Things I saw today while on a long walk in NYC

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All pics taken in Washington Heights, NYC, by me on my Samsung Galaxy 3G.
All pics taken in Washington Heights, NYC, by me on my Samsung Galaxy 3G.

20130329_135955 20130329_140211 20130329_141226 20130329_141231 20130329_141546 20130329_143941 20130329_141857All pics shot in Washington Heights neighborhood of Manhattan using my Samsung Galaxy sIII.

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Toronto’s Dos Mundos Celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month

My good friends up north at the Toronto-based Dos Mundos Radio have co-curated a month of wonderful programming for Hispanic Heritage Month. Check out the details below, and while you read, listen to a new track (“Wow“) by Boogat, whom Dos Mundos describes as one of “a handful of people who are actually trying to explore and redefine Latin American music in Canada.”

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Dos Mundos Arts and Media will be celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month throughout the month of April of 2013 by programming exciting, forward-thinking arts and artists in the context of “breaking stereotypes with arts and culture’. This celebration is intended to make strong efforts to continue pushing the boundaries of people`s perceptions of Latin America and to also explore the idea of being Latin American in Canada.

Events for the month include ann April 2 screening of LAND IN REVOLT: IMPURE GOLD, the first installment of the environmental project by the ever-activist Argentine filmmaker Fernando Solanas tackling the plundering of underground resources and the ensuing contamination ending with Black Gold. Portraying stark reality full of scams, miseries, and corruption, Solanas targets the mining industry and open-air cyanide or explosives extraction of minerals and metals at the northeast of Argentina, and observes the reaction of the local public.

There is also a music showcase featuring alt-Latino experimental artists Helado Negro and Uladat. Taking place on April 5, these two artists play with musical genres more closely affiliated with the artful Pop Avant programming associated with the Music Gallery.

Check out the other events here.

Dos Mundos Arts and Media

Dos Mundos Arts and Media is a Toronto-based non-profit arts organization dedicated to showcasing, celebrating and developing emerging artists and art forms that represent contemporary Latin America.

For more information, check out this link or contact Dos Mundos via email: dosmundosradio@gmail.com

VIDEO: Vicente Garcia’s ‘Te Soñe’ on 123UnoDosTres

I handled publicity for Dominican singer-songwriter Vicente Garcia in February and what a pleasure it was. He is a consummate professional. Not surprising since he’s been doing his thing since he was a tween.

Garcia was taken under Juan Luis Guerra’s wing when he was just 13-years-old and fronting his own band, “Calor Urbano.”

A self-taught musician and vocalist, Vicente released his debut album “Melodrama” in 2011. Since then, he has come to symbolize the future of Latin artists who are challenging labels and redefining musical genres.

Garcia has opened for, or performed with, major Grammy award-winning artists such as Juan Luis Guerra, Mana, Juanes, Shakira and Cultura Profetica. He has also recorded with Grammy nominated, LAMC darling, Ximena Sariñana.

Check out this acoustic performance of “Te Soñe” shot by the folks over at 123UnoDosTres, a YouTube channel focused on Latino entertainers.

And more press here:

Interviewed on CNN en Español (along with a mini-acoustic performance!)

Interviewed on NY1 Noticias.

Named part of a list of Dominican performers on the rise in MSN’s Latinzine.

Hudson Valley to snare P-TECH-style school, IBM exec says

Published: February 28, 2013 6:23 PM
By KEN SCHACHTER  kenneth.schachter@cablevision.com

via Newsday

The Hudson Valley will be in line for one of 10 P-TECH-style schools that could open as soon as September 2014 in a collaboration among New York State, local school districts, IBM and other corporate partners, an IBM executive said.

The initiative seeks to replicate the success of the Pathways in Technology Early College High School in Brooklyn, a school that melds high school, community college and career training into a six-year, tech-oriented program for grades 9-14.

Stanley Litow, an IBM executive and former deputy chancellor of the New York City Public Schools, said that P-TECH, which opened in 2011, is off to an auspicious start.

“About 50 percent of the 10th-graders are in line to have 14 college credits before they complete the 10th grade,” he said. “Students are completing college courses and doing very well in them.”

