From jazz-tinged psychedelia to dissonant cumbia, Chicago-based quintet Dos Santos is at the forefront of a new era of Latinx alternative music, deftly bridging pan-Latin and progressive sounds to capture the idealized aesthetics of 21st-century América. Hailed as one of Chicago's most impactful marquee performers, Dos Santos pride themselves on the power of their live shows, as well as their ability to seamlessly distill pan-Latin American and progressive musical sounds.
The group’s five members (Peter Vale, Alex Chavez, Daniel Villarreal-Carrillo, Jaime Garza, Nathan Karagianis) have their own storied careers in a range of styles—including jazz, R&B/soul, traditional Mexican folk, punk, cumbia, salsa, and electronica—in addition to a history of critical involvement in arts education and social justice organizing.
Dos Santos released their highly-anticipated album, City of Mirrors, in October 2021 via International Anthem. Cinematic in its journey, the album reflects sounds from across the Americas combined with compelling poetic narratives. Its 13 tracks consolidate the band’s unique identities, creative and cultural roots, and their penchant for honoring traditional Latinx music with contemporary compositional expressions and production techniques. It achieves the band’s mission to push against their own musical boundaries while also exploring themes of social justice, migration, and contemporary human struggle.
“City of Mirrors is an assemblage…glimpses of tradition… reflections on our collective present… luminous echoes between love and solitude, hope and absurdity, euphoria and mourning. This album grapples with and transgresses these binaries because we have/and continue to cross borders. Yet, for us, the border is no metaphor—too much real staring back at us. We embody the border. We (our families) have crossed it. We (our stories) are coated with its residues. And so… we cross the border of self through our art – out of necessity.”
Alex Chavez, Dos Santos
The five began working on City of Mirrors without any expectation of what it would be. They simply hoped to create an honest, unique, and border-defying but broadly communicable sound. To achieve this, they decided to incorporate a sixth member. That led to City of Mirrors being recorded in Los Angeles under the direction of artist, producer, and longtime friend of the band Elliot Bergman (Wild Belle, NOMO).