La Sopita Series at PAX Brings Emerging Colombian Musicans to Miami

"Sopita ... It's like food for the heart and soul, just like music."

But more than comfort food, La Sopita Series is the latest monthly showcase at PAX, giving up-and-coming musicians from Colombia the opportunity to show off their talent in the flashy 305.

"The concept is to connect the bands from Colombia to Miami, like a bridge," says Camila Álvarez, the mastermind behind the series.

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"I am from Colombia and I was very disconnected from everything because I've been here [in the States] for ten years. But during the past couple of years, I've reconnected [with Colombia] and discovered a lot of bands," explains Álvarez.

"They're supertalented, but most of the bands I'm beginning to discover have never been to the U.S. because they don't have the money to come here and play. But I work with Roxanne, the owner [of PAX], and she had the idea [of bringing them here] and thought I should be the middle man."

So since the launch of the series last month, Álvarez has sought sponsorship to bring bands from her native country to play in the Magic City.

And just recently, she gained the support of Heineken to fly in Miguel Navas, one of the artists who'll be making his Miami debut at PAX on Thursday, August 22.

"I wanna get more sponsors, so that I can bring in bigger bands. There are so many that are so amazing and I would love for the people of Miami to see them."

All of the artists of La Sopita are Colombianos because, Álvarez says, "they are just wow crazy."

Take Colombian native Nacho Londoño of Eagle Chief, formerly Arboles Libres (which changed its name "because," he says," the band direction was heading more rock"). Although Londoño resides in the 305, his heart remains in Colombia.

"I have [a connection] with my own land and it's really important to keep doing what I wanna do, which is play music in Spanish," confesses Londoño.

Londoño, who'll be joining Navas and the Tremends, will be performing solo as he dives into the next step of his career.

"I am going to be part of Eagle Chief," he says, "but doing more of my solo work because it's easier and I have more options for what I want to do. I write too much and have too many Spanish songs and love signing in Spanish more than English.

"La Sopita," Londoño adds, "is cool because of the fact that Camila is trying to bring artists from Colombia. I think it's more like a political situation than music. Every time people talk about my country, they talk about the drugs and it pisses me off because they're so close-minded and think we're all Mexicans or we have drugs.

"It's hard to get out of your comfort zone and La Sopita gave me the opportunity to do that. I think it's pretty brave for Camila and PAX to start that movement of bringing bands that nobody knows. There's a lot going on [musically] in South America and people are not aware. It'll help other people to see them."

And that is exactly what Álvarez hopes to achieve with La Sopita Series.

"It's trying to help out artists from Colombia and [get them] to meet the people who play here and for the people who play here to meet the people from Colombia," says Álvarez. "It's like an exchange, because bands from Colombia can learn from bands here, and the bands from here can learn from the bands from Colombia."

La Sopita Series 2. With Nacho Londoño, the Tremends, and Miguel Navas. Thursday, August 22. PAX, 337 SW eighth St., Miami. The show starts at 9 p.m. and tickets cost $10 plus fees via ticketfly.com. Call 305-640-5847 or visit paxmiami.com.

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