Uproot Andy's worldwide tropical bass takeover

Uproot Andy (Photo courtesy of Uproot Andy)Since we last checked in with our hero, Uproot Andy continues to be the world's biggest and best tropical bass DJ.[soundcloud url="http://api.soundcloud.com/playlists/6662111" params="" width=" 100%" height="166" iframe="true" /]Andy and friends at Que Bajo!?The co-founders of the popular Que Bajo?! parties in NYC (now in year five), aka Uproot Andy and Geko Jones, took a big step earlier this year in furthering the tropical bass world domination agenda: they launched Que Bajo?! as a digital record label.[soundcloud url="http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/89253565" width="100%" height="166" iframe="true" /]The mixtape Andy put out, Worldwide Ting, quickly reached over 80,000 plays around the world, and the follow-up's also helping to spread the sound. Indeed, it was Andy and Geko's intention from the get-go to "share the sound of the party with a global audience," and it seems the mixtapes have accomplished what Andy set out for them to do: expose more people to the tropical bass/global bass sounds for which he and Que Bajo?! are known.Geko Jones, Uproot Andy and Liliana Saumet of Bomba Estéreo  [soundcloud url="http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/99433201" params="secret_token=s-1UD3m" width="100%" height="166" iframe="true" /]Andy's not the only one who's released new sounds. Geko Jones does his own thing when it comes to these infectious Latin rhythms and non-stop digital beats. His most recent project, a collaboration with fellow DJ and producer Atropolis, releasing this compilation earlier this year as well:The Dutty Artz members made this compilation as an exploration of Afro-Colombian roots music for the next (digital) generation. As Geko Jones told MTV Hive: "The traditions hidden in this mix are something that future generations can understand and learn from and serves as a lesson that in this age of new latest go-go-go culture, we still have a lot we can learn from those that came before us."Uproot Andy & Geko JonesBoth Andy and Geko have kept busy with all things Que Bajo?! through the last several months. In September, Andy (originally from Toronto) included a nod to one Canadian cultural fixture in his "favourite worldwide tingz" post for VICE's new(ish) Thump site: Montreal bagels beat out those from his current home base, NYC.[soundcloud url="http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/105503333" params="secret_token=s-xvqja" width="100%" height="166" iframe="true" /]One of our favourite confluences happens in Uproot Andy's Worldwide Ting Vol. II: Andy remixes Siba. He describes it here:"I first heard Siba with his previous group Mestre Ambrosio and he always brings a creative and progressive approach to the traditional music of Northeastern Brazil. With this remix, I put Siba’s Ciranda tune in a downtempo house framework and tried to bring out the horn melodies in the synths and just let it breathe."Uproot Andy and Geko Jones perform at Bridges Tropical Mashup : Live, Digital & Analog on Saturday, October 19 at Great Hall. More info and tickets here. Facebook event page here

