Afrobeta Premieres "The Mango Song," the Perfect Miami Summer Tune

Photo by Kar Gar Costa
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Are you leaving your mom's house, your job, or even the club with a bag of someone's mango oversupply? Then you know it's summer in Miami. These smooth, juicy fruits have inspired Miami's bold party-starter Afrobeta to pen a song that "goes out to all the mangos out there." The duo was kind enough to let New Times premiere this delicious tune today. It's a thank-you to fans who voted Afrobeta Readers' Choice winner in the 2018 Best of Miami issue.

In "The Mango Song," Cuci Amador's silky voice floats over Tony Smurphio's smooth, supercool beats, offering a much-needed break from the scorching heat. The song is like eating a ripe mango in the shade of a waving palm, the fruit's fleshy orange juice running down your hands and sliding across your teeth.

Amador and Smurphio are just as sweet as these tasty treats, and their music just as addictive. Afrobeta also continues to rock the best fashion of any band out there. They are tropical emissaries, delivering Miami's party bass to the festival circuit. They even starred in a new documentary, Birthright?!, about their first trip to Cuba. Recently, they spoke with New Times about this new bossa nova ditty and their show tomorrow with DJ icon Tracy Young. They also talked about playing their music in la patria, and other Miami bands they love.

New Times: Can you give some background on how things are going for you guys and the upcoming show with Tracy Young?
Afrobeta: Summer is an incubation period here in Miami, so we are working in the studio with the A/C on full blast. One of those unreleased tracks, "Chanclelazo," is featured in Josue Garcia’s (AKA Karla Croqueta’s) one-man show at Microtheater Miami. You can come hear that one and all the new ones this Saturday at No. 3 Social. The last time we played with Tracy Young, it was epic! We performed together for the afterparty of the Ultra Music Festival movie premiere a couple of years back.

We plan to be ready to release a new batch of songs to coincide with our show at the North Beach Bandshell in September, where we'll play with one of our biggest inspirations, Juana Molina!

How did Birthright?!, the documentary on your first visit from Cuba, get started?
We met Jayme Gershen, our director, to discuss working on a project together. When we mentioned we were going to Cuba for the first time and playing a show, she said we needed to make a film about it. She made it happen!

What was it like making music with people in Cuba on the street and in their homes?
We are a creative people, my Cuban peeps. Everyone has music in their hearts and a song in their back pocket to sing. We played our version of a Celia Cruz song called “Pinar del Rio,” and even though her music has been banned from being broadcast in Cuba, people knew it and remembered it.

How receptive were the crowds at your shows there?
They were extremely receptive without even knowing our music. They appreciate it when people go to Cuba and share their art with them. I think we also confused them a little. We sound exactly like them, but we are Americans.

Tell me about this new track and why you're releasing it today.
It’s a collaboration with our favorite poet, Benjamin Shahoulian. We were at a friend's house when another local poet, Alonso Menendez, walked in with a bag of the most delicious mangos from his tree. We wrote the song in nine minutes. After we won the New Times' 2018 Readers' Choice award, we decided to record and produce "The Mango Song" as a thank-you gift to Miamians for choosing us as their favorite band. The song is a bossa nova, or more like “bass a nova.” It’s only one minute and 27 seconds — the amount of time it takes me to eat a mango.

Do you have a favorite way to eat mangos?
You’re gonna have to hear the song to find out our favorite way to eat mangos. Mango with cilantro is amazing! Also green or unripe mango with salt. Most important is that it’s cold from the fridge in the summer.

What's it like after reaching the top of Miami music fame? How has life changed?
We always tell people, Miami is like its own little country. If you make it here as an artist, you can survive off of your art. It’s really an amazing phenomenon. Also, all the cats in the neighborhood come out when Tony gets home.

Who are some other artists you're pulling up in the spotlight with you? Some of your favorites from Miami?
Electric Kif, Oigo, Twyn, Alejandro Elizondo, Chantil Dukart even though she moved, Telekinetic Walrus — we have toured with them — Otto Von Schirach, and the Galactic Effect. We’re pretty much obsessed with the Magic City Hippies. They are making timeless music. Apart from the artists, we really love what the Prism Music Group and the III Points crew are doing to keep expanding our music scene. They are the “real” rock stars of Miami.

What do you think is the most "Miami" song? And what is your favorite Miami song to dance to?
Amador: Most Miami song: "Diamond Girl." And fave to dance to: "Conga."
Smurphio: Most Miami song and favorite to dance to: "Salpica" by Otto Von Schirach.

Afrobeta. With Tracy Young. 5 p.m. Saturday, July 21, at No. 3 Social, 50 NW 24th St., Miami; 305-748-4540; no3social.com. Admission is free.

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