Outernational on ‘jumpstarting the next wave of revolutionary culture’

Photo by Ashley Noelle

“… that’s kind of the essence of Outernational. We’re a band. We’re not a political organization. We may be involved with different things, but as a band, we’re trying to jump start … a next wave of revolutionary culture among a new generation of young people and people all around the world.”

-Miles Solay in the RiverfrontTimes

‘Go to church, work hard, don’t swear.’


Photo by George Tice/New York Times

I’ll admit I’m a bit obsessed with the Gaslight Anthem, but this New York Times magazine profile on the band by Lizzy Goodman is just too good not to share…

[Brian] Fallon is an only child, born and raised in Red Bank not far from where he lives now. His mother works for a local hospital, and his stepfather worked in a factory. The family rules were simple: go to church, work hard, don’t swear.

Recently [Fallon] said in an interview with a German music magazine that he believes in creationism. People “started freaking out, saying I don’t believe in dinosaurs and I’m such a fool,” he said. “But you say you’re a religious person, and it’s on, bonfire is lit. I thought we’re supposed to live in a tolerant society.”

What distresses Fallon the most is that people assume he’s intolerant. Fallon’s wife, Hollie, is a Jewish girl from the Bronx, and he is a vocal supporter of gay rights and women’s rights. “Bruce has this expression he says all the time: ‘Nobody wins unless everybody wins,’ and I really think that’s true,” Fallon says. “When I was working construction or in a gas station listening to Bruce Springsteen songs, I felt like I’d won, too.”

Read more here. 

EDUCATION: Food for thought

Photo via Ourpubliceducation.org

From Fordham professor Mark Naison’s Facebook feed:

“If someone told you that you lived in a country where no leaders would send their children to the schools they designing for 90 percent of the population, you would say you must be talking about a feudal society or third world dictatorship, but unfortunately, you are talking about the United States in 2012. Whether it’s Bill Gates, Michael Bloomberg, Andrew Cuomo, Mitt Romney or Barack Obama, the wealthiest and most politically influential supporters of school reform send their children to private schools where none of the tests and evaluations they are deluging public schools with hold sway. If I was a cynical person, I would say they are trying to transform our children into an obedient low wage labor force that will work for the companies their children will run, but that would be unfair, right?”

Ondatropica at Lincoln Center ‘Out of Doors’

Photo by Gina Vergel

Ondatrópica made its US debut at the Lincoln Center Out Of Doors Festival on July 27 and it was awesome, mostly because I was able to shoot photos right up front. Read Jon Pareles’ (New York Times) review of the show here.

This all-star band featured greats from the golden age of Colombian music including Michi Sarmiento, Alfredito Linares, Pedro Ramayá Beltran, Markitos Micolta and Wilson Vivero, alongside the two musicians who started this wonderful project, Will ‘Quantic’ Holland and Mario Galeano with their bands, Combo Barbaro and Frente Cumbiero.

I got to meet the very humble Quantic as he was manning the merchandise table, where I purchased the band’s self-titled debut album. I told him that his “Original Sound of Original Cumbia” and “Cartagena!” CDs mean a lot to me because my dad loves them and they help to transport him back to Colombia at a time when it’s not easy for him to visit his beloved home country.

My dad has had Parkinson’s disease for more than 10 years now and is quite immobile. He is the person who introduced my brothers and I to Colombian music as he’d blast his records every Saturday when we were growing up. It’s why my younger brother started DJing at 14. It’s why my older brother and I are insane fans of la musica de la costa. It’s why this music is in our blood.

One of the things my dad misses most in life is dancing to the wonderful music from his home country. So I was very happy to tell Quantic his CDs are on REPEAT at my parents’ home in New Jersey. He can’t quite dance; but he sure can bop to it and occasionally digs out his maracas when doing so.

Now my dad will have the opportunity to experience this new Colombian sound. Ondatrópica fuses old with new to create a progressive sound which mixes traditional Colombian styles such as cumbia, gaita and champeta with boogaloo, ska, beat-box, MCs, dub and funk. And we were quite blown away when they played a song with bits of Black Sabbath’s “Iron Man” in it!

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Los Gaiteros de San Jacinto & Geko Jones at LPR

Masters of Colombian folkloric cumbia, Los Gaiteros de San Jacinto, played Le Poisson Rouge on July 26 and it was a thing of beauty. Lead singer Juan “Chuchita” Fernández may be in his 80s, but he shows no signs of slowing down as he consistently charmed the crowd throughout the nearly two hour performance. And, yes, that front row full of YOUNG LADIES.

Geko Jones, one of the New York tropical scene’s hottest DJs, kept the crowd bailando with sets interspersed with classic Colombian tunes and, of course, various remixes that put a modern take on this amazing music. Check out his latest mixtape here.

