Los Rakas on LatiNation | ‘infectious bicultural energy’
12/22/2010, 5:51 pm
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What a year!  Check out Los Rakas on nationally-syndicated program, LatiNation. So glad this finally aired!  The guys did a bulk of the interview from 2010’s Latin Alternative Music Conference (LAMC) in NYC.

‘We just do music.  In English and Spanish.  Cause we got both cultures, we’re privileged to have that and be able to translate an American sound of music in Spanish.  It’s just natually planted in us.  We can do something like Ruben Blades or Tito Rojas, take a little piece from here, from there…and that’s why I think our music is out there.’ – Raka Rich and Raka Dun

Stay tuned for 2011 – lots of big things in the works!  Rico and Dun just finished a sold-out, 18-date ‘How The Grouch Stole Christmas‘ tour up and down the West Coast with underground hip-hop mainstays – Living Legend’s ‘The Grouch’ and Rhymesayers’ ‘Brother Ali.’  I’m hearing the livest shows were in Oakland, CA, Bellingham, WA and Portland, OR.  Check out a sample of the action on the guys’ tour diary:

You can support the Raka movement by getting their music here.

{Foto by: Juan Luis Garcia /}


photo post: Brasil está no meu coração
12/19/2010, 7:33 pm
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Last week brought me to Brazil, where I was lucky enough to be invited to the Feria Musica Brazil in Belo Horizonte, capital of the Minas Gerais region.  The festival brought together promoters, managers, festival bookers, production companies and artists mostly from the Brazilian music industry, but also included visitors from Latin America, Spain and the United States.

I had the opportunity to share/build and learn about these peoples’ mundos and projects, all while bonding over some amazing musical performances from some of Brazil’s finest talent like: Gilberto Gil, Otto, Bebel Gilberto, Tulipa Ruiz, 3NaMassa (dub samba electro soul), BNegão (hip-hop band w/ rapper who plays guitar), Thalma de Freitas, Renegado and others!  I also spoke on a panel, but nerves and non-communication with my fellow panelists {and an absent moderator} sort of had me tongue tied with all the things I wanted to share on such a broad topic – AH! – which is a regret of mine because I have so much to say! {can you say public speaking classes for 2011? YES!}

As I meandered and spoke one on one with people {much more my forte}, I met the very amazing DJ Guga who ended up being my partner in crime and helped me navigate the city without speaking any Portuguese.  Turns out we had a lot in common – Guga spins ‘Tropical Bass’ music at a party he throws in Fortaleza, so we liked a lot of the same music.  He turned me on to a lot of Tecno Brega (watch this video to learn more and watch it in action) and a documentary he’s working on called ‘PIRANHA – O Carimbó no Ceará’ with Manu Chao and some classic carimbó traditional guitar players in Northern Brazil.  Check it out:

I also met amazing promoters from festivals in Bahia, Recife, Sao Paolo to Galicia in Spain to Croatia.  I bumped into the always friendly and honest Moose from CMJ, met Patrick Tor4 and Axe.l from the Global Libre crew, and danced my face off!  Everybody was super open and kind – the whole trip was very overwhelming due to language differences and the sheer vastness of Brazil’s music industry and history; but I feel like this is the tip of the iceberg as far as returning to Brazil – think about it, in the next 10 years, both the Olympics and the World Cup will be there – all eyes will be on Brazil and her beautiful culture.  It’s very exciting to be a part of it and witness at this point before the madness begins.

Anyhow, after 3 great days at the conference and one missed alarm clock, I shuffled to the airport {where I shared a flight and conversation w/ Bebel Gilberto} to Rio de Janeiro.  I don’t know about you, but Rio has always been a place I’ve wanted to visit since childhood – maybe the media portrays it with such on-the-surface romanticism – the sugarloaf, the girl from ipanema, etc.  What I witnessed was extreme poverty (there are over 1,000 favelas in Rio alone) to some of the most ‘sophisticated’ neighborhoods I’ve ever seen.   The beaches were beautiful – I was able to soak in the sun, the food, the markets, the music, the nightlife {even a sponsor party or two}, the public transportation system, some counter culture, the people (!) and everything in between.  FEELING VERY BLESSED FOR THE OPPORTUNITY!

Big thanks | Obrigado: Mark Gartenberg & Tracy Mann of MG Limited, Luciana Camargo, FMB 2010 team, Beco Dranoff, DJ Guga, Bill Bragin, DJ Tudo, Geraldo, Axe.l, Thalma, Felipe, Brian Cross & Mochilla, Sergio at the Los Angeles Brasilian Consulate, Gandja Monteiro, Rudah Ribeiro, Aira, Aori Sauthon, Bobbito Garcia, Mattias Maxx, Malibu Stacy, Rachel Glickhouse, Zuzuka Poderosa who helped make this trip happen and/or introduced me to amazing new friends in Brasil!

In fotos:

belo horizonte

belo horizonte

guga! + friends from porto allegre

thalma & i – muito obrigado!

funarte – where FMB 2010 took place!

bnegão rocked it at Lapa nightclub in Belo Horizonte

my candomble orixa – Shango

candomble shop along spirits row

flying into Rio de Janeiro from Belo Horizonte

local artisans at a Sunday market in Ipanema

so many colors

which way to the beach?

just in time to catch the sunset over Ipanema

caipirinha please!

acai for breakfast, lunch and dinner

my friends on the beach!

mattias maxx in front of his amazing comic book/apparrel store & art gallery, La Cucaracha – sócio em crime!

expert in the metro and omnibus!

rode the woman-only car on the metro – refreshing!

orchideario at the Botanical Garden

…where i wandered amongst the trees and monkeys without another soul in sight

the streets of rio

on my way to…


with more friends – i loved these kids!

ate here 3 times – steak + cheese + pineapple sandwich = heaven

strolling through lapa on a rainy afternoon

official mural upon entering lapa

love you airport Tony from the Czech Republic who travels the world doing action water sports, for initiating a 3 way conversation while on line bw myself and portuguese-only speaking young lady.  was a beautiful exchange even if none of us spoke the same language and what away to pass the time!

Blitz the Ambassador {full show} / Bomba Estéreo at Trans Musicales
12/15/2010, 1:53 pm
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Ghana via Brooklyn’s Blitz the Ambassador just got back from a quick France trip to play the prestigious Trans Musicales Fest w/ Gonjasufi and Bomba Estéreo in Rennes on December 11th, 2010.  Blitz hits Joe’s Pub on January 6th w/ Baloji in New York City next for ‘The Embassy Ensemble presents’ residency {1st Thursdays} –> don’t miss it!

Check out the full show here:

Watch Blitz on TV Rennes here.

Looks like Bomba has a great time in France as well.  Check out all their fotos and watch their live set too from the show here.

“Día libre: Paseo por Rennes. Fotos desde la penumbra navideña.- Julian”

La Raza Cosmica —> Chico Mann
12/06/2010, 1:10 pm
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Latin AfroBeat Freestyle Fela Cosmic Parallel Urban Concrete Space Universe —> all words/concepts I think when I listen to Chico Mann.  Check out this Jersey City/NYC native {woop woop!} Chico Mann, on LA’s KCRW’s Morning Becomes Eclectic – f i n a l l y.  Very refreshing and exciting {inspiring!} how intrigued greater Los Angeles is about Chico – he’s got the number one slot at the station.  I can’t wait to see him at The Roxy in Los Angeles tonight – get tickets here.  And, get his album, Analog Drift {my favorite 2010 album cover – LA RAZA COSMICA!} too.