After two years of rockin' on the West Coast, the Latin Alternative Music Conference returns to NYC in full force, with a series of panels, exhibitions, concerts, and more. From August 3rd-6th, the conference will work towards marketing Spanish alternative music to the mainstream population. As the most extensive gathering of Latinos in entertainment, the conference provides vast interaction between the artists and the industry leaders who wish to meet them.
Just last year, the conference attracted almost a thousand industry professionals to the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles. This year some of the panelists include Domingo Ramos, VP of Latin A&R, Atlantic Records, and Porfirio Pina, Associate Director Latin Music, BMI. Ramos will be among the panel members discussing the rise of what is being termed "Hurban" music, namely, the explosive musical effect reggaeton has had on the market, so much so that artists like R.Kelly, Shakira, and even La India have released reggaeton hits. Pina and his colleagues will be discussing a sort of "back to basics" for bands just entering the industry, giving them the dirt on how to avoid getting gobbled by big business. This particular panel, meeting on Thursday, August 4th from 4-5:30PM, is free to the public and open to all ages.
Veteran performers and one of the headliners for Friday night (8/5), Kinky, can surely appreciate an avenue like LAMC and its mission of giving undiscovered bands some exposure. The boys came from obscurity in Monterrey, Mexico to winning three Grammys. You might recognize the award winning quintet as the musicians behind the fiercely intoxicating theme song for "The Shield" (USA Networks), "Mas." In 2000, Omar Gongora and Cesar Pliego joined original members Gilberto Cerezo, Ulises Lozano and Carlos Chairez, adding the missing pieces to what became a successful dance funk phenomenon. Months after, British producer Chris Allison heard this new incarnation of Kinky and gave then a record deal through his Sonic360 labels. Now they shine as examples of true success in the Latino music market.
Columbian band, Aterciopelados, are also featured at a free concert on Saturday (8/6), but additionally plan to perform exclusively for conference registrants at the "Acoustic Writers Showcase" on Thursday night (8/4) at SOB's. These two time Grammy nominees fuse rock with Latin American traditions, such as mariachi, bolero, and flamenco. The ethereal sounds were born in 1990 under the name Delia Y Los Aminoacidos, with mates Andrea Echeverri as the mesmerizing frontwoman, Hector Buitrago on bass, Andres Giraldo on drums and Charlie Marquez on guitar. Giraldo and Marquez were later replaced, with Alejandro Duque on drums and Alejandro Gomez Caceras on guitar. Their new lineup creates songs like "Blue Light" reminiscent of Latino bolero bands my grandparents used to listen to with a touch of 60’s mod, go-go beats, and acoustic-heavy "Falacious Bolero", a song that plays like a 90's folk tune the likes of which played on many college radio stations (you know the kind I mean…).
Not only will Aterciopelados grace the stage twice, but Echeverri will be included on the panel entitled, "Latinas in the Music Biz…Breaking Barriers, Smashing Stereotypes." She will help share a first person account on how to get through the wall of testosterone and be taken seriously while remaining true to her art and self. The panel promises to delve into the different experiences of the genders in the music business, and how sexuality, machismo come into play.
Finally, not to be missed is the free event at Harlem's El Museo del Barrio (8/4), where Venezuelan party band Los Amigos Invisibles will perform their unique mix of salsa, merengue, and electric guitars on Museum Mile. For the occasion, El Museo will open its galleries free of charge to the public. A photographic exhibit, Mexico: The Revolution and Beyond, will be featured as well. If they play "Ponerte en Cuatro,” listen closely; it’s like an up-tempo precursor to reggaeton mixed with classic house music beats. They are sure to keep you moving during the whole set.
To register for the conference, be ready to hand over some dough: $299 will get you an all access badge, and LAMC gift bag filled with goodies, participation in panel discussions, face time with exhibitors, and the chance to network with industry pros from around the world.