Spacious International

When it comes to good alternative fusion, funk and Latin go hand in hand

On the heels of last month's Winter Music Conference, DJ Cooltura and DJ Ras-Tael will incorporate video collages and world music into electronica, but the master of turntables at this event is Mexican DJ Toy Selectah. The founder of the platinum-selling hip-hop band Control Machete will keep audiences trance-dancing long into the night.

Pushing the boundaries at the Latin Funk Festival also means stretching the limits of Latin-ness. For example, aside from a tinge of nostalgic tango, English-language reggae band Kayak Man is hardly Latin in sound but very Latin in ethnic makeup. The playful rock-steady trio hails from Argentina and has a world-beat sensibility that stems from its nation's love affair with rock and reggae and frontman "Tato" Leonardo Seoane Vega's earlier days as a guitarist for Manu Chau.

Artist Michelle Forman isn't Hispanic at all, but as Easton said, "She's holding down the funk." The singer made a local name for herself as a back-up singer for Latin fusion band Suenalo Sound System, and she used to take part in the musical experiments of the legendary Monkey Village, a now-defunct community house in Little Havana where many of Miami's Latin funk artists developed their sound back in 1999.

The Latin Funk Festival is all about making shadow puppets
The Latin Funk Festival is all about making shadow puppets
Lila Downs
Lila Downs


The Latin Funk Festival, featuring Lila Downs, Locos por Juana, Javier Garcia, DJ Toy Selectah, and others, takes place Sunday, April 9, at Mansion, 1235 Washington Ave, Miami Beach. Doors open at 6:00 p.m. Tickets cost $25 in advance, $30 at the door. Call 305-866-1077 or visit for more information.

That in-house movement gave birth to seven compilation CDs, the latest of which will be released at a prefestival party Friday, April 7, at Transit Lounge.

"Monkey Village along with Spam Allstars (in our eyes) were the pebble thrown in the pond that began this wake of beautiful music now going on in Miami," Easton said.

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