Lido Pimienta is La Papessa

Lido Pimienta (Photo by Rob Nelson)Lido Pimienta is a Colombian-born, Toronto-based artist who defies categorization and makes art and music that collide in surprising and unique ways.“Picture Bjork if she grew up in Baranquilla,” says Sergio Elmir of Dos Mundos.Lido, who sometimes performs under the name Soundsister, has more creative energy than Burning Man and her music outstrips Latin alternative or world indie-type genre tags.Her sound incorporates (for starters) electronic beats, analog synths, Afro-Colombian rhythms and out-of-this-world chanting.Lido in performance (Photo by Brandon Benoit)Lido's recent recordings and latest material include collaborations with artists like Orquesta, Javiera Mena, Andrea Echeverri, Conector,  Isa GT and Maria y Jose, among a slew of others she impressively rattles off without hesitation.She also curates the Bridges music series at Lula Lounge along with Dos Mundos.Here's Lido Pimienta on the latest in her music, art and life.UpcomingI am working on a remix for Rafi El via Jace Clayton (Dutty Artz), [and  I] did some work for Mexicans with Guns, and of course [I've been] working really hard on my new album La Papessa, which so far has a video in the works for a song called Quiero que te vaya Bien and La Capacidad (Invierno Largo), [which] will be featured and released in a 7" available at Great Hall on November 8.On the recently released debut album by Atropolis, Transitions, I am featured in a song called Reza por Mi, which I wrote and recorded in Toronto then sent to New York; and with Boogat as well, we have a track called Unico which we wrote together and recorded in my kitchen!There are other things coming out which I am not supposed to talk about, so I guess you all must stay tuned for more.  :DReza Por Mi Feat. Lido Pimienta - Atropolis :: Music Video from Jon Agua on Vimeo.Since the last time Lido recorded an album ... The main shift is in production: this time around we are using samplers, analog synths, and experimenting with sound and instruments used in unconventional ways; I am pushing myself vocally way more than before and the themes are way more personal.[On the] first album I was writing from a third person view, always kind of putting myself in the shoes of a farmer or a young woman fighting for her rights. This time I realize I am that woman who has a voice that needs to also be heard.(Photo by Blake MacFarlane)The premise of my album, La Papessa, is basically the search for one's voice as a woman in a world in which we seem to be regressing. My message is one of love and friendship and understanding of nature and our basic human need of communication, freedom, sex, art and inclusion. I reject marriage as an entity and I sing to young females who feel pressured to have children and devote themselves to men, which happened to me mainly because of my ignorance and growing up in machismo culture in Colombia, in which for a woman to live with a partner, must occur via marriage.The other layer of emotional and political material in the themes explored in La Papessa are coming from the aftermath of a failed marriage and the young woman raising her child on her own, so [these are] anthems that sing to the loss of one's youth, but at the same time [to] the gain of wisdom, strength and love which comes from being a mother. Motherhood is an incredible thing and doing it on my own with my communities' support has been a great learning and rewarding experience. By sharing my life this way, I know my audience will connect in a deeper level and hopefully the message helps a lot of women who are struggling with these same issues.La Papessa means "High Priestess" or female Pope, it is a card in the tarot that was read to my by my friend Ulises Hadjis (a Venezuelan musician), [who is an] avid student of Alejandro Jodorowsky. In the reading, he was able to bring some light into my distressed life, which was in turmoil and filled with insecurities about being an artist, [and] a mother.Ulises read me the cards and the card that showed "what needed to be done in order get to where I wanted to be" was indeed La Papessa, the card which shows a young female sitting on a throne with a book on her lap and a headpiece which avoids her from looking outside to the periphery; she is only to focus on her book, which represents knowledge.There is lots more symbolism to talk about, but I like that last bit, because it relates to my preparation and training to write better music and be more professional on stage, on the business side of things and to be in control of myself.... What has changed the most is my spirit and my willingness to not let others take care of what I care for the most, which is my integrity. I can finally say I am proud of the music I am making, I am proud of my team and music partners; together we have been able to create a unique album which we are so eager to show when it's completed, and that we have been lucky to perform on different stages in Canada and the US, receiving nothing but good vibes.Living in Toronto, being from Colombia -- Lido's "Dos Mundos"I have adapted well in Toronto. I am a city girl all the way. Even my body is comfortable in the cold now; then again, we haven't had a real winter it seems, at least not in the last three years that I can remember.What I like about Toronto is my community. I find myself in a cocoon, sheltered from evil with my friends who are always there for me. I really love living here because of that.Colombia is family more than anything, it is the place I go to eat a mango directly from a tree and connect with my indigenous ancestry, a place to swim in the ocean and the river and be grateful for all of the natural richness we enjoy all year long on the north coast of Colombia.It gets increasingly sad to go back there though, for it seems each year things get much worse socio-politically, for instance, religion is still boss, and sin is something people believe in, so you can imagine all of the problems that arise from that.What is appalling, too, is the fascination with North America and its corporate/plastic bullshit, so for example it is considered a luxury to eat at McDonald's and go to the mall, which are replicas of whatever shitty mall we have here, as well as being considered  spaces for a family to enjoy "quality time" together -- the whole view on quality of life is warped and racism is embedded in our vocabulary as if it were normal.I mean, I love Colombia as a concept, but as a reality, I cannot see myself living there again.Despite it being dear to my heart and having it help shape me as a human being, it is not my favourite place anymore. Colombia breaks my heart.Canada is not completely innocent of any of the issues I have mentioned before, but at least if I want to marry my girlfriend, I will face no opposition and I value that immensely.Performing at Bridges Tropical Mashup on October 19My show is going to be super high energy, gangster pop, empowering, filled with fun surprises and amazing music. The rest of the acts will have to match our energy, which won't be an easy task.Lido recently collaborated with several female members of Maracatu Mar Aberto (Photo: Brandon Benoit)On top of our crazy beats and amazing brass, I am inviting [the] Maracatu girls on stage to do a song with me [previous version of that here].On visuals I am preparing a lovely repertoire with my art collective -- partners in crime Tough Guy Mountain. Our projections on screen react to the vibrations of my voice. Everything is done live, of course.Lido Pimienta performs at the Uma Nota Festival on Saturday, October 19 for Bridges Tropical Mashup -- Live, Analog & Digital. Full event details here. Facebook event page here. Full festival listings here

