[conrazón news] circles 2013 rappin UP!
01/08/2014, 5:11 pm
Filed under: nocategory

It’s been a minute since I’ve sent one of my email blast recaps. Can’t tell you how much it touches me when someone tells me they dig the voice in these letters. It’s all from the heart, all this work, which is evolving and I’m working to articulate. We are in transitional times with digital rebels [both behind the screen and AFK: away from keyboard] everywhere redefining the idea of “work” and asserting their voices to rebalance the whole shit. But I finally gave it a try to try to describe what I’m doing and the aim:

Creating Platforms, Bridges & Translations: Worldwild Digital Era Global Pop Culture & Arts.

So, then: What is this newsletter about & why is it so damn long?
It’s a remix. A recap of the work I’m doing on the artist development side but also – to borrow from Jason Hirschorn – I am DJing the internet but from my urban/mutant/transnational/digital/global/poderosa/kid-of-immigrant view as a Loca [with a capital L, feel me?] in the biz of culture. You can just peep my work, scroll thru casually or you can dig deeper into the links I provide and music I’m feeling – UP TO YOU!

Oh yeah, Remezcla asked some folks on the scene like Bodega Bamz and Bocafloja about their “Best of 2013” — peep my picks by clicking on my mouth!


[Los Rakas] | @LosRakas on Twitter
The guys celebrated their 7th Anniversary in November [fotos by Raka Pitufo]…I had a chance to witness the sold out show in Oakland with my own eyes. 65% women, diverse on all sides [generational, ethnic], and most important? The show was lit and the guys did an amazing job with 3 different DJs. A Raka is a rebel. December was major for Raka Rich & Raka Dun, returning home to Panama after 12 years to a warm welcome with great coverage in major nationwide papers like El Siglo and TV interviews like national Panamanian TV show, La Cascara. The guys also played the “I Love Hip Hop” festival in Mexico City [fotos by Raka Pitufo] and hosted a Meet & Greet in the city. Check out a playlist they made for Mexican indie music blog, After rocking with Mos Def this past weekend and preparing for a big New Year’s Eve show with reggae artist J Boog, the guys will unleash music in a major way this Spring and tour nationally as well [tour dates here].


Zuzuka Poderosa | @ZuzukaPoderosa on Twitter
This post – #Psicodelia Europe: The Party Catch A Fire in the Ghetto! – recaps Zuzuka & Nego Mozambique’s Scandinavian & Spain November tour. The duo has lots of music up their sleeve for 2014. Their past collabs resulted in some of my favorite songs from Zuzuka – ‘Psicodelia’ {Nego Mozambique Remix} and Celular– which was featured in the CBS show ‘Elementary’ earlier this month. Zuzuka was also featured on Brazilian national TV last month alongside huge Brazilian Popstar, Gaby Amarantos for the show Gaby Gringa’ and also spoke about being a Brazilian out in the diaspora for O Globo’s ‘Planeta Brasil. Check out Zuzuka’s Soundcloud for her 2013 singles [like another fav and global feminista anthem, “Goodah” featuring Gnucci Banana & Jasmine Solano] and her Carioca Bass EP with Kush

[La Mecanica Popular] | @LaMecanicaSalsa on Twitter
Connecting the roots, rhythms & future possibilities of tropical music, psychedelic salsa group La Mecanica Popular released their full length, self-titled debut last month on Brooklyn label, Names You Can Trust. Cop the GORGEOUS vinyl or get it on iTunes. The Washington Post called it “an enchanting album,” plus it’s made some great end-of-year lists (like Remezcla‘s) and the group performed on KEXP for a live session earlier this month [hear it here]. They have fans like Juanes, Bobbito Garcia, Gilles Peterson and Quantic.  If you’re in NYC, don’t miss the band live during APAP on January 11th at Drom for the Electric Cowbell & Barbes Showcase.



