Los Rakas

[Contraportada, April 3, 2012]

Guess which one is Raka Rich

Bay Area duo Los Rakas has been releasing tracks since members and cousins Raka Rich and Raka Dun were in their teens. In 2010 they were the darlings of alternative Latin music conference LAMC, and last August they released their “formal” debut, the vibrant EP Chancletas y Camisetas Bordada. In this interview for Contraportada, the Panama-raised cousins talked about their musical origins, their endless work flow, and the capacity to move from Plena-infused future bass to romantic R&B.

For more info on Los Rakas and related acts, check the amazing work of Natalia Linares at Conrazón.

[Watch here]

Contraportada Is Back

Contraportada, the arts and culture  segment I conducted between 2007 and 2011 for NY1 Noticias is back on air. The show returned on January 6 with an interview to up-and-coming Colombian-roots rockers M.A.K.U. Soundsytem, and a few days later with an interview to Guatemalan star Gaby Moreno. This week, it was the turn of flamenco genre-bender Buika, who had been on Contraportada back in 2010.

[Click on the image to watch]

CHIA’s Dance Party: Martín Vejarano’s New Ensemble

Martín Vejarano, restless explorer of Afro-Colombian music and leader of La Cumbiamba eNeYé has a new brainchild: CHIA’s Dance Party, an ensemble of percussion and brass that produces an exciting blend of Colombian rhythms, jazz and contemporary music. Here’s my interview with Vejarano on Contraportada.

Pedrito Martínez Makes Noise the Old Fashioned Way

In recent years, Cuban percussionist Pedrito Martínez has become one of the most active Latino musicians in the city. Besides playing his drums for numerous other musicians, he has formed a band of his own Pedrito Martínez Group. With this outfit, he has created a devoted following the old fashioned way: playing energetic weekly gigs at Cuban restaurant/club Guantanamera in Manhattan.

In this interview, Pedrito an piano player Axel Toscas talk about their music, and having fans such as Eric Clapton and John Scofield. [WATCH]