Friday Night: Aterciopelados and Curumin at North Beach Bandshell

Heineken TransAtlantic Festival with Aterciopelados and Curumin
Friday, April 16, 2009
North Beach Bandshell, Miami Beach

Better than: Cafeteria breakfast.

The good people at the Rhythm Foundation kicked off their seventh annual Heineken TransAtlantic world music festival Friday night with Colombian folk/rock/lounge superstars Aterciopelados, along with Brazilian electro wonder-boy Curumin.

It's a terrifically breezy North Beach night at the Bandshell.  Perfect for a concert. A line of eager fans winds its way in from the street, as Sao Paolo's Curumin takes the stage with his band. Part Manu Chao, part Sade, part Adam Sandler, Curumin's soulful grooves and psychedelic ambience ease the crowd into the evening. The half Japanese, half Spanish singer and songwriter switches between instruments, sometimes rapping, sometimes singing, always trying to keep the vibe live, not always managing to do it. Definitely someone to keep an eye on though.

At the back of the house people of all ages gather around a glowing black light Heineken dry-erase board, to add their names with special pens. Heineken and its token green are painted everywhere, (seemingly) spreading luck and happiness throughout the land.

Speaking of happiness, boy were the Aterciopelados devotees glad to see their beloved queen, Andrea Echeverri, take her microphone throne, when she walked out with Hector Buitrago and the rest of the band. Ecstatic fans packed in close to the stage, waving their hands in the air and singing along wholeheartedly. Echeverri, looking like some kind of hippie demigoddess, complete with glittery forehead decoration, closed her eyes and soared off through a constellation of protest songs, eco-ballads and indigenous latin rock radio pop.

Known for blending elements of rock with Latin American musical tradition, Aterciopelados (English translation "The Velvety Ones") won a Best Alternative Album Latin Grammy in 2007 for Oye on Nacional Records. Their follow-up album Rio, also received rave international reviews, as well as recognition by the United Nations for their work to end domestic violence.

Critic's Notebook

Personal Bias: Green is my favorite color.

Random Detail: Public parking is free after 6 p.m.

By the Way: Check out www.transatlanticfestival.com for complete festival info.

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