Interview: Sin Color’s next show Sin ColOrquestra breaks musical boundaries with DIY Ethic and Orchestral Collaboration

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Photo by SandraFlores.net

by Tom Nguyen

If you haven’t seen Sin Color yet, you’re missing out on the prodigious talents of two teens, Crisia Regalado and David Aquino, from South LA, who are creating pop music defying labels and impressing new audiences with their constantly new collaborations and experimentation. I caught up with them recently for an interview about their latest all-ages show this upcoming Friday, May 27, at Tropico De Nopal, called Sin ColOrquestra.

EnClave.LA: What’s the idea behind this show?

Crisia: The idea is to bring together different disciplines and to collaborate and to bring a different touch to all of our compositions and our songs. And to add dancers to help us paint the story which we’re trying to convey.

EnClave.LA: What’s the story and the message you’re trying to tell?

David: Sin Color is all about just being open and constantly changing everything. Whether it’s people or sounds or ways of writing or anything, we always want fresh things. We get bored easily.

Crisia: We’re all about risking everything.

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BMI’s Posada en Rosa Showcases Emerging Latina Voices and helps St. Jude Children’s Cancer Research

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Alih Jey and Mitre

Story and Photos by Oscar Bautista

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Chongo Head T-shirts

The Gibson showroom in Beverly Hills housed a great lineup of emerging Latina singer/songwriters this holiday month. Hosted by Broadcast Music Incorporated (BMI)’s Latin division, Posada en Rosa brought together amazingly gifted female artists, as well as community vendors to raise money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Along with the music, attendees were treated to pastries from local SoCal small enterprises Mi Kaffe and Viva Los Cupcakes. Chongo Head T-shirts, a family business started by 14 year old Soraya Gonzalez, showed off amazing T-shirt concepts she designs with her father.

Proceeds from the night’s sales were donated to St. Jude, whose representative Odette Gutierrez took the time to educate us about the global organization’s history of improving children’s cancer survival rate from 20% to 80% today. She thanked us in gratitude, saying since they are primarily funded through donations and children’s cancer research is less funded than adult cancer research, every effort counts and is appreciated!

The main draw for the night was the showcase with five great performances by some of Latin America’s young emerging singer/songwriters. Artists for this night included Mexican singer/songwriters Anna Sophia, Vanessa Zamora, Alejandra Alberti, Cuban singer/songwriter Ilza Rosario, and Dominican singer/songwriter Alih Jey who was accompanied by fellow BMI artist Mitre. Continue Reading →

Interview with Hayokaht: Defiant and Conscious Experimental Jazz in LA’s Eastside

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Story and Photos by Oscar Bautista

With belting horns and driving rhythms, Hayokaht is one act coming out of East LA that is bringing back jazz to the communities it calls home. Using the technical and chaotic styles of free jazz, while still venturing into new territories of sound, this group takes its audiences on a ride through the eclectic cultures of its members.

Playing as a quartet, Bryan Diaz (tenor sax), Angel Hernandez (alto sax from Buyepongo), Michael Ibarra (bass from El Haru Kuroi), and Harout Gulesserian (drums) form a powerhouse group of talented artists that tempt the edges of jazz to find their unique sound.

IMG_0047 With a residency at Eastside Luv, you shouldn’t be surprised to find a packed house every first Wednesday of the month as Hayokaht entertains a crowd of fans. It was especially packed this first Wednesday of December where people came out to support Hayokaht by donating to help them towards their first EP.

After seeing their performance first hand I quickly understood why the bar was bursting at the seams. Soul baring and never missing a beat, Hayokaht mixed the wild improvisation of free jazz and the dark setting of L.A. life into a great live set.

Glimpses of the jazz masters such as Sun Ra and Charles Mingus can be heard in their performance giving homage to the artists who molded free jazz. That’s not to take away attention from the amazing musicianship carried by all four member of the group – each providing their own flavor to the Hayokaht sound.

After their set, I got to speak with these new torches bearers of L.A. free jazz to find out more about how they came together, as well as how they connect to the community through music. Continue Reading →

Interview: El Dusty brings Cumbia Electronica with Tejano Roots to LA with MLKMN, Kinky and Enjambre

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By Oscar Bautista/Photos Courtesy of Press Junkie PR

Hailing from Corpus Christi, Texas, Dusty Oliveira or as he’s better known DJ Dus aka “El Dusty” is a specialist of sound who has been mixing for years to create great combinations of sound.