A second set by Los Gaiteros included special guest musicians, including some from M.A.K.U. Soundsystem, a Queens based, afroColombian punk, funk and jazz supergroup that I’ll be profiling in Sounds and Colours in the near future.

All photos by me.

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July 26 storm in NYC…

Photo by Ryan Brenizer

… And it’s a beauty because Fordham alum Ryan Brenizer shot it!

Brenizer, an award winning wedding photographer, is frequently hired by Fordham University’s Marketing and Communications offices for news and feature photography. We love when he is free, which is not too often since he’s almost always shooting someone’s special day.

Read all about his work here.

Outernational: The Beginning is Here

Much has been written about Outernational‘s “Todos Somos Ilegales.” The video for the pro-humanity anthem features Tom Morello, Chad Smith, Residente from Calle 13 and 100 fans proclaiming, “Todos Somos Ilegales!”

But #TODOS isn’t the band’s only music video. Check out “The Beginning is Here,” which was directed by Jessica Habie and produced by Misfit Media’s Nicole Brydson. (Nicole is also Outernational’s web designer/guru.)

This is one of my favorite songs on the album, which you can download by naming your own price here. It was shot while the band was on tour in the Southwest. Check out one of Leo Mintek’s (guitarist) tour diaries here.


The Gaslight Anthem: ‘Handwritten’

“Would you miss me if I was gone and the simple things we lost?
Would you ever wait on me to say
Oh that I’d just die if you ever took your love away…”

Mullholland Drive, Gaslight Anthem

New Jersey punk rockers Gaslight Anthem have released one hell of an album in Handwritten. Read a great review of the album by Rolling Stone’s Jody Rosen here.

Lead singer Brian Fallon performed an acoustic set and answered fan questions via Livestream on album release day.

When asked if there will ever be an album like the Bruce Springsteen-like The 59 Sound, he said:

“We kind of just wrote the next record that sounded good to us. When you achieve success on one record, you just have to ignore the previous record. You have to make each record its own thing. There will not be another 59 Sound-ish album. Repeating albums, I think, is cheating your audience.”

Someone asked about New Jersey pride, which as a child of the Garden State, probably has to do with the fact that we’d like to be more affiliated with Gaslight Anthem and less with Jersey Shore. Fallon had a great response for that, too:

“I’m not proud of being from New Jersey just because I’m from New Jersey; that’s just my home and I love it because it’s my home and my friends live there. It’s got great things, like the beaches and great community vibe, but it’s not what defines you. Most people who have become successful or famous have left where they’re from in order to find themselves. You need to leave the things that influenced you the most or else they’ll become fake, which is the worth thing that could happen.”

True story. I’ll let you know if I find myself in New York City in a future post.

This great SPIN article by David Marchese addresses why Handwritten is considered to be “big” for a band that sells out concerts in the Big Apple within 60 seconds. The best quote from Fallon, in my opinion (he mentions Goyte!):

“We talked to so many producers. And they were all like, ‘You guys have released great records and big bands like you — now you need a big hit single.’ And we were like, ‘Oh my gosh.’ I love that Gotye song, but I can’t sit down and write that. I don’t even think he can. A hit single for a rock band is a fluke. It’s an accident. But Brendan called me up and he goes, ‘Listen, I really like your records. I wanna do your next record. This is what I need you to do: Don’t talk to me about singles or radio-play. You need to write songs that mean more to you than anything.’ I was like, ‘Okay, man! Not only do I want to do a record with you, can you adopt me for a little while?’

By the way, the band ended album release day on a perfect note: They played 26 songs for fans at Webster Hall. (I know super fan, my friend Kasey, was happy!) Read a review on their D.C. show (July 23) here.


Photo via Soundway Records

Words cannot explain how EXCITED I am for this Friday, July 27, in New York City!

Ondatrópica will be making their US debut at the Lincoln Center Out Of Doors Festival at the Damrosch Park Bandshell. The band will feature many greats of the golden age of Colombian music including Michi Sarmiento, Alfredito Linares, Pedro Ramayá Beltran, Markitos Micolta and Wilson Vivero, alongside the two musicians who started this wonderful project, Will ‘Quantic’ Holland (whom my dad has become a HUGE fan ever since I started buying his CDs) and Mario Galeano with their bands, Combo Barbaro and Frente Cumbiero.

The group fuse old with new to create a progressive sound which mixes traditional Colombian styles such as cumbia, gaita and champeta with boogaloo, ska, beat-box, MCs, dub and funk. There’s no way I’d miss this. And did I mention it’s FREE?

For a taste of what to expect, check out this live performance of Linda Mañanita, recorded this past June in Bogota.