Interviews

Miami's Los Wizzards Jam in the Name of Latin Culture

Los Wizzards
Los Wizzards Photo by Dais Sarcos @beatsperframe
Los Wizzards want to make you dance. Their rhythms and infectious sound are designed to make you do just that. And if you don't, the local band's members, starting with founder Wizzmer, might just go get you out of your seat.

That’s the positive vibe and energy that the eight-member group gives off in its shows, YouTube videos, and even in publicity photos. Their jam sound is a party waiting to happen, and it's been getting them gigs all over town at places such as Miami Beach’s Faena and Bodega Taqueria y Tequila, where they play regularly.

Two and a half years ago, the band began to form when Wizzmer, an established producer and cuatro player in his native Venezuela, was jamming at open mikes around Doral.

“I started performing open mike in February 2016, playing every Thursday at Macondo, a coffee spot in Doral,” Wizzmer recalls. “I played on my own and would do an improv jam with the audience.”

Other musicians were in attendance at Macondo, including drummer Juseph Ballestero, a fellow Venezuelan who joined Wizzmer onstage.

Cuban-Jamaican trumpet player Alex Coombs followed and brought with him his friend, Cuban-American trombone player Anthony Armas.

The group grew to five when bassist Rafael Querales, another established Venezuelan musician who has played with the likes of singers Luis Enrique and Gilberto Santa Rosa, joined the crew. The sixth member to come onboard was saxophone player David Rodriguez, followed by Samy Hawk, a Venezuelan and pro rapper. After Hawk joined, they took the name Los Wizzards.

“This is the core group: a three-piece horn section, with bass, drums, cuatro, and beatboxer on vocals,” Wizzmer says. Singer Roy Robinson was the final member to join.

Los Wizzards earned fans through reimagined versions of well-known hits the band performed regularly at venues such as the now-defunct Stage in Wynwood. They also began testing their original songs on audiences.

Then they got their big break, when Mexican singer Luis Miguel joined them onstage at Casa Tua. That notoriety led to features in People en Español and appearances on el Gordo y la Flaca and Un Nuevo Día on Univision.

Their original tunes “Spanglish Love” and “Jodido Pero en Miami” have racked up listens on Spotify and YouTube. They're also working on an EP, Wizzmer says, with four singles already prepped for release.

The band's main goal, Wizzmer says, is “to represent Miami, particularly to Latin Americans who are our target audience.”
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Josie Gulliksen is a Miami native who's been covering Miami's arts and culture scene for more than two decades. She loves biking, spending time in nature, eating out, and attending all types of events. She dreams of one day writing a play and being on the stage.
Contact: Josie Gulliksen