Our Cultural Picks for Los Angeles: June 7-13


by Tom Nguyen

With all that’s going on this week, I still consider it a “quiet” week before all the free summer concerts everywhere start to kick into full gear! Support the homies this week: one of my newest favorite bands Earth Arrow, Sister Mantos, Nancy Sanchez CD release party, Mark de Clive-Lowe, Quetzal, Sin Color and La Junta, and the Brazilian music community is joining forces to put on Choro and Afro-Roots and Funk + Forró Dance Party. Another Brazilian band Boogarins are here, plus we’re giving away tickets to Los Cafres and Locos por Juana with Tropico Modular, a Palenke Soultribe side project. Hola Mexico, one of my favorite film festivals, and Mixed Remixed, the largest celebration of interracial, mixed race experience in the nation, are happening in downtown, as well as many more great cultural and outdoor events all over SoCal, like Dia de San Juan Puerto Rican festival in Long Beach, CicLAvia from Glendale to Atwater Village, Playboy Jazz FestivalLA Pride, the many art walks & more!

MUSIC

Earth Arrow, Sister Mantos, Oscura Luna +dj Selvatica
The Offbeat (Highland Park)
Wed. June 7, 9pm, Free, 21+
One of my newest favorite bands, Earth Arrow…socially conscious and defiant, unabashed and fiery, watching them perform is what one friend described as “what it must have felt like being in radical Oakland in the 70s!” They describe themselves as “a Los Angeles Afro-cuban hip hop based band focusing on reviving ancient african and indigenous rhythms and dance .Earth Arrow is a reflection of the fire that burns in the hearts of all who live in colonized lands across the world. A pioneer of indigenous blues sounds, they set out to defy expectations and explore new realms of emotional intensity while incorporating modern hip hop and jazz sabor. Ancient and modern, the guitar licks, piano solos, and percussions hail from the ancestors and channels their visions for the future. Humbly playing to spread truth, justice, and light over the lands. The 6th sun is here.”

Boogarins w/ Jjuujjuu
Bootleg Theater
Thu. June 8, 8pm, $12-$14, 21+
Boogarins’ Fernando “Dino” Almeida and Benke Ferraz began playing music together as teenagers in the central Brazilian city of Goiânia– recording psychedelic pop in their parents’ gardens, filtering their country’s rich musical history through a very modern lens.

Nancy Sanchez: American Novio CD Release
Resident (Downtown)
Fri. June 9, 8pm, Free, 21+
Its finally here! I am so excited for this release of my new album American Novio. I am so grateful to all the musicians, Eugene Toale and Mares Entertainment for making this happen. Come celebrate this release along with our friends El Haru Kuroi and DJ Glenn Red.

Brazilla presents: Choro and Afro-Roots
Zebulon LA (Frogtown)
Fri. June 9, 9pm, $15, 21+
Braziilla is a blessing to protect the musical legacy of the Brazilian diaspora into Los Angeles. Brazilla is a collective of musicians and artists involved with music. Most of us are Brazilian although not all. Our mission is to protect and expand the influential legacy of our mother culture in all its diversity and radically. 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.