The cool sea breeze whipped through the North Beach Bandshell on Saturday night as Afro-Latin rhythms bounced off the circular wall of the oceanside, outdoor venue.
Colombia's Quantic Sound System and NYC's Pedrito Martinez Group rang in the Heineken Transatlantic Festival's 10th anniversary with complex yet infectiously danceable beats.
Quantic is the broad moniker for all of UK DJ-producer Will Holland's work. And his Sound System brought Miami a dose of Afro-based music from Colombia's Pacific coast, filtered through the modern lens of electronic production.
With a laptop, vocalist, and live percussion, the result was mesmerizing and upbeat. But when Holland traded out his MacBook for an accordion, it was even better. And Quantic's female singer had such perfect pitch, it was a pleasure just to hear her speak and an honor to listen as she sang.
When Quantic finished its set, Miami dude and recent Latin Grammy nominee Mr. Pauer took over the speakers, dropping everything from Locos Por Juana to a cumbia Nirvana mashup.
Meanwhile, the Miami Art Museum and its Sound Bomb Bus was in the house too. Check out MAM's website for info on its current exhibit The Record and all of the cool programs that are a part of it.
Next up, the Pedrito Martinez Group hit the stage. The bandleader, Pedrito, is a New York percussionist from Cuba who's collaborated with Sting, Bruce Springsteen, and Elton John, playing on over 100 albums, among which six were nominated for Grammys. His group features vocals, bass, and double percussion, offering up a heady mix of Yoruba be bop.
Ariacne Trujillo's work on the keys swam deep into jazzy waters, fingers flying like a humming bird, and stopping on a dime to hover at the open flower of rumba guaguanco.
Between and during songs, members of the group traded instruments, and booty danced. Then they played jazz cuts so beatific, no time signature we are able to comprehend could have reigned them in. Our body was reduced to a maniac's head bop. Meanwhile, people who can actually dance found the groove.
Pedrito beat the drums like we were going to war. But war was just another name for party. And the band seemed to enoy it as much as the audience.
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A big thanks to the Rhythm Foundation for continuing to bring Planet Earth's best world music to Miami. See ya next time.