Arts Desk

This Weekend in Latin Music: Alternatives to Bachata

Dominican bachata has led the Latin-music coverage in the mainstream news lately, but this weekend in the D.C. area, the theme is reggaeton, son, and duranguense.

Puerto Rican reggaeton artist Nengo Flow recently released a 17-song mixtape, Real G 4 Life Part 2. Heavily autotuned over fairly conventional beats, Nengo spits Spanish and Spanglish verses alongside fellow reggaeton frontmen Tego Calderon, Arcangel, and Voltio—who, frankly, make Nengo's "flow" sound even more limited. But the more creative beats and synth washes on “Pa Eso Nada Mas” enhance his frenetic patter. Doors at 9 p.m. at D.C. Star, 2135 Queens Chapel Road NE. $30 in advance.

Cuban son nine-piece Sierra Maestra, whom we interviewed when the group played here in July 2011, returns to Artisphere tonight. After visa problems prevented the ensemble from touring the U.S. for a decade, it's finally added the states to its lengthy international gig schedule. Sierra Maestra features five musicians from its original 1976 lineup—when it was led by Juan de Marcos Gonzalez—and the group hasn't stopped cranking out classic pre-salsa dance music since then. There's no new album, but no matter: Their manager says their repertoire is so large they can vary the setlist nightly. Fans of Buena Vista Social Club take note: that world-famous group, recorded in the mid-1990s, included four members of Sierra Maestra. A pre-show with DJ La Reyna begins at 9 p.m. The main show begins at 10 p.m. at Artisphere, 1101 Wilson Blvd, Arlington. $22-$25.

Sunday, Grupo Montez de Durango, a cowboy hat-donning, Mexican-American duranguense band from Chicago plays The Palace in Woodbridge with the Mexican norteño band Los Rieleros del Norte. Grupo Montez's blend of melodramatic pop and polka-flavored banda tunes might be jarring to anyone who doesn't know the style—it's decidedly nontropical music for slow- and line dancing. 9 p.m. Sunday at The Palace, 13989 Jefferson Davis Highway, Woodbridge. $35.

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