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Carlos Vives: Tiny Desk (Home) Concert

The Tiny Desk is working from home for the foreseeable future. Introducing NPR Music's Tiny Desk (home) concerts, bringing you performances from across the country and the world. It's the same spirit — stripped-down sets, an intimate setting — just a different space.

In celebration of National Hispanic Heritage Month, NPR Music presents four very special Tiny Desk Home Concerts recorded especially for this week.

Vocalist Carlos Vives kicks things off in high gear on this Tiny Desk (home) concert with his trademark sound: a celebration of the music from his beloved home country of Colombia, mixed with rock and other Latin music styles.

Spirited champetadance grooves from the country's Pacific coast permeate his classic 1995 hit "Pa' Mayte," and if you look closely you'll see two of his backup vocalists also playing traditional gaitas Colombianas (flutes). They are used to spectacular effect as a transition between the title cut of his new album Cumbiana and "La Bicicleta" (originally recorded with his compatriot Shakira), a vallenato fueled by a bit of reggaeton.

Presenting Carlos Vives has special resonance this week as his latest album recently picked up six Latin Grammy nominations, including Album of the Year.

Felicidades, Carlitos! And oye, adding that NPR coffee mug to your desk? Nice touch!


  • "Pa' Mayte"
  • "Cumbiana"
  • "La Bicicleta"
  • "No Te Vayas"

  • Carlos Vives: vocals
  • Martin Velilla: drums
  • Guillermo Vadalá: bass
  • Andrés Leal: guitar
  • Mayte Montero: vocals, gaita
  • Tato Marenco: vocals, gaita
  • Guianko Gómez: vocals
  • Christian Camilo Peña: accordion, vocals

  • Video By: Michelle Jayme, Isabel Vásquez, Jorge Gonzalez Graupera, Antal Steinbach
  • Audio By: Andrés Leal, Martín Velilla, Daniel Cortés, Galerazamba Producciones, Sancho Gomez-Escolar
  • Producer: Felix Contreras
  • Audio Mastering Engineer: Josh Rogosin
  • Video Producer: Maia Stern
  • Associate Producer: Bobby Carter
  • Executive Producer: Lauren Onkey
  • Senior VP, Programming: Anya Grundmann
  • Copyright 2021 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.