Backbeat: A Latin Alternative Christmas At Nacional Records
Backbeat: A Latin Alternative Christmas At Nacional Records

Nacional Party
Billboard's Judy Cantor-Navas with Nacional Records President Tomas Cookman and drummer Clem Burke of Blondie fame.

The Latin Alternative crowd toasted the holidays with tequila and tacos at Nacional Records' annual gathering at the label's North Hollywood offices.

Nacional jefe Tomas Cookman and his crew celebrated a year that included the release of Diego Garcia's critics' pick "Laura," and two nominations for the upcoming 2012 Grammy Awards, for albums by newcomers La Vida Boheme and Los Amigos Invisibles. In 2011 the indie label also introduced "La Hora Nacional," a late night Latin Alternative video show on MTV Tr3s.

Check out all of our Backbeats -- our exclusive look at the people behind the music business -- right here.

"For Nacional, 2011 was a year filled with growth and success stories -- large, medium and small," said Cookman on Tuesday evening (Dec. 13), as friends filled the Nacional building, a cool curiosity shop decorated with South American rock band posters, Mexican folk art and assorted household saints and music memorabilia. "Very encouraging for 2012."

Nacional Party
Nacional staffers Montseratt Perez and Jessica Martinez with presents collected at the party for the Cri-Help toy drive.

The bilingual crowd included members of the group Ozomatli and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame drummer Clem Burke, of Blondie fame.

Guests took home CD compilations and T-shirts from the Latin Alternative Music conference in New York, also a Cookman enterprise.

And partygoers came bearing gifts for donation to Cri-Help, a drug rehabilitation clinic located near Nacional. The label collected one hundred and fifty toys that patients in the program will give to their children when they come to visit them on Christmas day.