These are tough times for the people of Haiti. And it's not just the Caribbean nation that's in turmoil. The axis of Kreyol culture seems to have spun off balance here in Miami, at least when it comes to the local compas scene. First, the beloved and highly popular Gracia Delva, lead singer for the top-rated band Zenglen, gets caught up in the indiscriminate net of Homeland Security and is sent back to Haiti. Then one of Miami's other top compas acts, D'Zine, disbands after failing to form a supergroup with members of Zenglen. Now, thanks to the efforts of DJ Paz and DJ Lucky, matters become even less linear. Taking members from D'Zine, the two DJs have mixed in just the right amount of sweet hip-hop harmony to form Nu-Look, a band that has stormed Miami and is also hitting stages in New York, Boston, and the Bahamas. But watch out. Delva may return at any time, and rumors of a new band called Hang Out contribute to continued chaos.

These are tough times for the people of Haiti. And it's not just the Caribbean nation that's in turmoil. The axis of Kreyol culture seems to have spun off balance here in Miami, at least when it comes to the local compas scene. First, the beloved and highly popular Gracia Delva, lead singer for the top-rated band Zenglen, gets caught up in the indiscriminate net of Homeland Security and is sent back to Haiti. Then one of Miami's other top compas acts, D'Zine, disbands after failing to form a supergroup with members of Zenglen. Now, thanks to the efforts of DJ Paz and DJ Lucky, matters become even less linear. Taking members from D'Zine, the two DJs have mixed in just the right amount of sweet hip-hop harmony to form Nu-Look, a band that has stormed Miami and is also hitting stages in New York, Boston, and the Bahamas. But watch out. Delva may return at any time, and rumors of a new band called Hang Out contribute to continued chaos.

You know you like each other. Now all you need is the spark that will set your love aflame. The grand circular lobby at the Eden Roc provides the perfect backdrop for larger-than-life romance. Get in the mood with a dry martini at the lobby bar while Patrick tickles the ivories and sings "The Way You Look Tonight." Hollywood-style romance. Then make like Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr in From Here to Eternity on the spa's white sand beach. If all goes well, you may find yourself playing Raquel Welch to Frank Sinatra's Tony Rome: "Room service? Please send up a bottle of champagne. And two glasses."

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.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®