[How To Tackle The New Thing]
[35 & Single]
[Why 2013 Was A Terrible Year For Women In Hip-Hop]
[Don’t Forget Staten Island]
[Surviving Anxiety]
[Jerry Saltz on Kim, Kanye and “The New Uncanny”]
[Pussy Riot Freed From Russian Prison]
[Quesada, Sera]
[I Got Myself Arrested So I Could Look Inside The Justice System]
[In Queens to “clash,” Japanese dancehall kings Mighty Crown talk old-school Brooklyn and dub plates]
[Drone Art: Death on A Canvas]
[Yoga Poses Done By Starwars Characters]
[Can Feminist Hashtags Dismantle The State?]
[Sexual Energy & Creative Genius]
[Transgender Day of Remembrance]
[MIA & The Challenge of Marketable Diasporadic Trap Music]
[Esperanza Spaulding: Guantanamo Doesn’t Represent Our America]
[How Ayahuasca Can Revolutionize Psychotherapy]
[ Afro-Latin@ Perspectives]
[Michael Bloomberg Takes The Train To Nowhere]
[Defending The Partygirl Life]
[Beyonce Broke The Music Business]
[Bob Lefsetz on Beyonce’s Album]
[Loving Beyonce As a Black Woman]
[Toni Morrison & Junot Diaz Speak on Race & Writing for 2 Hours]
[Bell Hooks & Melissa Harris-Perry at The New School]
[Bell Hooks Digging Deeper on “Lean In”]


Especial de Wu-Tang [listen]
Oye Mi Canto – Sol Galeano [listen]
Still – Rocky Rivera [listen]
Songs In The Key of Chos – Norvis Jr [listen]
Se Que Me Olvidaste (Alt Version) – La Mecanica Popular [listen]
Thank You Very Much – Rapsody [listen] [whole mixtape is fire]
The Warm Up ft. Fashawn – Blitz the Ambassador [listen]
I Want You – The Rising Sun Allstars [listen]
South of Nowhere – Spanish Gold [listen]
Ritmo Uni – Eddie Palmieri & Cal Tjader [listen]
Givin’ Em What They Love ft Prince – Janelle Monae [listen]
Hot – Los Rakas [listen]
Lovely Day – Vic Mensa [listen]
Get On The Floor – Rebel Diaz [listen]
The World Is Softly Lulls – Hiatus Kayote [listen]
Beats & Thangs – Benamin [listen]
El Jugo – Maku Soundsystem [listen]
Somos Mujeres Somos Hip-Hop [listen]
Celia – iZem [listen]
Chico Sonido – Nalga Bass [listen]
Munchi & Isa GT – Isa Te Dijo [listen]
Mima y DJ Nature – La Vieja Voladora [listen]


Photo Credit: Wills

01/05/2014, 4:52 pm
Filed under: nocategory


RAMYA RAMANA: A constellated skyscraper moving gracefully to jazz beat, finding the Gil Scott-Heron in all her footwork, gripping the streetlights like an eclipse of hymnals, this is home. The lost voices, the heart’s devotion to beat and pulse, slow-dancing colonels, home to hustle, home to work hard, dream harder, home to move in silence, let success shatter the glass of hostage echoes New York City—not lights, not Broadway, not Times Square. It is single mother donating her last meal’s worth of money to church. It is the faith in that heart that makes a dead dream worth resurrecting. It is coffee-colored children playing hopscotch on what is left of a sidewalk. It is chalk-outlined, colonized map on a street as dark as the bones of the dead. This we call holy. This we call tough skin, thick-boned. This is New York.

We will no longer stay silent to this classism. No more brownstones and brown skin playing tug-of-war with a pregnant air hovering over them like an aura of lost children. No more colored boy robbed of their innocence. This city always will be the foundation of this country. We are root. We are backbone. We brown, we black, we yellow, we white, we young, we collage of creatures stomping to be reminded of the mammal inside of us. We chance, we deserve, us opportunity, us new mayor, us new beginning, like dancing cocoons, us hope, us fight, us happen, us love, us some good human, us happy, we happy, we happy with change. It is a constant baptism to remind us of our holy. We welcome, we family, we congratulate Mayor Bill de Blasio. We are so very honored and pleased to have you. And the congregation says:

CROWD: Amen!


Gr(attitude) For Latitudes: Seeing Ourselves & Our Scars
11/28/2013, 2:48 am
Filed under: nocategory

Gratitude’s an attitude.