Uproot Andy meets Bomba Estereo's Li Saumet in Toronto

Uproot Andy (photo via Gozamos.com) Of all the DJs out there playing tropical, Latin-based electronic music, Uproot Andy is a top artist.To explain a little more about why, our man on all things tropical bass Sergio Elmir (aka DJ eLman aka the voice of Dos Mundos Radio) gives us the goods:What is it about AndyIn the tropical bass scene, heavy, pounding beats dominate. But, says Elmir, "Andy has often professed his love for beautiful, soulful music."This is a rare thing in a scene that has as much to do with BPM as it does with the traditional Latin rhythms with which they're often matched."His great ear for music is what makes him such an amazing DJ," says Elmir.Toronto-raised, later to immerse himself in tropical music, Uproot Andy has made himself instrumental in this musical movement: "He's a focal point," says Elmir.  "People strive to be where he's at."It was as an NYU student that Uproot Andy (aka Andy Gillis) got his big break in NYC through the popular Que Bajo?! parties, which Elmir calls the premiere tropical bass party, "Really I'd say in the world."That event series is five years old and has presented some of the tropical bass genre's best artists, including Andy as a mainstay. (More on Uproot Andy here and a podcast here, both via XLR8R magazine.)Now for a special collaboration treat, those in Toronto should check this out:  Andy plays in that city this weekend, and it's a rare performance alongside Li Saumet, the vocalist from Bomba Estereo, one of the biggest bands out of Colombia right now.Last summer, Dos Mundos and Small World Music brought Bomba Estereo to Lula Lounge for a packed show. Andy and Li Saumet have played lots of same festivals and Andy's spent time in Colombia, so in the past year they started this collaboration.The Toronto show, happening as part of the energetic Air Horns event  supported by Elmir and Dos Mundos, isn't even an official tour, but rather a special rare treat in Toronto."Only those who've been in NYC or Bogota* in the past year have seen this show," says Elmir. And it won't hit other cities anytime soon, at least for the time being. [*Ed: Or, OK, Medellin, another city in Colombia ... see video below.]Here's a video clip from one of their collaboration performances in Colombia this past year:For this Toronto show, Li Saumet will perform new material and Bomba Estereo tracks over Andy's set (special participation from Li Saument with Uproot Andy).Uproot Andy in Toronto with Li Saument of Bomba Estereo. Poster by General EclecticUproot Andy, Li Saumet, Dos Mundos DJs and more play Air Horns on Friday, December 21 in Toronto. Facebook event page here 

Waterfront activity: Fire on the Water

Toronto as a beach town is, let's face it, a bit of a stretch sometimes. The various options aren't in a concentrated central area and the water, sand and access to them just don't have those tropical, beach-centred qualities or that liveliness that comes with warmer climes (read: year-round swimming weather or close to it). During our short but glorious summer, though, we dismiss that notion and enjoy our brief annual hot weather at hotspots like the Toronto Islands or east-end beaches like Ashbridges Bay, Cherry Beach and Bluffer's Park. We even have a kind of beach culture: music, arts  and wakeboarding on the islands (clothing optional beach included), volleyball and sunbathing galore at Ashbridges, and windsurfing and DJ parties out at Cherry. But on the west side, one location in particular it seems has lost its mojo -- and arguably, that's in a way a symbol of the sometimes disconnected lakeside community  vibe, too. Sunnyside beach and waterfront pavilion was once a hotbed of not only lakeside, beach-loving culture here in Toronto -- according to artist and bathing/swimming researcher Christie Pearson, it was more importantly a huge cultural equalizer. Whether it hosted families visiting the lake or lovers strolling the shore, or "low brow" activities like dancehalls and speakeasies, Sunnyside was where the party was at back in the early 20th century.Pearson, whose arts/events collective THEWAVES puts on inclusive, interactive events involving music and swimming, hopes to bring that glorious beachside culture back to Sunnyside as part of the city she loves. Along with husband and curator Marcus Boon, she is hosting a giant, free, all-ages swim-in party on August 26th at the Sunnyside Pavilion. Dubbed Fire on the Water (a nod to the former practice of burning old boats on the lake by Sunnyside), the event brings together public swimming, multimedia art installations including sound art pieces, dance performances and both live and DJ music from the afternoon into the wee hours. The DJ lineup alone -- including the heavily Brazilian influenced Maga Bo, whose latest album Quilombo do Futuro is earning high praise from top critics and booker (more on that from Dos Mundos Radio here) -- was enough to draw our support. But after talking to Christie Pearson and Marcus Boon about the upcoming event and what's behind it, we're even more excited to see this go down, and to help realize a fine turnout from the Uma Nota massive.Here is our interview with Christie Pearson and Marcus Boon. See you at the beach party.Transformative potential: How it came aboutChristie Pearson: I've been directly working on this project for four years, and indirectly perhaps for 20. As a student of public bathing cultures, architectures and practices, I was motivated by Sunnyside Bathing Pavilion as a key piece of Toronto's public bathing infrastructure.  The installations, performances and events I work on amplify latent energy around bathing practices, the public realm and the body. Through twenty years of research into bathing practices of different cultures, I see the transformative potential in all the different scales of ritual, from the most intimate to the most public. What sorts of new collective practices might we be able to create here in this place, in this time, with all of us coming from diverse backgrounds? ... My good friend, talented artist and performer Michael Chorney always said he wanted to do a performance piece at Sunnyside back in the early nineties.  When he died of AIDS-related causes as a young man, I felt as though it was left to me to do something here. So at another level it is a project haunted by his memory.Why this matters for TorontoCP: We now have a post-industrial waterfront and we need to reconsider how we want it to function in the urban ecology. Looking at the past, we have traditions of inhabiting the water’s edge for pleasure and enjoyment of its beauty – how can we build on that? Sunnyside used to be a vast recreation area with dance clubs, amusement rides, baseball stadiums … it was where people went on a hot summer day with their kids or their lovers. Mike Filey’s book I Remember Sunnyside is an amazing document of this era.

