While most stateside bands balk at making the drive all the way down to our southern tip of the Florida peninsula, the Rhythm Foundation for more than ten years has been bringing in top international acts from every part of the globe. Last year the foundation's TransAtlantic Festival introduced locals to some of the best and hottest World Music acts on the planet. From the Gotan Project (Argentina via Paris) to UK/Colombia's Sidestepper, Brazil's DJ Dolores, and Brooklyn's Yerba Buena, the bands just kept rolling through all summer long. For those of us fortunate to stick around for the heat and humidity, TransAtlantic was a cool relief.

New World Center
Ostensibly a "training" orchestra, an opportunity for its young members to hone their postconservatory chops before moving on to "proper" outfits, the NWS outdoes its mandate as audiences regularly pack performances at Miami Beach's Lincoln Theatre. These music lovers will attest to this group's ability to outshine more venerable orchestras coast-to-coast. Whether it's the passion of youth, the hunger of musicians with something to prove, or the guiding energy of music director Michael Tilson Thomas, NWS attacks compositions with a verve that brings newfound glory to the symphony sound. Better yet, Thomas's musical selections rarely hew to the tried and true classical suspects -- this isn't your father's symphonic orchestra. Yes, expect to hear Bach, Brahms, and Mozart. But also prepare for riveting avant-garde composers such as John Adams, Luciano Berio, and Steve Reich. Losing the Florida Philharmonic may have been a blow for classical enthusiasts, but as long as the NWS continues to raise the roof, there's no need to feel the pain.

Ostensibly a "training" orchestra, an opportunity for its young members to hone their postconservatory chops before moving on to "proper" outfits, the NWS outdoes its mandate as audiences regularly pack performances at Miami Beach's Lincoln Theatre. These music lovers will attest to this group's ability to outshine more venerable orchestras coast-to-coast. Whether it's the passion of youth, the hunger of musicians with something to prove, or the guiding energy of music director Michael Tilson Thomas, NWS attacks compositions with a verve that brings newfound glory to the symphony sound. Better yet, Thomas's musical selections rarely hew to the tried and true classical suspects -- this isn't your father's symphonic orchestra. Yes, expect to hear Bach, Brahms, and Mozart. But also prepare for riveting avant-garde composers such as John Adams, Luciano Berio, and Steve Reich. Losing the Florida Philharmonic may have been a blow for classical enthusiasts, but as long as the NWS continues to raise the roof, there's no need to feel the pain.

Deep within the sprawling suburbia of Miami Gardens lies the home base of Merck, a record label run by 23-year-old wunderkind Gabe Koch. It caters to the computer nerd, the anomalous electronic music geek who knows the difference between Proem and Proswell and fills hard drives with obscure IDM MP3s. It generates rafts of twelve-inch singles and albums that sell in the hundreds, yet has made enough of an impact to rate a spot on XLR8R magazine's list of the top record labels in the nation. And its releases are consistently good, carefully walking the line between the tastefully melodic ambience of Adam Johnson and the jackhammer glitch-hop of Machine Drum.

Deep within the sprawling suburbia of Miami Gardens lies the home base of Merck, a record label run by 23-year-old wunderkind Gabe Koch. It caters to the computer nerd, the anomalous electronic music geek who knows the difference between Proem and Proswell and fills hard drives with obscure IDM MP3s. It generates rafts of twelve-inch singles and albums that sell in the hundreds, yet has made enough of an impact to rate a spot on XLR8R magazine's list of the top record labels in the nation. And its releases are consistently good, carefully walking the line between the tastefully melodic ambience of Adam Johnson and the jackhammer glitch-hop of Machine Drum.

More than 1200 people showed up on a blustery winter day (January 17) to form a giant replica of Picasso's painting Amnistia on the sand of Miami Beach. The event was organized by the environmental group Greenpeace to protest the federal prosecution of activists who boarded a freighter ship off the coast of South Florida containing an illegal shipment of mahogany from Brazil. Participants assembled to form the image of a dove being freed from tyranny and the words "Endangered Freedoms" as DJ Le Spam and the Spam Allstars mixed African funk beats with the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, and other civil rights heroes. The protest showed that Miamians are actually concerned about the Bush administration's infringement on civil liberties with the Patriot Act -- at least concerned enough to spend a day at the beach.

What doesn't Francisco Ojeda know about Cuban music? Anyone can program a classic like "The Peanut Vendor" or the Buena Vista Social Club chestnut "Chan Chan." Almost anyone with taste can spin the latest masterpiece from pianist Chucho Valdes or reedman Paquito D'Rivera. But Cubanola, aired Tuesdays at 9:00 p.m. by WDNA-FM (88.9), is hard-core, digging into the deepest recesses of the seemingly boundless Cuban sound. Erudite host Ojeda has introduced new listeners to neglected masters like Bola de Nieve and unearthed truly obscure treasures like the unmistakable vibrato of New York-based Panchito Riset. True, sometimes there is more explication than music on the air, but that makes the listening richer once you've added Ojeda's selections to your own collection.

What doesn't Francisco Ojeda know about Cuban music? Anyone can program a classic like "The Peanut Vendor" or the Buena Vista Social Club chestnut "Chan Chan." Almost anyone with taste can spin the latest masterpiece from pianist Chucho Valdes or reedman Paquito D'Rivera. But Cubanola, aired Tuesdays at 9:00 p.m. by WDNA-FM (88.9), is hard-core, digging into the deepest recesses of the seemingly boundless Cuban sound. Erudite host Ojeda has introduced new listeners to neglected masters like Bola de Nieve and unearthed truly obscure treasures like the unmistakable vibrato of New York-based Panchito Riset. True, sometimes there is more explication than music on the air, but that makes the listening richer once you've added Ojeda's selections to your own collection.

With a 40-9-2 record, Johnson would not, at first blush, be regarded as the favorite when he steps into a ring. But he danced around a spell of hard luck and bad decisions right into a victory over Clinton Woods to garner the International Boxing Federation's light-heavyweight championship. Johnson is regarded by fight fans as a hard worker who, though age 35, is now hitting his groove. He was born in Jamaica and moved to Miami in the Eighties. With a title, he is trying to foster a steady following. "I'm trying to be a million-dollar fighter," he writes on www.glencoffe.8k.com. "I can't do that without an audience." Johnson will need all the help he can get. Though he may be in top form at the moment, he's fighting in the same weight division as the legendary Roy Jones, Jr. Help homey by supporting his effort and his attempt to catch a glimmer of the boxing world's spotlight for Miami.

You could go to Brazil or listen across the dial 24-7 and you'd still be hard-pressed to find someone with more knowledge of contemporary and classic Brazilian music than South Florida's Gene De Souza, the host of this WDNA-FM (88.9) show airing each Sunday evening for two hours beginning at 6:00. He knows the works of the most obscure Brazilian musicians, from Recife to São Paolo, and can explain each artist's particular contribution to the country's pop culture. The weekly show mixes all styles, from heavy metal and drum and bass to old-school Tom Jobim and Sergio Mendes bossa nova, plus a slate of other worldly music.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®