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

Debajo del Agua in Louisiana

So…

I don’t blog nearly as much as I would like to…  and it pains me…  makes me think I’m slacking…

But then…  I consider all the stuff that I can update you on and I’m okay with myself…  Lots going on with music and I like to devote some time to these postings so can’t always keep up…

So a posting about the recent past.

Last week, Debajo del Agua was privileged, honored, blessed, lucky enough, [and whatever word that expresses inspiration/gratitude/joy], to play the the International Festival in Lafayette, LA.

Now…  Here’s wussup with that festival: it takes up all of downtown Lafayette with multiple stages hosting bands from all over the world…  so you feel like you’re walking two blocks to get from South Asia to France to Canada to Cuba to Singapore and back to Louisiana.  It’s bad ass.

…and I’d say about 200,000 people rolled through during the course of the weekend.

And still more: it’s free.  …and volunteer-driven.

Beyond that, the observations I made and nuggets of wisdom/inspiration I walked away with…

The caliber of musicianship is just…  exceptionally high.  There’s a lot of bad ass cats in Louisiana.  Walking down Bourbon Street I could just hear it…  bar after bar, bad ass bands, bad ass musicians.  …the caliber of musicianship reminded me of Los Angeles.  And still has me weighing the differences…  Whereas Los Angeles also has bad-ass musicians, music is more so defined by its commercial nature.  …i.e.  the capitalist commodification of music vs. the hustle of the musician.

In Louisiana, it was in the blood.  You felt it.  It was in the air, the community, the kids, the elder, the past, present, and future.

My band mates and I chilled out at a spot called Festival House a lot…  t’was the gathering spot for the musicians performing at the festival.  It was crazy, man…  BOMB ASS FOOD.  COOL ASS CATS!!!  Everyone I met, no exceptions, was on the humble…  just down-to-earth and cool…

…and beyond that: we were the band that played the Festival House.  Meaning: Debajo del Agua performed exclusively for the musicians, organizers, and volunteers for the festival.   That was quite the freakin’ honor, yo…

We play 3 times in 2 days plus one full practice… long weekend… but a long re-invigorating weekend.  It was a lot of work but somehow I came back with an surplus of energy.

This festival restored my hope in the idea that music can change the world.  Although I rarely go to McDonald’s, I know about 1/3 of the menu thanks to a jingle from the 1980s.

Fellow musicians, comrades:

We can do that…

But to save the world.

I BASSically dominated the Westword’s ‘Latin’ nominations…

Yo,

If you click on this link: http://2017musicshowcasepoll.westword.com/

…you’ll see that 3 out of the 5 bands listed under the ‘Latin’ section are bands I play in: Debajo, Roka, Pink Hawks.

3 out of 5.

Yo, 3 out of 5 is what I like to call “market domination”.   It is the equivalent of 60% and 60% could kick the ass of 40% in a fight.  So I’m jussayin’…

but…

We need not fight.  The other two nominees (Izcalli, Mocochetes) are my friendz…  and I’d love to see them win as well.

And all joking aside: please vote for your favorite bands!

If you have a favorite genre you should look up the bands listed in that genre…  Google them, YouTube them, Facebook them, follow them, see them live in concert…  Thasswussup…

…and guess who loves the cat who rolls into work with ‘something to do for everyone’ this weekend?  Answer: EVERYONE at work…

 

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.

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.

Debajo del Agua, ArteCura, YucaSoul Pachamerica Festival 2016

YO, yo, yo, yo, yoooooOOOooooOOOOOOOOOoooooOooOooOOOOooOoOOOOOOoo…

Check out this Debajo video:

…ten years with these cats.  This band took me to a whole new level as a musician.  Whole new level…

No firm plans on the next Debajo show…  You’ll see it here for sure though…

Debajo del Agua, ArteCura, Yucasoul at Ophelia’s Electric Soapbox

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We came…
We saw…
We PACKED the place…

Close to 400 people in attendance!  We lit that shit up!

Debajo del Agua at Ophelia’s Saturday, June 18, 2016…

Next stop: the recording studio with ArteCura!!!

Debajo del Agua w/ ArteCura & Yucasoul, Sat. June 18, Ophelia’s

Yo!

There’s no other way to pitch this, man…  This show’s gonna be off the f’ing hook!

Here’s some pics from last year.

If you’re new to all of this, here’s what you can expect: Andean-influenced, socially conscious, Latin fusion hip-hop in English, Spanish, and Portuguese.

Get your tickets right now, right now!

Your Concert Calendar for May and June…

YO!

If you wanna be cool with the cool kids…

If you wanna be the one who walks into work, dropping knowledge bombs about all the bad ass local music in town…

If you just wanna bust a move, sweat it out, and get the fuck away from the drudges of every day capitalism…

Here’s your concert calendar for the next couple of months…

You can’t go wrong with any of these…

Sunday, May 1st: Pink Hawks will be performing with the 303 Choir at the Mercury Cafe. Come check us out as we perform with a local community youth choir! Show is at 2pm.

Friday, May 6th: ArteCura will be performing at the Walnut Room with 2Mx2.

Saturday, May 28th: Roka Hueka CD Release party at Ophelia’s! We’ll be rocking the stage with ArteCura and Quilombo!

Saturday, June 18th: Debajo del Agua!!! At Ophelia’s with ArteCura and YucaSoul! This’ gonna be off the hook.

Posters are listed in the same order:

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The Debajo @ Ophelia’s poster is in the works…  ; ) 12932913_1674379199477888_4848435188870080518_n

ArteCura, Sat. April 9th at Herman’s Hideaway!

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We goin’ back!  …been a minute since we’ve played Herman’s Hideaway…

Last time was as Debajo, actually…

But I love this place and looking forward to sharing the stage with this dope lineup!

Here is the Facebook Invite.