‘Ink’ Kansas City & ‘The Pitch’ on Making Movies

Two excellent Kansas City entertainment publications have written about Making Movies‘ five year anniversary as a band, which they’ll celebrate with two shows: one on Thursday, Feb. 13 (sign up for this secret show at their website), and on Friday, Feb. 14, respectively.

First up, in The Pitch:

“The foursome — Panamanian-born brothers Enrique and Diego Chi, Mexican-born Juan-Carlos Chaurand, KC-born Brendan Culp — are used to the confusion of new fans when they explain that their psych-rock and Latin-jazz fusion sprouted in decidedly unspicy Midwestern fields.” – The Pitch Kansas City magazine on Making Movies 5-Year Anniversary as a band. Read the Q&A w the band here: http://bit.ly/1fhUQUu

Screen shot 2014-02-12 at 7.57.56 PM


I also love this quote from the interview in The Pitch:

“I remember when we played the Buzz’s Homegrown for the Holidays show in November, and it was for an audience for all these kids that probably had never heard a band sing in Spanish. Maybe 400 people there had heard of us, but the other 1,200 had no idea who we were. We brought El Grupo Atotonilco [a traditional folk-dance group], and they went into their dance routine, and the look on these kids’ faces — you know, 96.5 the Buzz listeners, 18-to-23-year-old people who are just there to see an indie-folk band the Mowgli’s. And their faces light up. They don’t know what they’re seeing.” — Lead singer/songwriter, Enrique Chi


The band also got a nice write-up in Kansas City’s Ink magazine:

“That’s kind of our mission: to breathe life into those old rhythms that are hundreds of years old. If one of my songs can’t sit on top of those old rhythms, then we have to move on. Those rhythms make almost any kind of person want to move. And the more authentic and legitimately we play those rhythms, the better it translates.” — Lead singer, Enrique Javier Chi in Ink Magazine Read the whole thing here: http://bit.ly/1g8ZCYk

Screen shot 2014-02-12 at 8.26.22 PM

KC eighth-grader’s song about poverty holds message of hope

Screen shot 2014-01-13 at 11.06.03 AMImage via Kansas City Star

*** I work with Making Movies, and when I see the fruits of their M.U.S.I.C.A. camp (in conjunction with Kansas City’s Mattie Rhodes Center), I can’t help but be amazed at the power of music.

The Kansas City Star

Regina del Carmen Sanchez wants to someday make her living writing music, playing her guitar and singing songs that have a message about the world as she sees it.

At 14, Regina’s world is pretty small.

It revolves around the little house she shares with her mom and grandparents on the west side of Kansas City’s urban core. The women of the house spend weekends frying, baking and selling empañadas to supplement the income Regina’s mom brings home as an office assistant.


“It’s my dream to become a musician to change people’s lives, to help them understand in an easy way what is happening in the world,” Regina said.

So when she sat down to create her first song, she wrote about being poor, being afraid to open bills, worrying that one not-in-the-budget problem could mean the lights go out.

She was 12 when she wrote “Keep Your Head Up.” It took her several months, writing at home as she lay across her bed or sat at the kitchen table. Sometimes even during breaks in class a lyric would pop into her head and “I would have to write it down right then,” Regina said.

“At the time I was thinking, ‘Let me write a song about the real struggles in my family instead of a song that’s just about me, talking about me,’ ” she said.

My house is in shambles but it beats being homeless.

It’s hot in the summer time, but in the cold the heat’s hopeless.

The bills are coming in and I’m looking so nervous,

because any day now, they could disconnect my service.

The song goes on about needing money, crying and praying, and wondering how long one could endure.

Love yourself and never give up. You’ll see a better life if you keep your head up.

Hand me down clothes but I’ve never been shirtless. B een misunderstood but no I’m not worthless.

Labeled a misfit ’cause I’ve always been different. Don’t want to be a number or another statistic.

Keep your head up …

“When she sings this song, you can tell she’s gone through it,” said Juan Carlos Chaurand, who plays percussion and keyboard for Making Movies, a four-member band from Kansas City with an Afro-Cuban/indie rock vibe.

Making Movies hosted the summer M.U.S.I.C.A. camp for low-income urban youths at Kansas City’s Mattie Rhodes Center, where last summer Regina was a camper. The band charges families $15 for the weeklong camp.

