After several years spent slogging away, Miami drum and bass and meta-hop band Council of the Sun will finally celebrate the release of its debut album, Six Degrees of Culture, with a brief gig to bolster the birth of the Colusana Foundation, a nonprofit group that will benefit South Americans with disabilities. The band members' connection to the organization can be traced back to their love-for-Mother-Nature mindset and, of course, their Latin lineage. Council of the Sun's two MCs -- Inervolt and Wavelength -- have Dominican and Panamanian roots; bassist Pedro Marquez and drummer Jason Haft are of Cuban descent; and guitarist Andrei Iglesias's family is from Colombia, as is the nonprofit's founder, Alvaro Ortiz.
"We have two priorities: We want to promote wheelchair sports by funding Latin American people to participate in some worldwide competitions like those annually put together in Japan, France, and England," says Ortiz. "And on the other hand, we want to be able to donate as many wheelchairs as we can to people with virtually no resources." Ortiz, who graduated from FIU with a bachelor of science degree in parks and recreation, explains that eventually he aims to help people all over the continent but right now he's mainly thinking about Colombia, moved by the sad reality that the desplazados face on a daily basis. Desplazado is a term that mostly applies to rural folks who, in the process of escaping both guerrillas and paramilitary armies, have had their legs blown off while crossing randomly mined lands. The number of people injured by mines in Colombia has dramatically increased since 1999, from 83 reported cases five years ago to 530 people in 2003, says Ortiz, citing United Nations statistics. He hopes a little music from Council of the Sun might raise a lot of awareness.