Recently, I was put on to the writings, philosophy and purpose of the self-described “Jane Bond of Innovation” – Nilofer Merchant.  She’s been providing clarity, imagination and new ideas as a thinker and entrepreneur, urging us to “navigate the #SocialEra powerfully” for the sake of our individual and societal potential to shift the status quo, which is incredibly unbalanced. Named by MSNBC as one of 2013’s “Future Thinkers,” she’s been boldly shining a light for many – Fortune 500 companies and growing digital entrepreneurs alike – guiding us on the purposeful and impact(filled) road which involves embracing our “onlyness” in the wild wild west we know of as THE INTERNET. And, that we might be able to really do something with these tools that are connecting us all right now.

I watch her talk “On Being Seen” multiple times a day when I need the reminder, but she’s also been quite vocal about the under-talked-about problem of too many people sitting on their asses [“Sitting is the smoking of our generation.”] in the #SocialEra. I’m even looking into buying a standing desk as we speak and working to make more meetings walking ones, so thank you Nilofer!  Anyhow, check out these talks:

On Being Seen:

Got a Meeting? Take a Walk:

Now that you’ve been introduced, it brings me to this post on “Thanksgiving.”  Yesterday, Nilofer sent out a list of the things she was grateful for in the face of loss she had been experiencing around her.  We’re always losing, aren’t we?  The saying goes, “the leading cause of death is birth,” right? So, I agree with her, the excersize of celebrating what we do have is important. And like her, I share mine in the hopes you make one, too!

So here’s my list.  It’s totally from the gut and probably too long, but I’ve got gratitude for latitudes:

