A Look Back at this Year’s LAMC

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Mon Laferte at Central Park LAMC/SummerStage Showcase

The LAMC once again provided opportunities to network for conference go-ers and artists alike. Attendees were informed about industry trends through panels featuring representatives from Pandora, Spotify, Rogers & Cowan, NPR, Live Nation, The Orchard, Universal, Moet Hennessy, and Symphonic Distribution, among others, plus a special conversation with the legendary
Carlos Alomar and Eduardo Cabra.

Panel topics ranged from touring in the U.S. and digital music platforms to Latin music in TV and film. Additionally, our showcases around NYC featured artists like Mon Laferte, La Vida Bohème, Amaral, Los Pericos, C. Tangana, Rawayana, Princess Nokia, and Alex Anwandter at venues such as SOBs, Highline Ballroom, Central Park SummerStage, and BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! at Prospect Park.

During the Indie showcase on Thursday, A.CHAL and Jesse Baez were named this year’s “Discovery Award” recipients and received award packages from Shure, Gibson Brands, PioneerDJ, and Native Instruments joining previous Discovery alumni such as Kinky, iLe, Carla Morrison, and El Mató a Un Policía Motorizado, among others.

 

LAMC attendees were able to split their time between panels, showcases, and activations by PioneerDJ, Shure, Native Instruments, Sounds from Spain, Symphonic Distribution, and others at the Stewart Hotel in Midtown Manhattan. Also present was the now classic LAMC media floor for all of the showcasing artists – filled with many key media outlets.

A beautiful moment at a Brooklyn club…

I’m sure there are some folks who have never been to New York City who imagine that, on any given night, one can find a nightclub to hit where one can hear all kinds of global music and an inclusive environment for anyone—gay or straight, dancing along to it. But that’s not really true.

This is precisely why I became a huge fan of a monthly party called Que Bajo?! a number of years ago (2011) and attended it as much as possible. It was the one party where I could hear music from Colombia, Africa, Puerto Rico, hell, even funky beats coming out of Austin, Texas. Purely danceable stuff with guest DJs from across the United States, Europe or Latin America making a pretty diverse crowd dance all night long.

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Geko Jones and Uproot Andy, founders of Que Bajo?!

That party is now defunct but, luckily for us, its DJs are still out there working at a variety of parties. (Que Bajo?! co-founder Uproot Andy is back from touring in Brazil and will be playing in Brooklyn on Friday, July 7!)

The other founding DJ, Geko Jones, is now throwing a party called Ministerio de la Parranda. Thankfully, this party is continuing the work of providing a cool space for a diverse crowd to hear a “sancocho” of flavors from Latin America and beyond.

Here’s just 29 seconds of video from the party on June 24. In it, you’ll hear the BEAUTIFUL chords of an African guitar so often heard in Congolese soukous and Colombian champeta music. I had to stop dancing and hit record because, again, this music isn’t easily found in New York City, and I needed to share the moment, which came on New York City’s Pride weekend.

It was a beautiful moment and although I’m very sad to see Que Bajo?! go, I’m happy there are other spaces where one can enjoy such an atmosphere.

(Read my story about the new party in Sounds and Colours.)

 

Colombia’s Monsieur Periné & L.A.’s Buyepongo to play free concert in Philly!

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Two of today’s most acclaimed Latin music groups, Monsieur Periné and Buyepongo, will play a free, all-ages concert on Tuesday, Jan. 19, at 8pm at World Cafe Live in Philadelphia.

The concert, which will be webcast on xpn.org, kicks off the second year of the Latin Roots Live! concert series, featuring live performances inspired by Latin Roots, the bi-weekly series heard on World Cafe®. Latin Roots explores and exposes to American audiences the vast variety of music from Spanish and Portuguese-speaking countries. World CafeⓇ, NPR’s syndicated popular music program, is produced by WXPN/Philadelphia. Latin Roots on World Cafe is made possible by the Wyncote Foundation. Latin Roots Live! is produced in partnership with AfroTaino Productions and made possible by the William Penn Foundation.

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Monsieur Perine

Monsieur Perinė is one of the leading bands in Colombia’s thriving new music scene, and is quickly becoming more popular worldwide since being voted “Best New Artist” in the 2015 Latin GRAMMYⓇ Awards. With its unique blend of sounds, the group has earned itself its own genre called “Suin a la Colombiana,” noting a cultural, artistic, and rhythmic fusion of traditional Latin American music, gypsy jazz, and a French adaptation of American swing music.

