Afrobeta and Friends Invade the North Beach Bandshell for Mooncake Jam

"We wanted to do something that wasn't the regular album-release party, so we decided to have a festival," says Cuci Amador, half of the local electro duo Afrobeta. She and Tony Smurphio (the other half of Afrobeta), along with a few close musical friends, will throw the Mooncake Jam this Saturday at the North Beach Bandshell. "I'm really interested in sacred rituals, and there's a Chinese harvest festival where the moon is at its highest point in the sky, and they make these beautiful pastries that are called mooncakes. You celebrate community, family, and friends. And for us in Miami, we can celebrate that it's fall and we can be outside without being all sweaty."

In that spirit, she and Smurphio went through their list of friends and family to fill out the bill for the free festival, hosted by the Rhythm Foundation, a Miami nonprofit dedicated to bringing global music to South Florida. Among the acts taking the stage over the course of four hours are singer-songwriter Jesse Jackson, R&B vocalist Chantil Dukart, and Telekinetic Walrus — which will open for Afrobeta on a monthlong tour up the East Coast and which Amador describes as a "freaky, funky, operatic Outkast."

Another act on the bill, Tiny + Crusty, will play its debut performance at Mooncake Jam — sort of. "Tiny + Crusty is really me and Tony. When I text 'Tony,' it autocorrects to 'Tiny,' and 'Crusty' is how it autocorrects my name. It's our side project for the songs that don't fit Afrobeta."

The pair recently completed an album of songs that do fit Afrobeta. It's streaming online, but you won't be able to buy a copy of Dream About You on vinyl or CD. "We're selling a physical copy only as a USB bracelet designed by FigureM. You can put the music on your computer and then use [the USB flash drive] to type your school paper on it."

The album, she says, was heavily influenced by their travels. The title song, "Dream About You," was recorded during their summer in Los Angeles. "Gondola" is about Colorado, and "36 Trap" is about the street they live on in Miami. "One of the songs — I'll let you figure out which one — was influenced by Janet Jackson's 'Love Will Never Do.' "

Afrobeta & Friends Mooncake Jam With Telekinetic Walrus, Chantil Dukart, and others. 6 p.m. Saturday, October 17, at the North Beach Bandshell, 7275 Collins Ave., Miami Beach; 305-672-5202. Admission is free with RSVP via

KEEP MIAMI NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
David Rolland is a freelance music writer for Miami New Times. His novel, The End of the Century, published by Jitney Books, is available at many fine booksellers.
Contact: David Rolland