Roka Hueka with The Wailers!

YO!

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Been busy with other stuff lately (including the calendar)…  so haven’t been writing here as much.

The news is this…

Roka Hueka is opening for the world-famous Wailers again.  As in: Bob Marley & the Wailers, The Wailers.  Last time we opened for them I got to the venue just in time to catch the door closing on their dressing room…  Like: for their privacy.  Not ours, you know?  So, to break it down: without me on the inside.  I was on the outside.  I got to experience the sweet closing door.

AND THEN WE WENT ON STAGE AND CRUSHED IT!!!

But yeah…  Didn’t meet them.  Maybe this time…

And really: I got zero complaints.  We shared the stage with The Wailers!  And are about to do it again this Friday.  Thaswussup…

Here’s the FB Event.

Roka at Levitt Pavillion

I’ve been meaning to post this for a while…

Here’s a sweet, sweet video for our sweet, sweet show at Levitt Pavillion in Denver. No big deal… Just another night of crushing it with some funky Latin ska.

11/11/17 Scorpio throw-down

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I’m still vibing from what happened this weekend.

A beautiful/intense celebration of Scorpio birthdays with some of our closest friends…

Which (of course) includes a bunch of bad-ass musicians.

And I mean: *bad-ass* musicians.

Many of which brought their instruments and threw down in an unleashed, uninhibited, soul-liberating, fire-breathing jam session. Fire; as if life was traumatizing us on the daily and we needed to unleash our demons and heal our souls in one single breath/night.

Members of Dendrites, Roka Hueka, Pink Hawks, Mocochetes, all just THROWING THE FUCK DOWN with whatever the fuck came together. Testing and experimenting all the theories, muscle memories, speeds, rhythms, melodies, jingles, and styles that came to mind… No apologies for anything… There were no “wrong notes”.

It’s no exaggeration to say that I’ve never thrown down quite like that before. It’s as if life was added to me. Life that’ll endure past the current space suit I’m wearing and serve as my fuel and soundtrack for space travel…

…that’s how I’m seeing all this.  Music provides the sounds and spirits that’ll accompany us after all this.

…and this weekend was fire.

This weekend: Roka Hueka and Debajo del Agua at Ophelia’s!!!!

…and, yo (not to brag, *but….)

Roka and Debajo are the first and second bands listed in the Westword’s top-12 list of world-music acts to catch in Colorado this summer!!!

I ain’t lying…  You can click for that article here

All shows for June / July 2017

YO!

Tons of shows and stuff happening this summer…

I figured it’d be helpful to put out a little list of which band I’m playing with, where, when, why it’ll be a dope show, how it will make your face melt, etc…

Sunday, June 18: Roka Hueka will be performing in Colorado Springs for the first time in the history of Roka Hueka.  Never been done, never before attempted, this is reminiscent of the first space launch, we will arrive in Colorado Springs with nothing other than our abilities to melt faces and make booties shake.  First time.  Colorado Springs.  First time.  Location: Triple Nickel Tavern.  Click here for more details.

Saturday, June 24: I will be playing the Westword Music Showcase twice…  Once with Roka Hueka and then again with Roots, Rice & Beans (billed as Molina Speaks).  Click on the link above to see the schedule/location…

Sunday, June 25: I will be playing the Latinx Festival in Longmont with Roka Hueka.

Friday, July 7: You don’t wanna miss this show, you don’t wanna miss this show, you don’t wanna miss this show.  Roka Hueka at Ophelia’s with Al Capones and Roots, Rice & Beans!!!  Roka will be releasing its first video!  And lemme tell ya…  allow me to testify, even: So.  Much.  Fun.  To.  Do.  That.  Video.

You need to come out and skank your ass off to the funky ska rhythms of Roka and Al Capones…   also vibe with the funky-weird-freaky rhythms of Roots, Rice & Beanzzzzzzz….

