What does being an Afro-Latino band mean? My favorite LA bands in their own words


by Tom Nguyen

Seems like folks really enjoyed my last blog on 6 upcoming Los Angeles Latin Alternative bands to watch, so I wanted to follow up with my favorite Afro Latino bands, heating up dance floors all over SoCal with their tropical rhythms (in alphabetical order): Buyepongo, Changui Majadero, El Santo Golpe, La Chamba, QUITAPENAS, Tropi Corillo and YANGA.

Now, I’m not an ethnomusicologist…I’m not qualified to give you an academic lecture on what makes each of these bands different, from which cultures and regions of Latin America they derive their music, and so on. What I do know is I’m a sucker for percussion and tropical beats, and music like this gets me into a non-stop frenzy on the dance floor!

But beyond that, I’d rather you hear from the musicians themselves, to let them tell you in their own words what their band and their music is all about. And let’s talk about labels again…”Afro Latino”…it seems like everyone wants to throw that term around these days. African descendants and roots in Latin America have been so historically unacknowledged, and in Los Angeles, there’s a tight knit community of bands reclaiming and honoring African contributions that bleed deeply through their music.

Because Afro-Latino heritage has been so suppressed and unacknowledged in home countries and communities here in LA, I wanted to know what drove each band’s interest in this music and why they think there are so few musicians of Afro-Latino descent in LA. I wanted to especially hear from some of the bands who’ve used their music and platform to highlight anti-blackness in Latino communities and to work towards more solidarity between Black and Brown communities. Folks in these bands are passionate about their music and its history, but also willing to talk frankly on heavy issues that go beyond the music. I want to thank each of them for their time and make sure you catch them at one of many upcoming shows: All of them are playing free shows, with 3 of them at Levitt Pavilion Los Angeles starting this weekend and 2 of them at South LA Power Fest on September 2nd! Continue Reading →

So you love Chicano Batman. Here’s 6 more amazing LA indie bands to watch.


by Tom Nguyen

LA’s underground Latin indie and rock scene is the most vibrant and explosive I’ve seen in years. Sure, Chicano Batman put the scene on the map and kudos to them…Coachella twice and 3 back-to-back sold-out shows this September wow! They’re such the hip, in-demand darlings right now, eager fans chased them to their cars after their performance to an over-capacity crowd at One Colorado in Pasadena this summer. I see posts on Facebook like a 60-something white CSULA professor gushing about playing their music to her class and wondering why her Latino students hadn’t heard them yet…so I had to ask her besides the Johnnie Walker commercial she saw, can she name any of the many talented and unique bands with Latino musicians playing amazing music in LA right now? Nope.

So Chicano Batman bandwagoners, take note. It took them nearly a decade of playing before the white mainstream music industry noticed, and LA Weekly recently wrote a great piece about LA’s Latin alternative music continuing to break down barriers, thanks in large part to visionary promoters like Viva Presents and Qvolé Collective. The thriving multicultural scene can be summed up by Qvolé’s motto…The Future is Latin. So in addition to great acts promoted by Qvolé like Buyepongo, Brainstory, Cutty Flam, here are six upcoming independent bands I think you should check out: Earth Arrow, Sin Color, The Altons, Twin Seas, Weapons of Mass Creation, Welfair. Continue Reading →

Subsuelo’s DJ Gozar premieres Poly Ritmo 2 Mix & Upcoming Global Bass Parties in LA


Photo by Farah Sosa(Update 8/8/13: Subsuelo at RG Club on Thur 8/8 is canceled but you can still catch them earlier at Grand Park!)
How do I get through hump day Wednesday? I dance. And the music I love dancing to is Global Bass, the border and genre crossing dance music, heavy with tropical rhythms and electronic beats, flavored with sounds from a global musical palette. Here in LA, no one does global bass better than the Subsuelo collective, known for throwing some of the best underground dance parties and LA-native, DJ Gozar, aka Josh Weiss, is one of its maestro taste-makers. Enjoy his latest mix Poly Ritmo 2, which takes you on a musical world journey exploring Afro-Latin rhythms from Brazil, Colombia and Peru, to Angola and Kenya in the motherland of Africa. DJ Gozar has selected fabulous remixes by Daniel Haaksman, Uproot Andy, Captain Planet, Geko Jones and Atropolis and if nearly an hour of non-stop booty-shaking isn’t enough for you, come shake it some more at these upcoming Subsuelo and global bass events in LA:

Thursday, August 1: Olmeca’s Brown is Beautiful Release Party with Subsuelo, KG Superstar & more @ Los Globos

Saturday, August 3: BassXX Crew with DJ Potira, Bianca Oblivion, Sweet Beats @ Seventy7 Lounge (weekly Saturdays)

Thursday, August 8: Out of Office free outdoor concert series featuring Subsuelo @ Grand Park

Thursday, August 8: Thursday Night Sessions featuring Subsuelo @ RG Club (CANCELED)

Thursday, August 8: Afro Funke featuring Atropolis @ Zanzibar (weekly Thursdays)

Friday, August 9: Muvuca featuring DJ Gozar, DJ Potira, Jose Marquez & more @ Bootleg

Sunday, August 11: Sunset Club with Canyon Cody (Subsuelo), Paul Devro (Mad Decent) & more @ The House of Gods

Sunday, August 11: Brasilia baile funk with DJ Potira @ Agaves Bar (weekly Sundays)

Wednesday, August 21: Subsuelo @ East Side Luv (every 3rd Wednesday)

Thursday, August 22: Cloud City with Canyon Cody (Subsuelo), Derek Beres @ Bar Copa (every 4th Thursday)

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