Chaurand said that providing inexpensive lessons and a chance to make music to children who otherwise might not have the opportunity is the band’s contribution to efforts to break the cycle of poverty.

One day Regina sang her song for the band members. They helped her write the music and took her to a studio to record it.

“It’s a great song,” Chaurand said. “To see that come out of her is pretty amazing.”

Read the whole story here. Watch a video of Sanchez performing the song with Making Movies below.



New music & other stuff

It's winter so I'm just dreaming about listening to music on a beach.
It’s winter so I’m just dreaming about listening to music on a beach.

New music roundup!

  • Stream Sharon Jones (yes, two of my posts mention Ms. Jones this week) and the Dap Kings’ new single, “Give The People What They Want,” via NPR Music. It’s an especially welcome tune since 2013 was a tough year for her. (Details at NPR.)
  • My buddy K. Sabroso released a remix of an Arure track which goes from “Classical Orchestration to Jazzy Breakbeats and even touches on Future Garage” to celebrate his one year anniversary of moving to New York from Indiana. K. Sabroso says the track (“Satila“) is “the highlight of [his] career so far even though it’s been sitting in the archive for over a year.”
  • The D.C. homegirls of Maracuyeah have a new mix called Maraculeando Con Amor and I wrote about it for Sounds and Colours. The mix includes rhythms from all over Latin America, with a heavy emphasis on “Dominican electro-dembow, experimental 3ball, champeta-inspired electronic music, tropical vintage gems that are often left off the DJ decks, and Moombahton remixes, with that genre’s DC and Latin roots.” So get on it. There’s a free download to this mix!
Image via FUSION
Image via FUSION
  • My boy Cousin Cole made a New Year’s hangover cure mix. This mix of SOUL (yes, I said that in a high pitch voice) includes goodies from Leroy Hutson, Gil Scott Heron, the Commodores, and more, so it’s certainly soothing. As for the title of the mix, don’t worry, you’ll be hungover again, so stream or download it below.
Listen to Cousin Cole's New Year's Hangover Cure mix.
Listen to Cousin Cole’s New Year’s Hangover Cure mix.
  • I may be a bit of a Hall & Oates nerd, so imagine my surprise when Chicago-via-Brooklyn whiteboy rapper, Trevor the Trashman, released a new track (“Spoiled Brat“) that samples “Sara Smile.” Check it out via Stupid Dope.
Trevor the Trashman may, or may not, be a spoiled brat.
Trevor the Trashman may, or may not, be a spoiled brat.

Upcoming shows I want to see:

Just making this “to do” list public so I have to oblige and not punk out in favor of catching up on “Scandal” on the Roku.

La Mecanica Popular at the Electric Cowbell and Barbes APAP Showcase 2014 THIS VERY SATURDAY at DROM.

Helado Negro at the Silent Barn Bushwick, Brooklyn, in early February.

Buika at Town Hall in NYC this April.


Take me here, please!
Take me here, please!

Tour video!

Last, but certainly not least, have you been to Panama? I sure haven’t! But I want to go. Check out this behind-the-scenes footage of Making Movies recent trip to the homeland of the Chi brothers (lead singer-songwriter/guitarist and bassist of the band). You’ll feel as if you’re there and live vicariously through them, EXCEPT for the part in which they hold snakes and scorpions. No thank you! 🙂

The band never stops touring, really. So stay tuned for upcoming tour dates here.

Making Movies December Tour: Los Angeles

1520722_10100129622897139_1624080311_nMy buddies from the Kansas City-based band, Making Movies, are on tour this month. They’re currently in Los Angeles and if these photos are any indication, I’d say they’re having a great time.

Get acquainted with the band and their sultry psychedelic son at their website, or via this great video from our friends at American Latino TV.

Listen to their latest album, “A La Deriva,” (produced by Steve Berlin of Los Lobos), here.

Watch an acoustic performance of “Lo Que Quiero” via 123UnoDosTres here.

Listen to an amazing, plugged-in performance, via KEXP’s “El Sonido w DJ Chilly,” here.