 As the site of dancehalls, roller coasters, and Toronto’s first bathing-suit beauty pageant, Sunnyside was decidedly ‘low-brow’. The very social improvers who supported the pavilion’s construction for the masses would not frequent it. ... When Gardiner’s expressway tore up the area in the 1950s it was an explicit condemnation of Sunnyside amusements, then described as a ‘honky-tonk’, that should be cleared away in the name of progress.  ... We believe that Sunnyside is an important key to our concepts and practices of culture-nature. Beneath its layers are remnants of Toronto’s dreams, from which we find seeds of a future city rich in meaning and connection.

Some history and international context ...CP: Sunnyside Bathing Pavilion, built in 1922, is one of the few remnants of the city's once lively waterside pleasure grounds. While unique in Ontario, Sunnyside was a typical amusement zone of early 20th century lake- or ocean- fronting cities in North America, from Coney Island in New York to Playland at the Beach in San Francisco. ‘Sunnyside’ once described the reclaimed land between Lake Ontario and Queen Street, High Park and Roncesvalles [before the] construction of the Gardiner Expressway in the 1950s. It was a popular park for Toronto in an era struggling to define the good life in the face of world wars, depression, the advent of the automobile and the mass spectacles of modernity. In Mary Louise Adams’ essay Almost Anything Can Happen: A Search for Sexual Discourse in the Urban Spaces of 1940s Toronto, Sunnyside is drawn as a marginal zone of sexual intrigue amongst youth and dubious characters. The zone was clearly for the working class. As the site of dancehalls, roller coasters, and Toronto’s first bathing-suit beauty pageant, it was decidedly ‘low-brow’. The very social improvers who supported the pavilion’s construction for the masses would not frequent it. Its architecture refers to the Beaux-Arts styles of the World Expositions, a particular vision of globalization.Sunnyside housed cathartic public spectacles from sporting events, military displays, dance clubs, and the spectacular burning of aging boats out on the lake. The desire to make the water’s edge serve utility, either social or industrial, has repeatedly transformed this part of the city to facilitate power lines, real estate, and highways. When Gardiner’s expressway tore up the area in the 1950s it was an explicit condemnation of Sunnyside amusements, then described as a ‘honky-tonk’, that should be cleared away in the name of progress. This has left us with a manicured landscape cut off from the fabric of the city to the north and barely connected east-west. This history is unique in Toronto yet typical continentally. We believe that Sunnyside is an important key to our concepts and practices of culture-nature. Beneath its layers are remnants of Toronto’s dreams, from which we find seeds of a future city rich in meaning and connection.The aesthetic and artistic vision  CP: Our vision has to do with building community, which is why Uma Nota as a partner is important to us. We are trying to reach out and expand musical and artistic networks in the city as agents of the city’s transformation. We are imagining what kind of place we want this to be every time we act here in Toronto. Some of the best parts of our city are the building blocks: we are international; we all are part of the global vision – how rich can we make that? How joyful? How are we going to party together? What new cultures are emerging here – in terms of music, dance, art, community, it’s so incredible. We need new rituals that can bring us together, and they are going to emerge from who we are all together, where we are coming from, and where we are going.The project will build on our previous event Night Swim, as this will also be an invitation to a venue with some program and framing yet based on audience completion and invention. It relates also to the work that members have done in other context such as urbanvessel, Sound Travels and The Wade Collective. Generally, it draws on the group members' diverse experiences of making splendid events happen in unusual spaces. Theoretically we are interested in the situational and relational.Fire on the Water will require participation, where the viewer/audience completes or creates it. It will suggest an enriched and expanded use for existing public space; insert provocations for poetic action into daily life; amplify our bodies’ relation to our natural and constructed environments; highlight water’s sacred and profane aspects in a toxic landscape; serve as a renewal through the personal and collective shedding of skins; relate the individual body to the collective with public bathing as an intersection of private and public; express the city's organic infrastructure which we continually form and forms us. We borrow extended audiences from the Gus Ryder Pool and the boardwalk and make them part of the event.

