Manuel Artime Theater
First there was the news last May that Os Mutantes, pioneers of Brazil's psychedelic tropicália movement in the Sixties and Seventies, would reunite for one night only in London. (No less a figure than Kurt Cobain had tried to accomplish this in 1993 and failed.) Then there was the news that the band would come to the states for a mini tour — its first ever in this country. Finally there was the news that one of those seven shows would take place in Miami. So score a big one for the Rhythm Foundation and Poplife, two promoters who, for at least one night, fomented a magical mashup of the hipster and tropical music crowds. While original chanteuse Rita Lee was absent, the rest of the founding backbone of the band appeared: Arnaldo Baptista on bass and keyboards, his brother Sérgio on guitar, and Ronaldo Leme on drums. With younger guns hired to fill in, they churned out sunshiney, samba-esque pop with joyous aplomb. The warm, red, and gold setting of the Manuel Artime Theater was, fitting the music, baroque and retro. It was fittingly gorgeous, too.
The Cleveland Orchestra Miami Residency
The Florida Philharmonic breathed its last gasp only months before construction began on the Carnival Center for the Performing Arts. Its instruments had been auctioned off by the time the venue finally opened. It seemed that we would have to make do with the green (though by no means slight) talent of the New World Symphony. But then the Carnival Center's programmers announced that the first professional orchestra to debut in the space would be one of the finest — if not the best — in the country. The Cleveland Orchestra played a series of three concerts beginning in early January and ending in March. The repertoire included Ludwig van Beethoven's Ninth Symphony and Gustav Mahler's First. Also performed before packed houses were pieces by Leonard Bernstein, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, and Argentine composer Osvaldo Golijov. There were lectures about the music, too. But mostly it was the glorious use of a still-unfamiliar space that made the series memorable. In the Carnival Center, the strings seemed to soar, the cymbals crashed with grandeur, and we felt like a city whose cultural offerings were second to none.
Host Howard "Flagga Dupes" Duperly isn't exactly humble about the weekly lineup for his Saturday afternoon show, The Reggae Ride, on WDNA. "The type of reggae I play is what I would call a more authentic kind of reggae — and I say that unequivocally," declares Flagga. His three-hour program features ska, rocksteady, and roots reggae, as well as some contemporary stuff. In fact the DJ — who has hosted the show since 2000, and says he's been on the air for more than fifteen years — arranges each performance chronologically. "Within the three-hour show, I take you on a journey all the way up from the Fifties to the present," he says. "That's why I call it the reggae ride."
First came MySpace and YouTube. Now, there's a new kid in town. If MTV and Google got married, their baby would be elHood.com. This music Website works directly with artists and their music labels. It's actually designed as a tool for artists: They upload their own songs, share photos, announce news and events, and communicate with fans. Web users register — in English or Spanish — and create a profile. Once a member, a user gets beaucoup content — from uncut and unreleased material, to behind-the-scenes news from music videos, concerts, and photo shoots. Users can stream content and customize their profiles and music and video players, but copyright laws prevent downloading. "From day one, we wanted to be more than a social networking site," says Demian Bellumio, CEO of Miami-based elHood.com and Hoodiny Entertainment Group, the site's parent company. Much of the content is exclusive to the site, which is constantly updated with artists' latest projects. Artists often visit the company's studio and do interviews or tape live performances, which are then posted online. "For artists, we are one of the most sophisticated platforms out there that allow them to connect with fans and to track who is listening to their music," Bellumio says. Also new and upcoming: elHood Radio, where users can pick between preprogrammed stations or create their own based on their preferences; and elHood TV, where media partners and record labels will have their own online channels. Video may have killed the radio star, but elHood is bringing him (and her) back.
Steppin' has been called the African-American form of ballroom dancing, and Jim Berry is South Florida's unofficial DJ for the genre. On Sundays at 2:00 p.m. Berry — who is also the sports anchor for CBS Channel 4 — hosts the two-hour weekly show that features uptempo jazz, soul, and R&B. Listeners can hear anything from Maxi Priest; to Spyro Gyra; to Earth, Wind and Fire. Steppin' originated in Chicago and evolved from the Forties jitterbug; instead of moving on every beat, dancers move on every other beat. The style is graceful, smooth, and relaxed — and Berry spins the soundtrack. Even if you don't dance, it's a relaxing listen on a Sunday afternoon.
