WBEZ | Catalina Maria Johnson http://www.wbez.org/tags/catalina-maria-johnson Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Global Notes: Retrofitting traditional sounds for a modern fit http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2012-03-28/global-notes-retrofitting-traditional-sounds-modern-fit-97688 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2012-March/2012-03-28/DSC_6993-1024x681.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>On this week’s <em>Global Notes</em>, Jerome and contributor <a href="http://catalinamariajohnson.com/" onclick="window.open(this.href, '', 'resizable=no,status=no,location=no,toolbar=no,menubar=no,fullscreen=no,scrollbars=no,dependent=no'); return false;">Catalina Maria Johnson</a> take a look at bands that play “retrofitted” music. These groups adapt older music and apply contemporary technology to bring long-standing musical traditions into the 21<sup>st</sup> century.&nbsp;</p><p>Songstress<a href="http://www.saraharoeste.com/" onclick="window.open(this.href, '', 'resizable=no,status=no,location=no,toolbar=no,menubar=no,fullscreen=no,scrollbars=no,dependent=no'); return false;"> Sarah Aroeste</a> brings a 500-year-old tradition to the present with spoken-word flavored, rock–tinged versions of tunes sung in the ancient Judeo-Spanish language.</p><p>Boston-based <a href="http://deboband.com/" onclick="window.open(this.href, '', 'resizable=no,status=no,location=no,toolbar=no,menubar=no,fullscreen=no,scrollbars=no,dependent=no'); return false;">Debo Band</a> pays homage to the golden age of Ethiopian music with its R&amp;B-influenced, horn-heavy ensembles from the 1970s.</p><p><a href="http://makusoundsystem.bandcamp.com/" onclick="window.open(this.href, '', 'resizable=no,status=no,location=no,toolbar=no,menubar=no,fullscreen=no,scrollbars=no,dependent=no'); return false;">M.A.K.U. Sound System</a> is an eight-member Colombian band based in Queens, N.Y. They reference classics from mid-20th century Colombia -- such as the big-band sounds of the Colombian Atlantic Coast like Lucho Bermudez Orchestra as well as the Afro-indigenous music of composer Andrés Landero.</p><p><strong>Track List:</strong></p><p>La Comida La Manana by Gerard Edery Ensemble</p><p>La Comida La Manana by Sarah Aroeste</p><p>Lantchi Biye by Tlahoun Gessesse</p><p>Lantchi Biye by Debo Band</p><p>Tambo Tambo by Andres Landero y su Conjunto</p><p>Colombia Tierra Querida by Lucho Bermudez</p><p>Canto Negro by M.A.K.U. Sound System</p></p> Wed, 28 Mar 2012 15:27:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2012-03-28/global-notes-retrofitting-traditional-sounds-modern-fit-97688 Exploring Pilsen's indie music scene http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-10-13/exploring-pilsens-indie-music-scene-93120 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-October/2011-10-13/Ivan Resendiz.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Musicians and other artists in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood joined forces: They’ve found new spaces in which to collaborate and produced sound-rich results. For WBEZ, Catalina Maria Johnson shared the story featuring cuts from the <em>Pilsen Soundtrack 2.0.&nbsp;</em></p><p>The CD comes out over the weekend as part of the <a href="http://pilsenopenstudios.net/" target="_blank">Pilsen Open Studios</a> events.</p><p>Pilsen has been known as a port of entry for immigrants for centuries. Since the 1970s, the neighborhood developed a reputation as the city’s classic Mexican neighborhood, and today boasts a 93 percent Mexican-American population. Pilsen’s immigrants brought their art with them too – today, the neighborhood is famous for its murals, cultural centers, galleries and the National Museum of Mexican Art. In more recent decades, Pilsen has also become known for its vibrant indie music scene.</p><p>According to musician and producer Jamie Garza, indie music means, “music that is not engineered or sponsored by major corporations.”<br> <br> The scene includes sounds that range &nbsp;from the punk reggae ska beats of a group like Malafacha to the Chicago Latino blues of Argentinean Maria Blues to the classical guitar of Ivan Resendiz.</p><p>But Garza said, over the years, it has been a struggle to find venues for indie music.</p><p>“One of the most difficult things is spaces that are open to non-commercial politically active art and music,” Garza said.</p><p>So musicians sought a home in less traditional spaces, said Robert Valadez, a visual artist and gallery owner:</p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/insert-image/2011-October/2011-10-13/pilsen.jpg" style="margin: 10px; float: right; width: 325px; height: 276px;" title="">“In the case of Pilsen, it’s been jelling for the last twenty years, in the '80s I was a youth organizer at Casa Aztlan, and we put on a punk rock show in 1987, it was pivotal back in the day. Later on through the nineties, it was more and more of that thing going on. Kids thinking about different ways of expressing themselves musically and creatively, and it’s been continuing with that momentum,” Valadez said.