Saturday, July 8: Pachamerica Festival 2 brought to you by Debajo del Agua.

This is where shit gets real.  This is where shit gets real real.  The OG’s of the bunch…

Debajo del Agua!!!

Check out this lineup: Debajo del Agua, Bang Data, 2MX2, and Yuca SoulDebajo del Agua will be releasing an album that night…  it’s the first album in like 1,372 years…  that shit is tight, yo…  I’m excited about this release…

What can you expect that night?  Really: everything that’s awesome about going to a bad-ass local show in the middle of a Colorado summer: dancing, sweating, good vibes, beautiful people, bad-ass drinks…  and as far as these bands, you can expect to hear the following: cumbia, hip hop, righteous lyrics, samba, salsa, ska, reggae, jazz, funk, son, Andean styles, reggeton, drum n’ bass, afrobeat, bossa nova, etc…  all performed as one big ol’ cosmic slop throughout the course of the night.

One.  Big.  Dirty.  Cosmic.  Slop.  …just for you.

Friday, July 14: Pink Hawks will be jamming out on the roof of the Museum of Contemporary Art!  Yo, this show is gonna be so dope!  I did this last year with Roka Hueka and it was awesome…  we’re on the rooftop, overlooking the city, open air, tight-ass band, bar up top (I recommend Bulliet bourbon for the occasion), check out some art…  you really can’t go wrong here.

Debajo del Agua/Artecura, Roka Hueka, and YukaSoul: Sat. Jan 7th, Ophelia’s.

Denver doodles,

Come to this show. The place is gonna be packed.

The January 7th, 2017 Musical Menu

Last time we played with YucaSoul he took us to every continent on the planet on some dope, danceable beats. He’s gonna open up the night. This man leads a double life in that he’s also Debajo’s bad ass percussionist. …an O.G. of the band.

Up next: Roka Hueka. Latin ska. Roka crushes it every time. Feels like we have a new song every month so if you haven’t seen us in a while it’ll be worth the journey. We take any/every rhythm we can think of and glue it together with a backbone of ska. A heavy Latin influence, high-energy, danceable, songs for love & struggle.

Finally: the OG’s of the night.

Debajo del Agua will set the place ablaze with a 20-song set.  I take a deep breath and gulp of saliva whenever I’m handed the Debajo del Agua set list.  That shit includes directions like: Saca–> into Aguas–>into ska–>into Cumbia–>into Luz–>into Sube Sube–>into Arabeton–>into Encapuchados, etc…

If I reflect on the fact that we only play together once every six months, then I’m all like: ‘How the hell do we make that shit happen every time?!’  But then if I reflect on the fact that we’ve known each other and played together for 10 years then I’m like: ‘OF COURSE we can do shit like that!’  In case you’ve never heard us: Debajo (aka ArteCura) takes all different types of rhythms (mostly Latin) and mixes it with socially-conscious hip hop in English, Spanish, and Portuguese.  We’ve been packing Denver joints since 2006.

The show is at Ophelia’s.  Do yourself a favor: order an Airedale.

Here’s the link for tickets.

See you there sweet people!
In love and solidarity,
me.

Plastic Daggers, Colfax Speed Queen, and Muscle Beach at the Hi-Dive

YO!  I haven’t posted too much music stuff lately cuz my camera’s been broke…

But we’re back on the air…

These videos are from Plastic Daggers’ CD release show, Dec 10th at the Hi-Dive in Denver.  I picked up a copy of the album (on vinyl) and gotta say: pretty dope.  Also picked up the vinyl for Colfax Speed Queen…

Here’s some footage starting with Muscle Beach:

Colfax Speed Queen

Plastic Daggers

Re: Minimum Rage

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The ‘trouble’ didn’t start with the Westword article.  The trouble started when the executive and steering committees of the Colorado minimum wage coalition agreed to sell out the Fight for $15 and legislate $12 in 2020 on behalf of foundations.