Marcus K Dowling for urging me to check out Nilofer & his intellectual generosity
Trees, Birds, Plants & Flowers
Mom and pop’s journey, various lives, trips, falls and continued creations
The momentum of their migration that’s now up to me to evolve
Soundcloud, Sendspace and Mailchimp
Google docs
Los Rakas
Zuzuka Poderosa
The excitement of working with La Mecanica Popular & their #PsychedelicSalsa
The teams I’ve been thru very thick and extremely thin with in the music business
This Eclectic Other
Screen shot 2013-11-28 at 4.26.03 AM
Grace for dancing and a love for movement
Nikki Brydson of Misfit Media & Brooklyn the Borough for all her love and support and BRAINS
Sandi, the hair artiste, pro-dreamer and sweetest NICE LADY with the best Persian tea & view
Pomegranates & Avocados
The journalists who really read me and understand I don’t need or want anything from them other than to listen and to feel what’s happening…a true cultural shift…thank you for tuning IN
Kamren the mother and her baby Luna…friendship and family!
The color purple
My sweet apartment in my hometown of Staten Island which I moved back to this year with the best Greek landlords and crickets’ songs
Living by water
Alice Austen
Bobbito Garcia
Water with lemon in large beer glass
Ferry beers
All the amazing people I met thru organizing logistics for Summerstage’s ‘This Is Hip-Hop’ 40th Anniversary
My awesome bed which my father built with his two hands…OUT THE IKEA BOX
The growing circle of women – older & younger than me – I feel are bridging across and making #subvHERsive alliances
The Refrigerator
Yirka, Michelle and Sabi – awesome media assistants this year helping me out big time!
Creative Neon
2013-03-30 22.33.24
All the amazing thrift furniture and clothes I magically connect with like my $150 butter leather couch
For the wisdom of knowing I don’t need to consume even MORE new things
Gina Vergel and her vivacious and disciplined example
Being a professional dreamer
My awesome lawyer Richard
Getting older and understanding karma on a much deeper level
My sweet angel with a purple heart
Wu-tang Clan, Los Rakas, Rocky Rivera, Nitty Scott MC, Vic Mensa, Blitz the Ambassador
J. LO & Becky G {Becky from The Block, especially}
NYC, Brooklyn, Queens, The Bronx, Manhattan
Los Angeles, Highland Park, Eagle Rock, Venice Beach, Laurel Canyon
San Francisco, Oakland, Lake Merritt, Berkeley
Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Haiti
The Staten Island Ferry
My penchant for making up words because my world doesn’t fit in the ones we have currently
Scented Candles and Incense
Independent bookstores, retail shops and coffee shops
My inability to feel shame about being a fan in the face of the “culture of cool”
My inability to feel shame about *having to share something I think more people need in their lives or need to know because it’s important
Bell Hooks and Melissa Harris-Perry talk @ New School {watch}
Buffy Sainte-Marie
Kanye West, Nipsey Hussle, Bodega Bamz, Nitty Scott MC, Kap G, Denitia & Sene & all the bold artists building with balls
Las Comadres – the national organization for Latinas to unite thru reading – I was lucky to host the first Comadrazo in Staten this year!
Rudy Rude a designer out in LA who made the conrazon album cover!
Being able to book Dengue, Dengue Dengue! from Peru for their NYC debut
The fact that water comes out of the shower head
Latino Rebels for daring to go there, working to cover the spectrum of the US Latino experience!
Daina {pictured}, Monica, Kamy, Elvira, Leizer, Sarah, etc – past interns I’ve worked with…I LOVE WATCHING THEM SOAR
SOBs for having the space for me to do #FUTUREROOTS
Tony Touch
Cindy Campbell [The 1st Lady of Hip-Hop] and Roxanne Shante
Sway Calloway for calling me “ambitious and overzealous” while introducing Los Rakas on “Sway In The Morning”
NYC Parks and Central Park
This winner
Laughter and very long walks
Raquel and her Mexico City abode and all the fun
The brave young undocumented youth, brutalized and criminalized youth not having it no more
Trayvon Martin NYC march after verdict
Screen shot 2013-11-28 at 3.55.18 AM
Instagram for giving a visual archive of my past lived life and adding more depth across acquaintances thru visual medium
Lauren Velez & La Lupe
End Stop & Frisk movement
Raquel and her getting me into Buddhist chanting in a time of need
Family…blood and not blood
Girl, I ain’t your enemy…I’m your last hope.” – Rocky Rivera lyric I love
The Fugees
My adversaries
The pig men who make my ass and smile the barometer for exactly where they stand for in humanity, thanks for making it so easy 🙂
“Stop Telling Women To Smile” project
Sweet, kind men
The Interference Archive in Brooklyn
Cafe Grattitude in Los Angeles
Mike Shane – Photographer from Staten Island – for snapping this:
Cold men I’ll never see again
Willie Mae Rock Camp for Girls
Soul-connected women, my friends, like Nina Parks:

Closed, guarded women I’ll be kind to and empathize with anyway
The privilege to travel
My sister, Paula Lucero…watching her success pushes me forward and gives me LIFE
The patriarchy that’s breaking down everyday as our voices rise
Hot weather and sunshine
Ghostface Killah & Nas
Frouple-life with Joaquin, who taught me so much and is a badass machinist and organizer
Screen shot 2013-11-28 at 4.30.21 AM
Everything Goes Bookstore Cafe for their strong coffee and warm vibes only walking distance from my home
Meeting amazing Staten Island-based dreamers and doers
The sound of rain
Being a professional dreamer
Seeing D’Angelo live for the first time live
The Shifting Paradigms
Hashtags I love, even if you don’t get them, like: #Diasporadical, #Worldwild, #FutureRoots, #subvHERsive, #BootlegBillCunningham, #Shero
Filters and Twitter Lists
M.I.A. “Matangi”: Boom {Skit}, Matangi & Lights [Read This]
A writer whose writing I admire…admiring my voice!
Loved ones who have flexibility with me, but toughness and then tenderness as I change and the growing pains continue
Anabel Hernandez and Jeremy Scahill at the Brooklyn Bookfair
Women of Color
Allies and Fighters
Tom Tom Magazine
The amazing and radical “Rock The Belles” show which Bluestockings Bookstore put on
Raquel Cepeda and her book “Bird of Paradise
Bold Radical Art That’s Unapologetic Staten Island’s Chinese Scholar Garden, The Greenbelt and Midland Beach
Sexual Energy
My stomach scar, because it’s literature of the body and without it, I’d never have gotten past Day 1

