Latin alternative's great crusader on the 20th anniversary of his label, his booming synch business and why he doesn't mind when his acts get poached.

It's surprising at first to learn that Tomas Cookman, the ­most fervent ambassador of Latin alternative music, spent his teen years as a dyed-in-the-wool punk rocker in New York, hanging out at CBGB, rocking skinny black slacks and pink socks, and ­drumming in a band called The Colors, whose first EP was produced by Blondie drummer Clem Burke. It seems unlikely not because the executive is a married, 54-year-old father of two, but because he lives and breathes Latin music.

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