The first time I heard about LAMC was probably during 2009, when Colombian band Bomba Estereo was just an emerging band. Bomba participated in that year´s LAMC, since then, I´ve always been curious to assist to one of the few events in New York City that focuses its efforts in the Latin American music market.
Born in New York and son to a Puerto Rican mother, Tomas Cookman founded the Latin Alternative Music Conference and also Nacional Records, a record label that focuses on integrating Latin Music into the U.S market. LAMC’s good vibe makes you feel at home from the moment you step in. The event had amazing guest speakers, space for authentic networking and a good amount of showcases. Here’s my daily experience at the LAMC in New York City and quick stop by the Afro-Latino Festival in Brooklyn.
Wednesday July 6th: Los Cafres and Mexrrisey.
Summer Stage Central Park in partnership with LAMC had presentations from La Dame Blanche, Los Cafres and Mexrissey – a tribute to legendary band Morrisey. Argentinian band Los Cafres was performing by 7PM when I got there. Band members are getting older, but still have a good sound. The energy of the place was vibrant and full of Latinos. That day was probably the warmest day of the summer in New York so after three Los Cafres’ songs I was ready for a beer and the next band. Mexrissey was the next and last band to perform. Led by Camilo Lara (Mexican Institute of Sound), Mexrissey has an interesting mix of traditional Mexican instruments mixed with Morrisey´s melodies and Spanish lyrics. Their debut album No Manchester was released in March 2016 and has gained good reviews from the media. I wasn´t impressed by their show maybe because sound engineering was not that great. I´m not always captivated by first impressions, so I´m gonna give them a second chance.
Thursday July 7th: The Chamanas and iLe.
Thursday’s first showcase was at SOB´s, a music venue located in New York´s Soho neighborhood. Although I got there by the end of the last show, around 8:30 PM, Carla, a smiling Mexican waitress didn´t hesitate to say, iLe was her favorite performer of the night. Carla’s advice was a great meter for the music scene I was trying to find.
Thursday´s last showcase was at Highline Ballroom. Music venue for 700 people located in the Meatpacking district area in Manhattan. Vaya Futuro, Las Robertas, The Chamanas, iLe and Miranda were performing, but without doubt, iLe was my biggest discovery at the LAMC scene.
Puerto Rican born singer, composer and vocalist, iLe sang for 10 years with her brothers Rene Perez and Eduardo Cabra from Calle 13. Her performance was intimate and captivating. She has the power to connect with the audience and make you part of her songs, makes you feel as if she was singing in the living room just for you. Her face is not beautiful but her voice is. ILe has an innocent powerful voice.
Friday July 8th: Carlos Vives.
I decided Friday was a day to focus on conferences. Probably the most interesting conferences of the whole event. “Latin Grammys 101 Roadmap” started at 11AM and had singer songwriter Carlos Vives, LARAS president Gabriel Abaroa and Angie Martinez from Meccalani, among the panelists. “Fishing For Money in the Music Stream” started at 1PM and had panelists from Pandora, Spotify and Sound Exchange. Both conferences had great discussions about the music industry of course and Carlos Vives advised the audience on how to follow your passion.
Saturday July 9th: Afrolatino Festival-El Freaky & Carla Morrison.
New York´s Music scene never stops. The Afro Latino Festival, another important music scene
focused on the Afro Latino community was happening at the Restoration Plaza in Bedstuy, Brooklyn. El Freaky, on of the most important upcoming bands from Colombia performed at 6PM and made New Yorkers dance with a mix of reggae, champeta, cumbia and electronic music. Saturday´s night performances had also Mexican born Carla Morrison as the main artist at Brooklyn´s Prospect Park. Carla has been out there singing for a while and you can see that on her show. She’s gain experience. Her music has passionate fans that follow and scream for her. Carla has great presence on stage and her music, although smooth and melancholic, is also intense and full of beautiful lyrics.
Two Latin focused events happening at the same time in New York are showing us why the Latin American music scene is gaining tremendous attention from all over the world. Whats next for the Latin music market in the US? We don’t know yet, but we are happy to be part of it.