Day Of The Dead with Buyepongo

Buyepongo in The Echo

With DJ Sloepoke


With deep roots in South and Central America, Buyepongo draw heavily from the Latino musical culture. Taking their cues from traditional "roots" music of Colombia, Haiti, Belize, Honduras and the Dominican Republic. Buyepongo create a very vibrant polyrhythmic sound by seamlessly fusing merengue, punta, and cumbia. The group's pulse and power is built around the drum and guacharaca(pronounced: wah cha rah ca) giving them an upbeat tropical flare.

Buyepongo is an infectious sonic explosion of blaring horns and syncopated accordion licks. Tight booming bass lines transcend you from the inner city, to a sunny island surrounded by sky blue ocean. Your soul then succumbs to the slaps of the conga as you become hypnotized by the melodious harmonies being sung. You are now in a tropical haven. Get Ready To Dance!

Chicano Batman

Chicano Batman is your sonic outlet from the monotonous back into the soul. Ethnomusicologists in their own right, they are students of rhythm, globe trotting on a quest to reclaim and represent the musical roots of their past generations. Drawing from a broad range of 60s and early 70s Brazilian bossa nova and samba, spacey psychedelia, slow-jam soul with a pinch of surf-rock cumbia, the quartet uniforms their act in retro ruffled-tuxedo shirts from a thrift store near you. Chicano Batman is more than a musical force but an adventurous and opinionated superhero who feeds off of community, afro-centricity and bolillos, on a mission to bring the overlooked to the forefront.


ECHO PARK, LOS ANGELES — On Woody Guthrie's 100th birthday, July 14th, East LA hip-hop activist / artivist Olmeca headlines fundraising event for a cause Woody himself championed: Skid Row.

Woody Guthrie passed many a night on Skid Row when he arrived in Los Angeles in 1937. Seventy-five years later, life on Skid Row hasn't gotten much easier. But a recent street cleaning campaign that swept up homeless people's essential belongings has caused some residents to fight back to demand a semblance of dignity for life on the streets. The fundraising concert for Skid Row art and activism will be held in Echo Park (another Woody haunt) July 14 from 6 p.m. – 9 p.m. at The Echo, 1822 W. Sunset Boulevard in Echo Park. Suggested price: $10. The event is co-hosted by The Trailer Trash Project and Occupy Fights Foreclosures.*

When Woody Guthrie landed on Skid Row in 1937 he was just one of hundreds of thousands of Dust Bowl refugees who came to California hungry, dirty, and desperate for work. He played for spare change on the streets, in bars and restaurants around Fifth and Main, penning "Skid Row Blues" and "Fifth Street," songs that reflect his increasingly political views on societal injustice. Seventy-five years later, Fifth and Main has been renamed "Woody Guthrie Square." The corner would be unrecognizable to Woody today — locals call it the Beverly Hills of Skid Row due to gentrification. Yet all he would have to do is walk a few blocks to feel like he was in familiar territory.

Skid Row is the end of the line for a growing number of people forced to live on the streets. But as plans for a new football stadium threaten the viability of Skid Row, residents are fighting back. Woody would have stood right along with them. He described the Skid Row community as "a natural growth of a natural society [that] is not created by the people that's down there, but by the money grabbers that drove 'em down there."

Woody's lyrics referenced bankers who foreclosed on homes and farms as railroad companies and industrial-sized farms gobbled up land. He sang about the marginalized poor and deportation. The same central issues of bank greed, bank fraud and profit over people are at the heart of our Great Recession.

Olmeca — whose lyrics are written to encourage critical thinking, cultural/political empowerment and social justice — leads a socially-conscious line up of artists in Woody's tradition of speaking up for those who need a voice.

Lessons From the Past
There were no welcome mats laid out for Woody or any of the other Okies, Arkies and Texans who poured into Los Angeles during the Great Depression. The Los Angeles Police Department even set up check points in Needles and other outposts to turn back indigent Okies. (Woody's song "Do Re Mi" reflects that event.) So great was the fear that the "minimally white" newcomers would spread disease and generally weaken the fabric of society that editorials called for them to be euthanized.

As he traveled the back roads and the city streets around Los Angeles, Woody saw signs reading: "No Okies, Mexicans or Dogs Allowed In Store." At a movie theatre: "Negroes and Okies Upstairs." Above a public urinal: "Okie Drinking Fountain." He witnessed people in Los Angeles being uprooted from their homes and deported to Mexico. He began to understand that other groups of marginalized people — of Mexican, Chinese, Japanese, African and Filipino descent — were facing similar discrimination, and had been for a very long time. Gradually, Woody began to call all unwanted people "my people."

Skid Row Today: A Historical Continuum
Hamid Khan, of Los Angeles Community Action Network (LACAN) sees the current street cleaning campaign on Skid Row as a continuum of the country's long history of forced relocation and displacement of unwanted people. He links plans for a downtown football stadium to what he believes is a stepped-up effort to eliminate poor people from Skid Row and surrounding areas. Khan criticizes politicians who embrace the Safer Cities Initiative and other campaigns that he claims demean unwanted groups, making it socially acceptable to get rid of them. "They say we need to clean out the homeless so people can come downtown, feel safe and enjoy themselves," he said. "Skid Row has become a laboratory for establishing policies and codes that demonize people who are not wanted." For other examples of forced relocation he points to freeway projects built through downtown neighborhoods, mosques forced to move from communities, and the demolition of public housing projects in post-Katrina New Orleans.