Unlike more traditional schools, where subjects are studied separately — and mostly in the abstract, through textbooks — the P-TECH model unifies learning based on hands-on projects, said Litow, IBM’s vice president for corporate citizenship & corporate affairs.

For example, students might be asked to create a business plan to take on Apple‘s iPad. In the process, they would might tap algebra, geometry, language and presentation skills. Though the schools use innovative teaching methods, the per capita cost of educating the students is not any higher than in a traditional curriculum, IBM officials said.

Both P-TECH, located in Crown Heights, and the Sarah E. Goode STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) Academy on Chicago’s South Side — a school that follows a similar model — are designed to equip students with skills in science, technology and math and aim them toward careers in areas where U.S. companies have plenty of open jobs.

“Around the United States, there are jobs that are going begging for people who have these skills,” Litow said. “The problem is clear: low graduation rates from community colleges. We’ve got to do something different.”

Only 25 percent of the country’s community college students complete a degree, Litow said. Although high school graduates earn about $15 per hour, or $31,000 a year — when they can get jobs — computer science graduates with an associate degree begin at $40,000 a year, he said.

“If this model is successful, not only does it guarantee that students get degrees, but that they get connected to jobs that exist,” he said.

P-TECH and Sarah E. Goode have been held up as models nationally. U.S. Education SecretaryArne Duncan visited P-TECH in October and President Barack Obama cited the school in his State of the Union address as a new model for education and training.

“We need to give every American student opportunities like this,” Obama said.

Steven D’Agustino, a Fordham University education professor and director of the Regional Educational Technology Center on the Bronx campus, said the state’s program is a “step away from the traditional liberal arts education” and a step toward “competency-based” education.

“I think it’s an innovative attempt,” he said.

D’Agustino cautioned that it’s too early to assess how successful the initiative will be.

Lisa Davis, director of the Westchester-Putnam School Boards Association, said it remains unclear how the program would work in a suburban setting.

“It’s a great concept, but then there’s the question of what it’s going to look like when you roll it out,” she said.

Among the questions: Who will pay for the students in the 13th and 14th grades, when students ordinarily would have graduated from high school? A call to the governor’s press office was not immediately returned.

The 10 new schools will be sited in 10 economic development regions defined by New York State. Westchester, Rockland, Putnam, Orange, Dutchess, Ulster and Sullivan counties constitute the Mid-Hudson region. New York City and Long Island are among the other 10 regions.

Under the program, school districts would apply to state officials to land one of the schools, which could be located in a free-standing building or share space with another school.

Funding would come mostly from the sponsoring school districts, with support from both the state and a corporate partner. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has allocated $4 million in aid for the program. Armonk-based IBM has signed up to act as corporate partner for two of the schools. The company also will help recruit other private-sector partners and provide training for mentors from the business world.

The schools will use a “blueprint” designed by IBM to replicate the P-TECH model. The blueprint tells school districts how to build a P-Tech program.

Cuomo announced the P-Tech initiative as part of his 2013-14 executive budget.

Litow said it took about 12 months to open P-TECH and Sarah Goode, making a September 2014 opening for the new schools “aggressive” but not “impossible.”

Ellen Cutler-Levy, program director of Yonkers Partners in Education, a not-for-profit organization that provides SAT preparation, college visits and other services to get students ready for college, said the program’s thrust is encouraging.

“We’d like to see more students prepared in the engineering, math and science fields,” she said. “If that’s where the jobs are in the future, we’d like to see it happen.”

New music Tuesday: Making Movies ‘A La Deriva’

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Making Movies, a band I first discovered during CMJ in New York City last year, is making waves with their new album.

“A La Deriva” is an 11-track high-energy tour de force that blends a multitude of traditionally dichotomous genres seamlessly.

The album is produced by Steve Berlin of the three-time Grammy winning, Chicano rock veterans, Los Lobos.

Together since ’09, Making Movies is turning out music that is bilingual and appealing to a WIDE audience. The kind of audience that encompasses many of today’s increasingly DIVERSE music fans, especially when you think of the growing Latino demographic.