With superhost, Pili Montilla, of WAPA-TV’s “Té Para Tres.” http://www.wapa.tv/programas/teparatres/
Performing at Hotel Cafe in Hollywood, L.A.
Photo shooting w the good folks of My Square Bear & stylist, Demetri Faye. http://mysquarebear.com/


Checking out Wavelab Studios with Steve Berlin.
Checking out Wavelab Studios with Steve Berlin.
Check out upcoming tour dates at www.makingmoviesband.com
Check out upcoming tour dates at http://www.makingmoviesband.com

Like Buena Vista Social Club…

Only with an AfroLatino-tinged indie rock twist…

420599_569772906396789_780041847_n (1)

Kansas City’s Making Movies joins Mark Lowrey & Hermon Mehari as they become Making Movies Social Club for the night.

“We play old traditional Latino music from Cuba, Puerto Rico, Colombia, Peru, Panama, and Mexico, and revamp some of our stuff in the acoustic format,” says lead singer, Enrique Chi. “We are going to make a record. It should be fun.”

Saturday, May 11, at the Kill Devil Club in Kansas City. Doors at 7 p.m.
$10, 21+

This event will sell out, so grab your tickets here.

#Immigration rally in D.C. today

In honor of the tens of thousands of people who continue to arrive in the nation’s capital for a rally on immigrant rights today, watch the video for “Tormenta,” a song dedicated to immigrant families by Kansas City bilingual rockers, Making Movies.

The song and music video, released in 2010, shows touching images of immigrant life in Kansas City, a metropolitan area whose immigrant population doubled in the 1990s and continues to grow.

The song’s lyrics display the struggle immigrants face as they migrate to the United States for better opportunity, yet the same time, long for loved ones at home (see lyrics below.)

Making Movies continues the “A La Deriva” tour this week with stops in Dallas, Austin, San Antonio, and Houston. Dates here.


Tormenta by Making Movies

Yo quiero ver mi familia esta Navidad,
Y quiero hablar con mi abuelo, oír la verdad.
Porque el frio me atormenta,
El frio me atormenta,
El frio me atormenta,
El frio me atormenta.

Yo quiero ver mi país esta Navidad,
Y quiero bailar en mi pueblo otra vez más,
Porque el frio me atormenta,
El frio me atormenta,
El frio me atormenta,
El frio me atormenta.

¡No quiero estar perdido!
¡No quiero estar perdido!
¡No quiero estar perdido!
¡No quiero estar perdido!

Yo quiero comer de tu boca la mera verdad.
Porque el frio me atormenta,
El frio me atormenta,
El frio me atormenta,
El frio me atormenta.

¡No quiero estar perdido!
¡No quiero estar perdido!
¡No quiero estar perdido!
¡No quiero estar perdido!

Yo quiero saber que va pasar contigo,
¡Déjame saber si voy a estar perdido!
¡Yo quiero crecer, cambiar este sonido!
El frio me atormenta,
El frio me atormenta.

For the next generation: Making Movies puts on M.U.S.I.C.A. camp

I was introduced to Kansas City rock band Making Movies during last month’s CMJ Music Marathon in NYC. They fuse Afro-Cuban rhythms with indie sensibilities to come up with bilingual songs that rock.

When they’re not working on their own music, the band is passing their knowledge onto the next generation. But it’s far more than just a guitar lesson here and there. Recently, Making Movies teamed up with the Kansas City-based nonprofit, the Mattie Rhodes Center, to put on “Musicians United by Social Influence and Cultural Awareness (M.U.S.I.C.A.)“, a camp which introduces high risk Hispanic youth from the northeast Kansas City area to the world of music.

As you’ll see in this video, they’re reaching a great group of youngsters who might not otherwise be exposed to the arts. Even better, they’re becoming young artists. The smiles on their faces as they’re playing guitar chords or belting out “La Bamba?” Priceless.

And for more information on the band, check out my Q & A with lead singer Enrique Chi in Sounds and Colours here.

CMJ Roundup: Yellow Red Sparks, Making Movies & more

logo via cmj.com

What isn’t there to like about a week of live music events in New York City?

Just as some people look forward to Fashion Week in the Big Apple, I look forward to the CMJ Music Marathon. The four-day event brings 1390+ bands to 90+ stages throughout Manhattan and Brooklyn. You’ll go to see one band and catch about five others, whom you may end up liking, in the process. And sometimes there is free booze involved. You can’t go wrong!

