music

From left to right: Jason Matthews, Eric Escanes, Armando Lopez and Rodrigo Zambrano
Melanie Masterson

The Miami-based improvisational jazz and rock band Electric Kif in many ways reflects South Florida’s diversity. Band members are from across the globe except for Miami native Armando Lopez on drums. Guitarist Eric Escanes is from France, keyboardist Jason Matthews is from Philadelphia and bassist Rodrigo Zambrano is from Mexico City.

Because of the band’s diverse upbringings, they come to the music with a wide variety of influences including funk, jazz, electronica, rock and more. They will be playing the Moksha Art Collective in Wynwood next Saturday as part of the Art Basel performances. The band spoke with Sundial’s Luis Hernandez about Miami’s music scene, the need for more music venues and why they describe their sound as “post-nuclear.”

WLRN: So (Jason) what were your influences? What was a lot of the music you were listening to growing up as a kid?

Matthews: Yeah I grew up on jazz pretty much in high school. But before that I was obsessed with progressive rock. Me and my brother were obsessed with this band called Yes which you probably know for sure. Pink Floyd, Yes and ELP ... I was really into that. And then I started going into the jazz clubs in Philadelphia like there's this place called Time and Chris' Jazz Cafe. And we would go and do the jam sessions every Tuesday and that's how I got into jazz, which led me to the University of Miami.

How old were you when you were going into those clubs? 

Matthews: 15, 16. They had like a late night Tuesday jam. The guy was cool with us, he knew we were young kids just trying to jam so and no one was there. Late night it was just us pretty much watching like the older dudes. And you had to go and buy a drink so we could we would just buy Coke or whatever.

Compared to like other cities Seattle or L.A. or Chicago, where does Miami sit (in terms of its music scene)?

Zambrano: Low, low. I just think that like a lot of people in Miami don't want to pay to see live music. Well, like you said, mid-sized venues it's hard to get people to pay for tickets to see live music you know compared to other cities that we've played at all on the northeast. People always think it's included with the experience in a place that you go.

Who's going to describe to me what is post nuclear? 

Lopez: We were watching a Jim Carrey standup on Saturday Night Live. He does a post nuclear Elvis where he's actually doing a Saturday Night Live audition. He's dancing like Elvis without arms. And we found it hilarious and we're like our music is like post nuclear. We write a lot of dark stuff. So it kind of fit in there.

Watch Electric Kif's in-studio performance. 

One of the best-loved musical styles in the world now bears a new distinction. Reggae — the uniquely Jamaican creation born in the late 1960s and made popular globally by artists like Bob Marley and Toots and the Maytals — has been added to a list of global cultural treasures by UNESCO, the cultural and scientific agency of the United Nations.

Alex Seidenberg / Courtesy

Broward County rapper Samuel "Sam Stan" Stanley, 22, raps about his lived experiences dealing with love and making it as a rapper in South Florida. He describes his style as “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air feel-good music with tons of positive vibes.” 

"I just want to be a glass of lemonade on a hot day. I just want to be refreshing. Cool vibes and feel good music," Stan told Sundial.

Brian Demby / Courtesy

Miami’s Lemon City Trio (LCT) is bringing a fresh new meaning to the word funk.

Brian Robertson, 35, on organ; Nick Tannura, 28, on guitars and Aaron Glueckauf, 27, on drums are the musicians behind the funky jazz-soul sound that makes up Lemon City Trio. They met in Miami, decided to join forces to create a band and began rehearsing at a warehouse located in the Lemon City, a neighborhood in Miami that dates back to the mid-19th Century and overlaps now with Little Haiti.

Kaylee Rodriguez

Miami-native Juan Vidal considers himself a "Rap Dad": a father who has been raised with and informed by hip-hop culture. That's also the name of his new book, which examines the intersection of hip-hop and fatherhood.

In the book, Vidal details his life as a traveling hip-hop artist, a father of four kids and a successful writer and music critic. He examines fathers in hip-hop who are changing the mainstream narrative about fathers of color being absent in their children's lives.

Satellite radio giant SiriusXM is buying the Oakland, Calif.-based digital radio company Pandora in an all-stock deal valued at $3.5 billion, the companies announced Monday. The deal is expected to close in early 2019.

The merger would create "the world's largest audio entertainment company," SiriusXM CEO James Meyer said in a conference call. The deal would still need to be reviewed by antitrust regulators and shareholders, he added.

Shira Lee / Courtesy

Miami based artist Shira Lee is something of a renaissance woman.

She’s a folk and jazz musician in several different bands and an actress and a writer, playing a lead role in the recently released web-series GROWN, which follows the story of two young Haitian-American men making their way in Miami. Lee is also the brainchild behind the “Babawagon,” a mobile performance space here in South Florida funded by the Knight Foundation.

Alejandra Martinez

As Hurricane Florence approached North and South Carolina Thursday, Cyndee O’Quinn from the Florida Public Radio Emergency Network joined Sundial to give us the latest details on the storm.

It was Jason Isbell and The 400 Unit's night to shine at the annual Americana Honors and Awards show Wednesday night at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville.

Isbell and his band walked away with three of the night's biggest awards: Album of the Year for The Nashville Sound, Song of the Year for "If We Were Vampires," and Duo/Group of the Year.

At 76, Paul Simon has been writing music for more than 60 years. And all that's about to come to an end.

Aretha Franklin is being laid to rest in Detroit, in a ceremony attended by legendary musicians and a former president. In the U.K., the Queen of Soul was also honored on Friday at Buckingham Palace, where a military band played "Respect."

The palace's famous changing of the guard took place just before Franklin's funeral was set to begin in the U.S. — and the Band of the Welsh Guards, which provides music during the ceremony, took the moment to honor her.

It's not easy packing your bags and saying goodbye to your family after a Category 5 hurricane has wiped out what you call home, leaving so many places — tied so closely with childhood memories and routine — bare and unusable.

Neil Simon, the enormously productive comic playwright who often adapted his work into screenplays, died on early Sunday morning. He was 91. The cause of death was complications from pneumonia, according to Bill Evans, his longtime friend and publicist.

Among the most prolific playwrights in American theater from the 1960s through the 1990s, he won the Pulitzer Prize in 1991 for Lost in Yonkers, which he said was his deepest play. But Neil Simon was better known for being funny.

Chris Remington

A new independent record label in town will feature talented undiscovered South Florida musicians.

Sweat Records has been a space for music collectors in South Florida to find vinyl from their favorite independent artists and mainstream musicians for the past 13 years. On Sunday Aug. 26, the store embarks on a new adventure with the launch of its own record label: Sweat Records Records.

Childish Gambino's "This Is America" and The Carters' "APES***" were the most talked-about videos of the last year, at least if the metric you use involves thinkpieces and social-media chatter. But by the time Madonna announced the video of the year winner on Monday night's MTV Video Music Awards, the two had been largely relegated to afterthoughts.

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