iFest: Top 5 Argentine-American Musicians

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The Houston International Festival enters its second weekend tomorrow, with featured musical acts WAR, Joe Louis Walker, Seun Kuti & Egypt 80, Texas Tornados, Del Castillo, Steel Pulse and lots more. Although iFest's performers come from all over the world, all around the main stages will be the sights and sounds of its featured country, Argentina.

Rocks Off is still a little sore that iFest didn't book Buenos Aires's answer to the Clash, Los Fabulosos Cadillacs, but we're sure they did what they could. It looks like LFC is at least still together, so maybe one of these days.

Of course the national music of Argentina -- national obsession, even -- is tango. You'll hear plenty of tango Saturday and Sunday, including splendid accordionist Hector del Cuerto returning for his second weekend. But Argentina is a big, diverse place, and plenty of Argentines -- either native or Argentine-American -- have distinguished themselves in more contemporary fields of music. Some of them have done quite well for themselves on these shores.

5. Paz Lenchantin: People probably first heard of Paz Lenchantin as the bassist in Tool singer Maynard James Keenan's only marginally less abrasive offshoot A Perfect Circle, and she entered Billy Corgan's orbit in time to join his post-Smashing Pumpkins rebound group Zwan.

Besides two solo albums herself, Lenchantin has an eclectic résumé that includes Michael Mann's Miami Vice soundtrack, Jenny Lewis's Acid Tongue and freak-folk duo Brightblack Morning Light's self-titled 2006 album. She'll miss iFest, but her main gig these days, stoner-rockers Entrance (or The Entrance Band), plays Emo's East in Austin Saturday. Lenchantin's sister Ana is a noted cellist.

4. Albert Hammond Jr., The Strokes: NYC hipster-rock gods the Strokes all have interesting bloodlines. Singer Julian Casablancas's father started a famous modeling agency; bassist Nikolai Fraiture's pop was a security guard at Macy's; lead guitarist Albert Hammond Jr.'s dad, Albert Hammond Sr. (imagine that), wrote many songs now playing in an elevator or supermarket near you, including Leo Sayer's "When I Need You" and Starship's "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now." His mom is Argentine-born former model Claudia Fernandez.

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Blaze Hauser
Blaze Hauser

Paz Lenchantin totally wins this. Beautiful, but more importantly, extremely talented. I saw The Entrance band at summerfest 2010 and they rocked hard as fuck. Was I under the influence? I plead the fifth. 

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