#TwitterRantz: On the J.Lo & Celia Cruz 2013 AMAs Tribute
11/25/2013, 2:17 pm
Filed under: nocategory

via conrazon: “Most impressive of Jennifer Lopez / Celia Cruz tribute was dancer in red “d*ck in the face” death dive, Beyoncé-pump mid-Salsa & that ABC did dat, right? I left watching that performance like “y’all betta know!” …that’s the win regardless of my least fav parts of the “tribute” #AMAs #HI$PANIC. Tho the centralization of JLO as *so prominent & prolific is troubling. We need a vanguard to move past idolization of the ass & really rep. I say that WITH ALL THE RESPECT…I can’t dance like she do! She will go down I hope with the recognition of her TALENT…fly! #Shero But there’s so much more out there. WE ARE SO MUCH MORE. #WAVE

Need some guava juice after thinking about THAT* one.  Where to start with Pitbull hosting… I SEE YOU ABC! Feel free to leave comments and watch the video I’m referring to below.  Now’s my turn to bow down to “La Reina de Cuba” – CLICK ON THE PHOTO BELOW.  AZUCAR! Love, a media cubanita mutant in a modern America, XO.


The Roots, Rhythms, & Future Possibilities of Tropical Music
11/24/2013, 12:13 pm
Filed under: nocategory

On iTunes: And/Or Own The Vinyl LP via NYCTrust:

NYC Psychedelic Salsa Band La Mecanica Popular Release Debut Self-Titled Album With Brooklyn-Based Vinyl Label Names You Can TrustThe Album Represents The Connection Between The Roots, Rhythms, & Future Possibilities of Tropical Music & Culture! Features Guest Percussionist Louis Bauzo (Fania Records) & Produced by Xuxi Lazaro (Rita Indiana & Juan Luis Guerra)

Stream Album on South American Music Music Magazine Sounds & Colours Plus Interview!
Click Here: on iTunes:
Own The Vinyl LP via Independent Grand:

The group combines the big band sound of salsa’s golden era with experimental instrumentation for a brand new sound.” – NY Daily News
“La banda suena de puta madre! [Translation: The band sounds fucking incredible!]” – Juanes

“Salsa dura with a twist.” – Sounds & Colours
“They have the potential to be one of the most interesting bands in town.” – New York Music Daily


Feature in NY Daily News “La Mecanica Popular looks to jump start salsa”
Video Interview with band director Efrain Rozas in Gozamos
For Spanish Speakers – PanamerikaBendita reinvención de la salsa
Upcoming Shows in New York City:
Friday, November 29 @ Drom [Salsa y Sexo Vol 2], 10 PM [RSVP]
Friday, December 6 @ Lit Lounge, 9 PM
Thursday, December 19 @ Barbes, 10 PM
Saturday, January 11 @ Drom [APAP-Showcase]

November 2013: On the heels of a steady rising, break out year in New York City, which has seen La Mecanica Popular perform & refine their “Psychedelic Salsa” sound in numerous venues throughout the area, as well as advance to become one of just 3 national finalists in Dewar’s “Dewaristas: The Search for the Next Great Latin Sound,” Names You Can Trust presents the group’s debut long-player to a worldwide audience for the first time this week!

Led off by the lead single and official video which dropped earlier in the year on NYCT, “La Paz Del Freak,” the album weaves its way around the traditional stylings of Salsa & Bolero, with a heavy dose of electrico, incorporating a blend of Peruvian guitars & experimental synths, sounds and textures. They’ve been praised for their live performances and recordings alike, receiving endorsements and spins from notables such as Juanes, Quantic, Gilles Peterson & Bobbito to name a few. The group also premiered the song “Arbol” via global Caribbean platform – LargeUp. Hear the song:

The 9-track album of original compositions was recorded between NYC & Peru, written by band-leader Efrain Rozas and co-produced alongside Xuxi Lazzaro (Rita Indiana & Juan Luis Guerra) & Manuel Garcia Orozco. Featuring Fania Record‘s percussionist Louis Bauzo (Celia Cruz & Tito Puente) as well as a melting pot of musicians from New York, Colombia, Peru & Venezuela, as well as the core 7-piece ensemble that performs live, this debut album serves as a welcome connection between the roots, rhythms, and future possibilities of Tropical music and culture.

