Diana Gameros performing at Brava Theater for 2012 Encuentro del Canto Popular on Dec. 8. Photo Keith Hubbard

Another year of great events and great music in Spanish in a tiny world that, despite dates and calendars, seems to avoid packing up and turning off the lights.

Those of us in the Bay Area live in a privileged artistic vortex. Not only because of the artistic plurality that it breathes, but because of the number of musicians that pass through the Bay Area and stick like gum upon stepping into the barrio. So what happened in music throughout the year?

It all started on the other side of the bridge with the return of the king of cumbia: Celso Piña. Piña is nearly a local and it is always a pleasure to have him around here.

Shortly after, Con Brío presented their album, “The Bay is Burning,” alongside LoCura at the Independent. Con Brío vocalist Xandra Copora has an incredible depth to her voice, but merging with LoCura’s flamenco, funk and rock made this concert one to remember. Don’t believe us? Go see LoCura at the Great American Music Hall on Jan. 26, 2013, then tell us what you think.

If there was a month this year where our pockets were in a serious dilemma, it was May. That month the Bay Area hosted Calle 13, Bomba Estereo, Ana Tijoux with Los Rakas, and Pavel Urkiza with John Santos and Fernandito Ferrer. MigueIito Martinez also presented his album at La Peña during this month.

You could almost cut the energy at Calle 13’s concert with a knife. We have to give credit for that to local band Bang Data, who opened the concert and left the scene ready for Calle 13 to do their thing. Without them, the story would have been different.

They pumped the crowd just the same in Cafe Tacvba’s concert in August. It was definitely an explosive event worthy of the “concert of the year” in the Bay Area.

Another concert that got people dancing until late at night was Sergent Garcia with Bang Data and Bayonics at the Mezzanine, which happened the same evening as the Novalima concert at the Independent, and three weeks after Mijo de la Palma and Yeye Suarez at the Brava Theater.

La Santa Cecilia fue la banda encargada de abrir el Festival de Cine Latino de SF este año. La Santa Cecilia opened the SF Latin Film Festival this year at Blue Macaw, Sept. 13, 2012. Photo Mabel Jiménez

The month of September had another “back to back” with: Vicente Feliu, one of the founders of Cuban Nueva Trova, at the Brava Theater; La Santa Cecilia and Candelaria at the opening of the Latino Film Festival; Jarabe de Palo with La Misa Negra at the New Parish in Oakland; and Bebel Gilberto at the Herbst Theater in San Francisco the following night.

La Santa Cecilia and Candelaria turned out to be a great burst of energy that helped the Latino Film Fest have one of its best years yet. And what can we tell you about Jarabe de Palo that you don’t already know? They were excellent along with La Misa Negra, who is one of the fastest growing acts in the scene.

Bebel Gilberto’s concert was truly one of a kind. Herbst Theatre is one of the finest in the city, Bebel Gilberto’s musicians are excellent and Bebel plays on stage as if she were in her living room—without hesitations or self-censorship.

The big winner of the night (we would say of the year) was Diana Gameros. Gameros performs with great charisma and professionalism, and she could easily have been the headliner instead of the opening act. She was just as excellent at the Encuentro del Canto Popular, and you can bet that we will see much more of her this coming year.

Finally, this year saw the revival of two very important institutions in the Mission. Brava Theater became once again one of the most important spaces for Latin American music and in Spanish concerts during 2012.

And Acción Latina had a very successful year presenting the Son Jarocho Festival, the Mission Latin Jazz Festival and Encuentro del Canto Popular. All these events were held at Brava Theater.

Along with Rupa and the April Fishes’ CD release and the event “Guardianas de la Vida” to fight violence against women at Mission Dance Theater, the Encuentro del Canto Popular in December was one of my favorite concerts of the year. It was a perfect way to end a great year in music.

Want to know more about what is coming in 2013? Visit www.labohemiaproductions.com or check out the Facebook page.

—Translation Alejandra Maciel