Here’s a mini-round up of the bands I saw (all photos by me except for Making Movies):

L.A.’s Yellow Red Sparks at Legion in Williamsburg: As OC Weekly puts it, Yellow Red Sparks Make “Emotional Vomiting” Sound Like a Good Thing. And how. The lyrics, written by lead singer Joshua Hanson, are emotional, sweet and tailor-made for every Grey’s Anatomy episode that ever was. Check these out, from “Monsters and Misdemeanors:”

there’s a chance we could meet
under the likeness of summer
and there’s a chance we could fall
under the highlight of winter
there’s a parked car that won’t let me over
and there’s one thing i’ll regret,
but you’d be the last

This trio is super approachable and I was able to chat them up about their first time in New York City. Goldy, the band’s drummer, and Sarah Lynn, who plays stand up bass and the banjo, had a blast and it showed. Recently signed to ORG music label, you can check out their EP, “Four Steps in Corsets,here.

Kansas City’s Making Movies at Desmonds: Bilingual indie rock? Yes, please. It’s as if this music was made for me– a kid born in the States to Colombian parents who instilled in me a love for amazing Afro-Latino music!

Founded by brothers Enrique and Diego Chi, Making Movies fuses Afro-Cuban rhythms with indie sensibilities and bilingual songs. Currently, legendary artist and producer Steve Berlin of Los Lobos, is producing their sophomore album. In the meantime, check out “Hangover Blues” off their EP (with its cool album art) Aguardiente here. Buy the EP on iTunes. Read my interview with lead singer and owner of awesome dreadlocks, Enrique Chi, at Sounds and Colours here. And check out this short video of them covering Aguanile, one of my favorite Hector Lavoe songs of all time, here.

New York City’s Pillow Theory at Bowery Electric: Kelsey Warren from Pillow Theory and I go way back, when my brother, Richie, stumbled upon one of their shows in the late 90s. These guys have been rocking for quite a while and it only gets better. I’ve had friends compare them to Living Colour (whom they opened for at Central Park’s Summer Stage) and even Bush– both bands from the 1990s. True, yet Pillow Theory finds a way to keep their sound relevant. Seriously, they get better, they rock harder every time I see them. And Kelsey sounds like Seal. (Hear his solo album here.)

Kelsey tells me their critically acclaimed EP, MELTDOWN, will be re-released November 5th via Europe’s FILTER label “with some extra spices on it.” In the meantime, check out 2007’s Outpatience here. You can watch their latest music video for Blipsters & Buppies (yep, you guessed it–black hipsters and black yuppies) here.

Also at Bowery Electric:

From Brooklyn — The Disappointment: It’s quite the opposite. You’ll be pleased with this foursome that play rock-n-roll tinged with blues and soul. Reminded me of Black Crowes with a New York edge. Listen to their EP, Damn Righteous, here.

From New York City — Man on Earth: The folks at CMJ once described Man on Earth as “Glistening, wide-open arena rock with spirited choruses and a charged romanticism.” Yet I also hear something new wave in them (listen to “Sometimes.” You’ll see what I mean.) Add to that an energetic stage show and therein lies your reason for checking these guys out. (Bonus points for the lead singer who sang right into my camera!) Check out album, Things They’d Never Believe, here.

From Brooklyn — The Last Royals: If your lead singer’s style reminds me of INXS’ Michael Hutchence at all, I’m going to listen, and chances are, I’m going to like it. This Brooklyn duo, who make “beat-laden indie pop,” had the lower level of Bowery Electric intently watching as writer/singer/producer Eric James dropped down to the floor once or three times. According to their Wikipedia page, James and drummer Mason Ingram first met in 2010 while recording a record to benefit Restore NYC, a charity focused on ending sex trafficking and restoring the well-being and independence of foreign-national survivors. For that reason alone, you should give their stuff a listen here!

From New York City — Bear Ceuse: They describe themselves as LOUD ASS ROCK. Sometimes. But I also thought frat party, and not in a bad way! A fun way. Let’s just say this band had the girls dancing right at the front of the stage. Check out their tunes on Bandcamp here.

There are so many bands who played the CMJ Music Marathon to discover!! Visit CMJ’s website for a great roundup. Their site is a great resource for music year-round.