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Buyepongo

Afro-Latino Buyepongo’s sound was forged in the Compton area of Los Angeles in the 90s, reflecting the music of their culture and times. With deep roots in South and Central America, Buyepongo draw heavily from Latino musical culture, taking their cues from traditional roots music of Colombia, Haiti, Belize, Honduras and the Dominican Republic. Buyepongo creates a vibrant, polyrhythmic sound by seamlessly fusing merengue, punta, and cumbia. The group’s pulse and power is built around the drum and guacharaca, giving them an upbeat, tropical flare.

“There is no language barrier to the party with Latin Roots Live,” said David Dye, host of World Cafe. “Our first year featured packed houses for every act and attracted a cosmopolitan slice of Philadelphia music lovers. 2016 starts off with a super bill to keep things moving.” In 2015, its inaugural year, the Latin Roots Live! concert series featured GRAMMY-nominated Chilean artist Ana Tijoux, high-powered cumbia band La Misa Negra, Latin folk star Gina Chavez, Philadelphia’s own Eco Del Sur, and percussion ensemble with Venezuelan and Argentinian roots, Timbalona, to name a few.

The Latin Roots Live! concert on Tues., January 19 will take place at World Cafe Live, 3025 Walnut Street in Philadelphia. Doors will open at 7 p.m. and showtime is 8 p.m.. To RSVP for free admission, click here (http://xpn.org/latin-roots-live).

New music: J Hacha De Zola’s ‘Strange’

 

I met musician and artist J Hacha De Zola in October during Jersey City’s Art and Studio Tour (#JCAST) because I was intrigued by his snappy dressing and asked if I could take his picture for my Instagram. I’ve been following his music ever since.

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J Hacha de Zola

He’s set to release his album Escape From Fat Cat City on Jan. 8, but has released a couple of tracks in the meantime for our listening pleasure.

Grab a free download and stream of new track “Strange” (yes, I thought of ‘People are Strange’ because I get some Jim Morrison vibes, idc idc) via Magnet, which calls the song “a moaning, drama-filled showstopper complete with xylophone solos.”

Our friends at CMJ premiered “Let it Go” (no, nothing to do with that Disney movie) in late November.

“… way in the back yelling and way in your face horn blurts toss you back and forth, with Hacha De Zola reigning it all in then letting it splay out again,” is how they describe it, and we tend to agree. Check out the video for “Let it Go” below. I won’t spoil it for you, but there are children’s party characters (?) in the story. And keep up with all things J Hacha De Zola on Twitter.

Marimba music is Intangible Heritage of Colombia and Ecuador

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Herencia de Timbiqui

 

Marimba music from Colombia’s South Pacific region and Ecuador’s Esmeralda province have been declared “intangible heritage” by Unesco, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, a specialized agency of the United Nations system.

According to Colombian newspaper El Heraldo, Unesco stressed that these musical expressions are “part of the social fabric of the community of African descendants of the South Pacific region in Colombia and the province of Esmeraldas in Ecuador.”

This achievement comes on a day in which UNESCO also announced that vallenato, the traditional accordion music from Colombia, is an “Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding.”

Via Colombia Reports:

According to the global cultural organization, Vallenato music “faces a number of risks to its viability … notably the armed conflict in Colombia fueled by drug trafficking.”

However, the organization also said that “a new wave of Vallenato is marginalizing traditional Vallenato music and diminishing its role in social cohesion.”

I must highlight a couple of musicians I am fans of to celebrate the addition of marimba music to UNESCO’s all too important cultural heritage designation, and to help preserve Colombia’s vallenato.

Herencia de Timbiquí’s “Amanecé” (Sunrise), which you can read more about via Sounds and Colours.

And to help keep the tradition Colombia’s vallenato alive, listen to fun artists, such as Latin Grammy winner (2014) Jorge Celedón and Silvestre Dangond.

Also listen to New York’s Gregorio Uribe, who puts a big band and jazz spin on things. Uribe will play in Bogotá’s Teatro Colon on the 12th and 13th of December.

His new video for “Cumbia Universal” (the title track off his album) is not a vallenato, but it features the accordion, and more importantly, Panamanian salsa legend, Rubén Blades.