Taking inspiration from old school rhythms and beats, he produces a unique sound of dance music all with a magnetic cumbia flavor.

El Dusty, along with friend and collaborator MLKMN, Kinky and Enjambre will be performing for us here in L.A. with a show coming up Thursday, December 17 at the Fonda Theater.

EnClave LA had the opportunity to speak with Dusty in hopes of giving LA audiences an insight on his introduction to mixing, his inspirations, and the amazing community of musicians emerging from the Corpus Christi music scene: Continue Reading →

The Arcs, new project by The Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach, plays first live show at Espacio 1839 in Boyle Heights (Full video)

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by Tom Nguyen

I found out yesterday afternoon a new band The Arcs was going to have their first live performance at Espacio 1839 in Boyle Heights that very evening…and not just any new band…one formed by Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys. Now disclaimer: I haven’t listened to The Black Keys since ohhh 2010 but hey I live a few blocks away from Espacio 1839, and I’m not above being a curiosity seeker, especially when a new hipster band decides to premiere at one of Boyle Heights’ bastions of anti-gentrification. How does that even happen? Well apparently El Oms, an artist and good friends with Espacio 1839, did the artwork for The Arcs’ upcoming music video for the song Put a Flower in Your Pocket. The night was a celebration of the completion of the video, which will be released next Friday August 14.

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Interview with Sandra Lilia Velasquez: From Pistolera to her new genre-defying project SLV

SLV Press Photo Duo Floor_photo credit Shirley Rodriguez

photo credit Shirley Rodriguez

by LillyFlor del Valle

(BOYLE HEIGHTS) — If listening to great music is your thing, Eastside Luv is definitely the place to visit. You can always count on top of the line musicians and this time Nancy Sanchez and SLV rocked the stage. The lineup for July 9, 2015 featured Sandra Lilia Velasquez and Sean Dixon‘s musical project SLV. Their debut EP, Dig Deeper, was produced by legendary bassist Meshell Ndegeocello. Velasquez is also the founder of the band Pistolera and Dixon is the drummer for the experimental electronic band Zammuto. Their debut album This Kind was released this past May. I had a few moments to speak with Velasquez about the project and even found out that we’re both from San Diego.

Lilly: What does SLV mean?

Velasquez:  They’re just my initials. I thought Sandra Lilia Velasquez was too long.

Lilly: How did you and Sean Dixon meet?

Velasquez: He has a rehearsal studio in Manhattan, I started renting out his studio space for my other band Pistolera and over time I shared with him music that didn’t in fit with Pistolera. I knew he was also a composer so I invited him to add to the songs, which he did. It wasn’t planned and I’ve always wanted a song writing partner.

Lilly: How does that dynamic work? Continue Reading →

Abstrakto: The New Sound of Los Angeles

IMG_0225by Lilly Flor del Valle

(HOLLYWOOD)– What could be more fun than hanging out at the Blind Dragon listening to the fresh musical stylings of Abstrakto, live? Well, not much. Abstrakto is the new music project from multi-Grammy winning lead singer and trumpeter from Ozomatli, Asdru Sierra, and actor/producer Balthazar Getty. The self-titled debut album, released under Getty’s independent label, Purple Haus, is a musical experience with a heavy noir cinematic feel. One of their songs, “Amar A Todos” will be featured featured in Robert Rodriguez‘s “Matador” TV show on El Rey Network in an upcoming episode.

I had the opportunity to speak with Sierra and Getty to learn about how this duo came to be. You’d think these well-known musicians met at an awards ceremony, recording studio, or maybe through their networks but they met at their kids’ school. Soon after meeting, Sierra was invited to collaborate on the critically acclaimed album “Solardrive” produced by Getty, also released under Purple Haus. Their creative collaboration began a friendship that would lead to the creation of Abstrakto in late 2013.

Sierra’s songwriting and instrumentation along with Getty’s classic “producer/reducer” talents ties everything together to become Abstrakto. The group recognizes the importance of the Raza demographic and plan to focus on reaching them through various ways: movies, commercial placements, touring and collaborations with different artists. They’ve already worked with Bomba Estereo!

Getty describes himself as a “producer/reducer” because he pushes people to their full potential to extract the absolute best sound. Sierra can record a trumpet solo, numerous times and Getty will pick the track with the best take. His wide skill set made it possible for Getty to direct and act in the music video for Abstrakto’s “Marcando Paso” and even designed the artwork for the album cover.