Since 1991, Kevin Warhaft, age 34, has been working at the Dadeland Mall food court as a janitor. "I clean the tables and the bathrooms. I collect the trays that people leave. I don't mind my day job," he smiles. For the past sixteen years, Kevin has also been hosting local rock radio's most violent program, The Metal Revolution on 90.5 "the Voice," the University of Miami's FM station. "I love heavy metal because it is so evil," Warhaft says. "It is not happy music. It is about having angry feelings. Without this music, I would be dead." Every Wednesday night from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m., tune in and enter Kevin Warhaft's underground world, as the brutal and violent symphony of epic metal oozes out of your speakers. Absorb the vibrating force of the drums beating at machine-gun speed, like U.S. soldiers opening fire on Iraqi civilians. Listen to legendary bands like Dark Throne and Obituary. Hear the lead vocalist growling like Cookie Monster on crystal meth, and realize that this is real rock radio.Hear black metal bands like Emperor and Mayhem, who have a history of burning down churches and committing murder in their native country of Norway (see the book Lords of Chaos for more info). Learn about Florida's own history of metal with bands like Death, Cynic, Nasty Savage, Malevolent Creation, Kult of Azazel, and more. "I love metal because it keeps me going," Warhaft says. "I consider what I do on the radio a very special interaction with my listeners."This program demands respect. Or as Warhaft says, "This music will take you down."
In the beginning, singers were the ones belting out tunes, so they got all the credit. Then producers started getting props, even making debuts on artists' albums. Scott Storch, Pharrell, Cool and Dre — they've all become household names in the same way Christina Aguilera has. But there's one more player that makes a song a hit: the sound engineer, responsible for making the entire song come together, blending vocals and beats to get the perfect mix. Adrian "Drop" Santalla has tracked and mixed songs for artists like Fat Joe and Pitbull — in fact, he engineered Fat Joe's single "Lean Back" (produced by Storch), which was certified platinum. Not bad for a guy who started as a club bouncer, moved up to DJ, and then worked at a jingle house. Much like a high note, he slowly rose to the top, networking along the way and eventually working with big names at Circle House Studios. He eventually branched out on his own and launched UpsideDown Entertainment. Emilio Estefan recently asked him to mix tracks for Celine Dion, Carlos Santana, and Gloria Trevi.
You have to give Slip-N-Slide Records props. For more than a decade this local imprint has been delivering some of the most notorious releases on the hip-hop scene. Founded in 1993 by ex-concert promoter Ted "Touche" Lucas, Slip-N-Slide serves as the de facto home base for the Magic City's hip-hop glitterati. With a slogan that proudly announces, "We are Miami," the label holds a dream team of homebrewed talent such as "diamond princess" Trina, and the new kingpin on the block, Rick Ross. And of course the label's biggest superstar remains the gold-layered veteran Trick Daddy, known for taking songs like "I'm A Thug" into the upper reaches of the Billboard charts. Last year Slip-N-Slide inked a multimillion-dollar distribution deal with legendary Def Jam Records, ensuring its position as one of the best-financed independent record labels in the country. New album projects by rappers Trina and Deuce Poppi promise to keep the club bangers coming for the remainder of 2007.
Blue is the antithesis of big, glamorous clubs and the arrogance, crappy music, and cover charges that come with them. At this humble little watering hole, there's rarely a cover or a line and the dress code is as relaxed as the place itself — which makes sense. If you're going to dance, you need to be comfortable, and the best dance attire doesn't include four-inch designer heels or a stiff $300 shirt. A pair of worn jeans and comfy sneakers will do at Blue. Underground house and techno DJs spin regularly, making Blue the to-be spot for true dance music aficionados. Patrons pump their fists to the beat of the kick drum and chat up a storm, as most of the people who frequent the club are friends and part of a small community of fierce electronic music lovers. Despite the venue's small size, it usually doesn't get too crowded and there's room to dance. While Blue may not share the prestige of its more urbane dance club neighbors, the regulars prefer it that way: low-key and down-home.
Why do we like Joe Dertç Well, because his mashups are Derty, damn it! Not long ago, the Miami Beach Jewbano homeboy was on his way to celebreality superstar status as the drummer for nu-metal band Endo. He signed right before the band went on tour with rock icons Megadeth, which led to an avalanche of accolades and hype for Endo. They hooked up with Los Angeles music producer David Schiffman, the William Morris Agency, and the Firm. As Endo wrapped up its second album, the band was added to the 2003 Ozzfest tour lineup. Alas, Endo was among the casualties from the merger between Sony Music and BMG. Dert (real name Joe Eshkenazi) went back to his old gig: DJing at night clubs. He landed stints at Automatic Slim's and Rokbar before snagging the Saturday-night residency spot at Snatch and Wednesday nights at Glass, where he's perfected his entertaining blend of rock, hip-hop, and funk. Dert can drop an Eminem track behind rock instrumentals so smoothly Dr. Dre would cough up his chronic. Over the past few months, Dert has added Set on Thursday nights and Karu & Y on Friday nights to his growing list of gigs. And that's how we like it, damn it!

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®