: Kwesi Lee
  • Production Assistant: Ashley Pointer
  • Creative Designer: Jackie Lay
  • Photographer: Zayrha Rodriguez
  • Tiny Desk Copy Editor: Hazel Cills
  • Executive Producer: Suraya Mohamed
  • globalFEST Team: Isabel Soffer, Bill Bragin, Shanta Thake, Zion Jackson, Ian Thake
  • Series Creators: Bob Boilen, Stephen Thompson
  • VP, Visuals and Music: Keith Jenkins

Copyright 2024 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Felix Contreras is co-creator and host of Alt.Latino, NPR's pioneering radio show and podcast celebrating Latin music and culture since 2010.
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