The Sunnyside Pavilion used to be entirely open to the public; it is now managed for the city by a commercial operator and few people have been through all of its spaces.

The project meets the broader goals of our collective THEWAVES in that it will: suggest an enriched and expanded use for existing public space; insert provocations for poetic action into daily life; amplify our bodies’ relation to our natural and constructed environments; highlight water’s sacred and profane aspects in a toxic landscape; relate the individual body to the collective with public bathing as an intersection of private and public; express the city's organic infrastructure which we continually form and forms us. The Sunnyside Pavilion used to be entirely open to the public; it is now managed for the city by a commercial operator and few people have been through all of its spaces.Marcus Boon (source):  THEWAVES is about making events/happenings/installations which somehow connect my interest in new/experimental music scenes and Christie’s interests in bathing culture and installation art.  We transform specific spaces so that new kinds of sociality, play, relationships to sound and water can evolve. Part of the fun of it is that we don’t exactly know what will happen.  The events are experimental but populist: anyone can come, and anyone might enjoy it, whatever age or background they’re from.  Basically we think sound and water are fundamental aspects of human life, experience, environment, and we’re interested in celebrating that, and intensifying our relationships to those elements.... Fire On The Water has given me an opportunity to invite some of the masters that we learnt about global bass from to play in Toronto.  What is global bass?  It’s electronic dance music emerging in different parts of the world right now. Usually with roots simultaneously in Afrodiasporic dance musics (reggae, funk, house, hiphop, techno) and local traditions (Colombian cumbia, various West African styles).  You can’t necessarily tell where anything is from.  But that’s part of the point.  It’s part of a global conversation in which more and more intense musics evolve. It’s heavy and it’s alive.... Everyone puts it together differently: Venus X’s vicious chopped and screwed style is different from DJ/Rupture’s elegant connections, or Poirier’s soca/dancehall/hiphop rave ups, or Maga Bo’s intense percussion storms.  ... Myself, I’m listening to Angolan house, Venezuelan “raptor house”, Traxman and other Footwork stuff from Chicago.Give us some reasons why this is a can't-miss event and why people who miss it will be sorry they did.CP:

  1. This is going to be the most awesomely fun party of the summer
  2. The music is going to blow you away
  3. You love your city
  4. You love your lake
  5. You want them to get back together again
  6. You want to live in a beach city, like Barcelona or Rio – let’s make it here
  7. Nothing can stop us
MB (source):  Sunnyside Pavilion is a gorgeous semi-public space. It has a lovely upstairs open air dancehall that looks out onto the lake, it’s right on the beach, there’s a huge pool next door, two mysterious pavilions at either end that will have highly psychedelic installations in them. It’s all ages.  It’s a party.  It’s a love letter to the lake.

A better collective life for Toronto – community, belonging and the waterfrontMB: One thing I want to add is that it's not just about revitalizing public bathing.  We really love the daytime parties that are being thrown at places like MOMA/PS1 in New York, or various places in Berlin, London, Paris -- they're all ages, publicly supported, beautifully curated, and they're a celebration of the city itself and the diverse populations who live and play there.  We wanted to contribute to that vibe and help it grow because it's part of our idea of a happy collective life in the city.CP: There are lots of things we are glad to leave behind, but let’s bring back free TTC rides for kids going to the beach, bring back waterways we can drink from and swim in without fear, bring back a sense of community and belonging – but in a new way, as truly global citizens. We are going to get it. The planet is one big unity and so are we. We need to live that way.What Christie Pearson is most looking forward to at this eventSweating!Fire on the Water takes place from 2 p.m. to midnight on Sunday, August 26. For more information, visit the website and Facebook event page. Uma Nota Culture is a proud supporter of this event.