Fighting Back
Where there is oppression, there is often resistance. Khan says, these days, residents on Skid Row are fighting back, reclaiming their right to occupy space on the streets and challenging the notion that profit trumps people. As with the Great Depression, hard times are upon us, and the conditions on Skid Row speak volumes about how society can systematically discriminate against marginalized groups. While the once-secure middle class shrinks, the ranks of the homeless grow. Many of us are one paycheck — or a foreclosure notice — away from our own version of Woody's "Hard Times." But down-on-your-luck tunes were not Woody's style. He was forever singing that, when we work together, "A Better World's A-Coming."

La Chamba

La Chamba began with a love and respect for Peruvian Chicha music. Its deep Amazonian Cumbia groove along with the psychedelic feel instantly inspired them to create their own unique blend of the sound. They were moved not only by its personal and social message, but by the parallels that exist in the pulse of barrios across Latino America.
Coming from humble working-class Los Angeles communities, La Chamba decided to amplify the realities that made them who they are by adding a rhythm to the daily bustle of life. They decided to call themselves "La Chamba, which means "to put in work".
Their audience is as much a part of their performance as they are. Encouraging and electrifying the people to let loose, and release their grind on the dance floor…

Jungle Fire

The JUNGLE FIRE sound digs deep into afro/latin funk with an approach that is both authentic and highly explosive! Comprised of musicians from the Los Angeles region, JUNGLE FIRE pulls it’s influences from such legends as Ray Camacho, Enrique Lynch, Ray Barretto, James Brown, Fela Kuti and Manu Dibango (just to name a few) to create a melting pot of afro-cuban rhythms, break-beats and 70′s inspired funk.

Originally conceived as a one-off project back in 2011, JF quickly gained attention and thus proved its place among the thriving LA funk/soul scene by lighting up local clubs, venues and underground warehouse parties.

The buzz grew and word of mouth spread eventually linking up the band with the Ohio-based indie soul label Colemine Records to cut their first 7” single “Comencemos” (a cover of Fela’s “Let’s Start”). Lauded by DJ’s, radio stations, tastemakers and rabid funk fans across the globe “Comencemos” sold out internationally paving the way for the second 7” Colemine release “Firewalker”. A full length LP is currently in the works.

“Few bands live up to their name in the way Jungle Fire do; fusing Cumbia, Afrobeat and traditional funk, each JF jam blazes the floor with real power” as described by Juno Records UK, best sums up the Jungle Fire live show. Serving up a healthy dose of originals and deep latin/afro funk covers all cooked up together in a live mixtape style set ensuring an energy that is nothing short of fire.

Although the members of JF all have diverse musical backgrounds the band as a whole is a direct reflection of the culture and musical landscape of Los Angeles, which has been the biggest influence behind the sound and flavor that is uniquely Jungle Fire.

Since their inception Jungle Fire has played an impressive amount of club dates and festivals both domestic and abroad having shared the stage with Shuggi Otis, The Blackbyrds, Lee Fields, Charles Wright, The Budos Band and even performing for Los Angeles’ recent mayoral inauguration. During the winter of 2013 Jungle Fire embarked on a massively successful U.K. tour playing to packed venues at every stop including headlining Craig Charles’ Funk Club (Band On The Wall) and BBC 6 Radio.

Individually and collectively, JF’s musicians have recorded, toured or played with Stevie Wonder, Breakestra, Ozomatli, Ethio Cali, Quantic, Alice Russell, De La Soul, Emily Wells, La Santa Cecilia, Simple Citizens, Del The Funky Homosapien, Celia Cruz, Orgone, Myron & E, The Greyboy Allstars, The Lions and Big Daddy Kane.

Quita Peñas

9-piece Cumbia "musical collective" Quita Penas from Southern California play Afro-Latin & Latin-Afro sounds influenced by cumbia in Colombia to Semba in Angola. Translated as "take away your worries," the collective is working to revive traditional feel good music, getting people to dance and enjoy each others company.

DJ Anthony Valadez (KCRW)

DJ Sloepoke

There are three things you need to know about DJ Sloe Poke: 1. He doesn’t mess around with any of the artsy stuff. 2. You won’t hear him tactlessly scratching and 3. He goes to a club to rock it.

What makes Sloe Poke one of L.A. ’s best DJ’s is that he can spin several styles of music with ease. Sloe Poke attributes his skills to the years of spinning for people with diverse tastes, ages and cult
ures. Most DJ’s can spin two or three different genres of music but get lost when it comes to Latin music. This is where Sloe Poke excels. He’s the kind of DJ that can entice the older generation to go out on the dance floor and put a younger crowd to shame. He can mix a Salsa classic like Joe Arroyo’s “Rebelion” with Celso Pina’s Sonidero hit, “Cumbia Sobre El Rio,” then follow those songs with Thalia’s poppy, “Piel Morena” and Frankie Cutlass’ club fave, “Puerto Rico,” making it all flow together somehow.

Because of Sloe Poke’s range, he can spin almost anywhere in the city. Besides being a resident DJ at places like Little Temple and the Rhythm Lounge, he spins at clubs like Sonido, playing Dub, Dancehall & Lover’s Rock. When he’s DJing at The House of Blues in San Diego, he compliments whatever act is headlining. He has opened for shows as diverse as Mos Def, David Lee Roth, Yellowman & Jaguares. It really doesn’t matter who or what genre Sloe Poke is spinning for -- he always has the perfect mix.

$12.00 - $14.00


Hosted by: Ray Ricky Rivera

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