For Sierra, this is the most cinematic and personal album he’s recorded to date. The songs contain a range of themes inspired by Shakespeare along with capturing moments of the human experience. As a Mexican immigrant growing up in Los Angeles, Sierra’s music breaks down stereotypes with hopes to inspire generations to continue breaking down barriers of misrepresentation in the media.

The highlight of thIMG_0232e night came when Abstrakto took the stage and performed tracks from the album. As the trumpet filled the room, nobody could stay seated. Getty held it down on the turntable for Sierra to take flight. Abstrakto, two guys with a vision and the sound to match.

IT’S CARNIVALLLLLL! Caribbean Carnival heats up LA with J’ouvert, Soca and Hollywood Parade!

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by Ruth Tesfai

In college, a dear friend turned me on to Reggae and Dancehall and I fell in love. Two years later, the Caribbean nightlife in London turned me on to Soca and it was a wrap. Coming from Los Angeles, I had little exposure to these styles of music and upon my return, I was very disappointed to find barely anything here! Depressed more like! Fast forward to a couple years and seemingly out of nowhere, LA has become a major carnival player! On June 27th, Los Angeles will be celebrating its 4th Annual Hollywood Carnival and it looks to be bigger and better than ever!

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14 Rappers, 14 Countries for UNICEF: Where are the Women MCs?

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by Tom Nguyen

Dear San E and UNICEF,

I was excited to discover your music video #HIPHOPISHIPHOP – Hip Hop for the World bringing together 14 rappers from 14 countries to express the unifying love of hip hop. I love that this video was made in the tradition of the iconic song We Are The World, to bring light on an important global issue: children’s access to education. Except for the venerable KRS-One, I love that I didn’t know any of the rappers. Thanks for giving talented rappers around the world a chance to shine!

Now, I ask…where are the women? I was quickly disappointed to see that out of 14 rappers, there was only one woman, YACKO from Indonesia. Why does this bother me? While every rapper in that video is talented and deserving and I applaud each of them, I have so many reasons for why this gender imbalance in your video upsets me.

Hip hop has historically been a very unfriendly and unfair place for women and it still remains so. Misogyny, homophobia and transphobia are big problems in hip hop songs, lyrics and culture. I’m afraid your video only reinforces the exclusion of women in hip hop. If We Are The World had better inclusion of women in 1985, I’m sure we can do better in 2015.

Since you are using hip hop as a platform for children’s education and your own statistics show that girls suffer greater disadvantage and exclusion from education in so many parts of the world, wouldn’t you have wanted to represent more women as role models? If you had included more women cyphers, I think your message would have been much more powerful and inspiring in your quest for gender equality in education.

After all, you released this video during Women’s History Month and right before International Women’s Day. I think you squandered a very good opportunity to not only address the inequality of access to education, but to also give strength to the message that the ones most affected by that inequality are girls around the world. You could have shown young girls everywhere that they have the same right and ability to succeed in any male-dominated space.

However, I have faith in an organization that is doing so much to achieve gender equality. We’re far from achieving equal human rights and opportunities for one half of the world’s population and it’s critical to keep empowering girls and women worldwide. There are no lack of girls and women on the front lines of society fighting for equality and freedom every day in every part of the world, and hip hop is no exception. In many countries, just being female, queer or trans in male-dominated hip hop is defiant and revolutionary. Below are just 14 of so many countless talented female, queer and trans rappers (in alphabetical order) who are not only rapping but doing so by challenging the status quo and giving voice to marginalized communities around the world. I hope you’ll consider them in a second hip hop video.

Respectfully,
Tom Nguyen

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Mr. Pauer gives a taste of his new ORANGE album and Electrópico sound!

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by Tom Nguyen

What went down:
I got invited to a private BMI and Red Bull LA Vida showcase last week at Los Globos to see Mr. Pauer (pronounced like ‘power’) and didn’t know anything about him other than the invite notes:

A Latin Grammy nominated artist releasing a new album ORANGE, a spontaneous music exploration of his Electrópico signature sound combining 14 vocal collaborations from 5 continents with different cultural and musical backgrounds sang in 4 languages (English, Spanish, Portuguese and Creole).

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IMG_2626Sounded pretty impressive and I had no idea what to expect. Mr. Pauer took to the small stage dominated by his percussion and electric drum setup, with Daniella Bertoldi by his side on keyboard. Wearing a bright flamboyant polka-dot shirt, underneath a screen of bright, mesmerizing tropical visuals, the affable performer proceeded to take us on a sonic journey that I couldn’t stop moving to until the music was over! Continue Reading →