Every single Colorado wage-earner I’ve spoken to about the $12 in 2020 minimum wage proposal reacts: It’s not enough.  It’s weak.  It’s demoralizing.  What about skyrocketing rent?  “$12 isn’t enough now…  and it’s not going into effect until 2020?!?!?

Also, of course: “I thought it was $15?”

Readers, so you know right off the bat: I’m voting in favor of $12 in 2020.  But I consider my vote to be a vote of critical support.

I also encourage everyone else to vote in favor of it.

Now…

To the critical part…

Let’s start here: in order to participate in the minimum wage coalition’s executive committee, you had to drop $5,000 as a pay-to-play fee (apparently the fee increased to $10,000 after I left).

That was the coalition’s first major contradiction.

How do you even consider bringing minimum wage workers to the table with shit like that?

So the table was nothing but non-profit and union staff.  Some organizations could afford the $5K pay-to-play fee, others sat on the steering committee for $500 bucks.

But let’s tease that idea out a little bit.

Say a minimum-wage worker managed to cut back on ramen noodles and scrape together some cash to drop a solid $500/$5K/$10K on the table.  Then what?  How would that worker’s voice size up against the hundreds of thousands of dollars coming in from foundations?

Exactly!

So…

Second contradiction: lack of democracy in the face of foundation money.

Money talks.  So when foundations are dropping tens of thousands of dollars on you, you shut up and do what they say.

In this case, the foundations attached the following strings:  1.  Conduct focus groups and 2.  Obtain polling data.  The purpose: to see what kinda numbers resonated best with potential voters.  $12 in 2020?  $13 in 2018?  $20 in 2020?  $12.50 in 2050?

Meanwhile, in the streets, across the country: the Fight for $15 has been waged with strikes, protests, community organizing, and legislation.  It has endured tear gas, sound cannons, arrests, and the crocodile tears of corporate America hiding in the shadows of mom & pop shops claiming that the sky will fall if $15 is implemented.

This struggle and perseverance has helped win $15 minimum wages in towns, cities, and other municipalities across the country.  So you don’t just throw the Fight for $15 struggle under the bus cuz some foundations dropped some money on your cause!

Which gets us to contradiction #3: in matters concerning Colorado wage-earners, you don’t turn to foundations, focus groups, and polling data.  You turn to the existing struggle and expand on its accomplishments.   In this case: you turn to Colorado’s minimum-wage workers, labor activists, CWA members/Verizon strikers, other union members, congregations, community groups, allies, etc.  And if those folks “aren’t around” or if they’re not “ready”, then that becomes part of the struggle as we re-strategize to demand $15 or more.

Because across the country we’re seeing $15 is winnable at the local and state levels.

I’d also like to highlight the following because there seems to be little discussion about this: foundations are just another way in which rich people horde their wealth to avoid taxes and at the same time: leverage political influence through grants.

That being said, do you really think a foundation is going to give out money to a cause that will question/critique the economic system that made them stupidly wealthy in the first place?  No, they’ll promote ideas and fund causes that simply alleviate the paycheck-to-paycheck stranglehold, keep workers from rebelling, and therefore: the system in check.

So for now I’ll say this much:

I will vote in favor of this poorly-conceived piece of legislation whose purpose is to administer the interests of foundations…  Voting for this modest increase is an easy way to alleviate the suffering of Colorado minimum-wage workers.

But this also takes our conversation to the day after Election Day.

What then?

What lessons have we learned from all this?

Will we allow a sell out of this magnitude to happen again?

And if so, how will we hold our non-profit and union leaders accountable?

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Months later: another rally.  Not sure if this was for $12 or $15 (not trying to be funny).  Many a paid staff in there.  Dare I say this rally consisted entirely of paid staff and canvassers?  Cuz if I’m wrong, I ain’t wrong by much.  And that shit has to change too.

Pink Hawks in San Luis, CO