“La Mecánica Popular is the most refreshing attempt at maintaining Salsa’s integrity while introducing a completely new, unprecedented sound that I’ve ever heard. I totally see them being HUGE!” – Bobbito Garcia – Doin’ It In The Park, NYC“Love it. Heavy vibes on this one! Sounds like Dax Pacem live in Peru on Ayahuasca.” – Quantic – Tru Thoughts, Soundway

“Storming debut release from La Mecánica Popular on NYCT – dancefloor-burning guaguanco meets tripped-out electronics for some cosmic salsa vibes, definitely one for the box!” – Hugo Mendez – Sofrito

“You might eargasm over the way they take psych-influenced sounds of Fania-era salsa and mash it with wavy vibes of ’70s Peruvian chicha.” MTV Iggy

“Like a cross between adventurous 1970’s Fania-released Latin jazz fusion and the modern psychedelic sound of Chicano Batman. Favorite track: La Paz Del Freak.” – Andrew Jervis – Bandcamp Weekly

Available on iTunes:
Own The Vinyl LP via Independent Grand:

For more information, contact:
For bookings, contact:

@LaMecanicaSalsa on Twitter
@LaMecanicaPopular on Instagram

#Psicodelia Europe: The Party Catch A Fire in the Ghetto!
11/08/2013, 10:37 am
Filed under: nocategory

Zuzuka’s been dipping throughout Scandinavia and Spain, with her last show in Madrid tonight with Guacamayo Tropical.  Concepto Radio covered the news of Zuzuka passing through the country, but her shows at Oslo World Music Fest and Stockholm were also big success! Check out some photos:

IMG_1629Oslo World Music Festival. Entire photo set here by Karen Gjermundrod.

580789_10151701906332691_1590654769_nZuzuka & Nego Mozambique in Stockholm @ Sodra Teatern. Foto by Åsa Hamneståhl.

ZuzukaRecordingMeneo2013Zuzuka in Zaragoza recording with Meneo. By Daniel Surutusa.

1455853_10200864420917814_1220250179_nPhoto shoot in Zaragoza with Daniel Surutusa.

Madrid20132Poster for Madrid show at Capital Smoking Club @ Guacamayo Club!

#NP | Zuzuka Poderosa & Kush Arora – Psicodelia (Nego Mozambique Remix)


Special thanks to everyone who helped make this possible: Åsa Hamneståhl, Thomas Antonsson, Agustin of Charco, Johan of Bar Brasil, Andres Patino & Guacamayo Tropical and the crew at Oslo World [Einar, Maria, etc!].  Also much love to Juliano Domingues and Stefan Blomquist for their amazing work on the flyer and photos!

“Sexo, sexo…a quien no le gusta eso?!”
10/16/2013, 12:37 pm
Filed under: nocategory

THIS FRIDAY is Salsa y Sexo Vol. 1 in New York City:

Salsa y Sexo is a party that wants to go beyond the stereotype that Salsa dancing is a difficult & exclusive acrobatic practice, while keeping the idea of Afro-based rhythms as a primal, beautiful drive: sexual & spiritual. And that it’s for everyone…no matter what you can do or where you come from…you just feel it! Salsa y Sexo brings back the groove of Afrocaribbean music with the freedom of DJ Culture of the XXI century…#ThirdWaveSalsa #NYCSalsa

It’s at Nublu on Ave C and starts at 9 PM with DJ Buscabulla [Salsa Gorda, Merengue Viejo], DJ Conan [Chicha, Cumbia] {Oliver from Chicha Libre} and one of my favs, DJ Cristo  [Salsa y Cumbia Dura] {Escarioka Crew, resident DJ at Mehanata & Bembe} – and La Mecanica Popular [#PsychedelicSalsa] will do 2 live sets!  GONNA BE HOT.

9 PM – 4:30 AM…let’s get it in this Friday night, mi gente!   CLICK HERE for details.