Their music is indie rock. Alt Latino. Afro-caribbean in rhythm and percussion. Soulful. Indie. Classic in sound. New wave. It’s distinctly American, yet global.

Led by Panamanian brothers Enrique and Diego Chi (singer/songwriter/guitarist and bassist respectively) – and made complete by percussionist Juan Carlos Chaurand, and drummer Brendan Culp – Making Movies has been hailed as “a rare crossover band…that embraces its heritage without being wholly defined by it” (The Pitch).

And, as Marlon Bishop of MTV Iggy wrote last week, “… the band synthesizes what’s happening in indie rock and in Latin music better than anyone else out there today.”

Steve Berlin was first turned on to Making Movies when the guys opened up for Los Lobos at their Kansas City show. “I was struck by the effortless way they moved between musical styles, all the while managing to make each one completely their own,” Berlin explains.

Just as Los Lobos are tex-mex, cumbia, folk, blues, corrido but above all ROCK, Making Movies are a mixture of Latin music with a predominant American rock sound.

And this is why I believe they shouldn’t be considered JUST a Latin rock band.

Though they sing some of their lyrics in Spanish and use some instruments found in Latin music (not unlike Los Lobos or Bronx El Mariachi), they are an American rock band.

And that’s not all. The band co-founded a music camp for kids in underserved areas of Kansas City. WATCH this video about the wonderful impact they’re having with a diverse group of youth through music education. They’ve also been involved with DREAM act measures.

It may sound kind of idealistic on my part, but it’s what music is supposed to be. They’re making it for the fans, but also passing it on to the next generation.

You can grab “A La Deriva” at iTunes. You can also download the first single off the album, “Cuna De Vida,” over at Remezcla

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And make sure to vote for Making Movies in MTV Iggy’s “Artist of the Week” contest, which ends at 11 a.m. on Friday, March 8.

SXSW: Zuzuka Poderosa and Los Rakas in Austin

Los Rakas and Zuzuka Poderosa — artists that I’ve worked with and am a HUGE fan of, will be in Austin, Texas, next week for South By Southwest (SXSW)! Here are the details:

SHOWCASE: Listen GlobalAct Local

FRIDAY || 3/15/13 || 1 PM – 8 PM

Free. All ages. No wristbands/badges required.


Kenny Dorhman’s Backyard
1106 East 11th St, Austin, Texas 78702

More than just another party, the Listen Global. Act Local. showcase is Sol Collective’s second annual meet-up for musicians, artists, activists and creatives. Listen Global. Act Local. unites premiere acts from all corners of the globe to give something back to the Austin community. “With over a million people coming into Austin for South by Southwest, we really wanted to connect with local community and support the city’s creative projects” explains Estella Sanchez, Director of the Sol Collective Arts and Cultural Center in Sacramento.

Listening global means a lineup of some of the heaviest hitters in the global music movement including A Tribe Called Red, Los Rakas, Mandeep Sethi, Sonora, World Hood, Zuzuka Poderosa, Las Cafeteras, Chorizo Funk, Sapient, El Indio, and DLRN.

All info: http://on.fb.me/Xkdt5u

More about the artists >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
LOS RAKAS
“Already known as mixtape wizards before they started recording their own songs, Los Rakas concocts a bilingual gumbo from the Caribbean musical diaspora of Jamaican dance hall, reggaeton and reggae, stiffened with straight short of hip-hop and R&B.” –LA Times
“Their politics are refreshingly evident but subterranean to pop dazzle.  Hide your teenage daughters from their energetic live show. –
Village Voice

Los Rakas website: http://www.losrakas.com
Latest video “Bien Ribetiao“: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oDQIBZixZVI

ZUZUKA PODEROSA
“Baile funk flipped inside-out.” – SPIN
“Not only is she bringing her own brand of the hot Brazilian underground sound to the rest of the world, but from her international vantage point she operates like a provocatively rhyming hurricane, sucking up global riddims from ghettotech to dancehall and flinging them back out at gale-force speeds.” – MTV 

Zuzuka’s new “Carioca Bass” EP in Fact Magazine: http://bit.ly/UAbFnk
Zuzuka’s new video, “Seda” in Spin Magazine: http://bit.ly/Wiwxix