</p><p>Using community cultural centers as venues for music led to indie artists banding together with visual artists, according to artist, musician and gallery curator Victor Montañez.</p><p>“When we began organizing shows, we would mainly look to Mexico for guys like José Molina, or Ampara Ochoa, or Zazhil, and we would bring them to places like San Pio, or the basement of Casa Aztlan, or Instituto de Progreso Latino when it was on Blue Island. We would transform those spaces, that was like the beginning of the guerrilla art shows and music shows,” Montañez explained.</p><p>It was a community affair.</p><p>“If musicians wanted to have a show, they called the artists, if artists wanted to have a show, they called the musicians,” Montañez added.</p><p>The spirit of that collaboration is behind a new CD. The second album from the Pilsen Soundtrack series was recorded by Jaime Garza and two other producer-musicians and includes a booklet featuring Pilsen’s visual artists.</p><p>The CD also reminds listeners that musicians are going beyond Pilsen’s borders to find spaces for the arts, vocalist Maya Fernandez said.</p><p>“I think that these Pilsen soundtracks, the first and second and hopefully many more to come, their goal is to tell this Pilsen story, and what is Pilsen, of course many people when they think of Pilsen it’s like Pilsen, that’s that’s only Mexicans...there’s some of us who travel to different neighborhoods, and others who are in different neighborhoods that travel to Pilsen all the time, through the music it all comes together, through the unity of everybody who likes music and plays music,” Fernandez said.</p><p><em>Pilsen Soundtrack 2.0</em> includes songs by Buya, a large ensemble from the Humboldt Park neighborhood. Johnson asked Buya member Roberto Perez how a Puerto Rican traditional bomba group ends up on a Pilsen Soundtrack.</p><p>“I don’t know! Pilsen seems to have an open door for us, and you can feel it when you’re playing, we’re welcomed here, and we’re welcomed almost as if it was our community, and we get nothing but love here, and we’ll come back to play anytime here. We love it,” Perez chuckled.</p><p>It’s all part of the Pilsen revolution, neighborhood artist Diana Solis explained.</p><p>“What is so important is that in the past, the Latinos would always do things in their own place, we would never exchange, and today there is so much more of that, being open and learning about each other through our art and music,” Solis said.</p><p>Artist and gallery curator Montañez agreed.</p><p>“Pilsen is really much more than just 18<sup>th</sup> Street, it’s a whole vibe and whole attitude, and it’s revolutionary thinking, there’s always this optimism that we can change the world, we can rock the system, and we are just at the verge of a great movement,” Montañez said. “Pilsen is not a geographic location, it’s a state of mind, it’s a state of heart, it’s a state of art, it’s a state of the art,” he finished.</p></p> Thu, 13 Oct 2011 15:11:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-10-13/exploring-pilsens-indie-music-scene-93120 FMEL shocks Chicagoans into a new world of Latino electronic music http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-08-23/fmel-shocks-chicagoans-new-world-latino-electronic-music-90922 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-August/2011-08-23/Kampion.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Stephanie Manriquez and Charly Garcia, co-founders of the <a href="http://fmelchicago.org/%20" target="_blank">Latin Electronic Music Festival </a>- called “<a href="http://fmelchicago.org/%20" target="_blank">FMEL</a>” from its initials in Spanish - are taking Chicagoans into the brave new world of electronic music.</p><p>“We want to have new digital contemporary art and music from Latin America, so we created this space,” Manriquez says.</p><p>The digital art at the heart of the Fest starts with music. Local and visiting musicians and composers working within a variety of genres are showcased. These sound artists compose music and use both created and sampled sound to compose pieces that can be very abstract, to those which have more recognizable melodies or rhythms with a Latin influence.</p><p>But all the pieces incorporate technology as an essential instrument: from computers, IPads, video projection, to the manipulation of devices to make sounds.</p><p>Many electronic artists also work with images that accompany their music. This visual component is also very important, as Manriquez describes: “each of our artists or our showcases [they] come with a projection in the back that makes the complement on their sounds, the image moves as the sound goes.”</p><p><a href="http://fmelchicago.org/%20">The Latin Electronic Music Festival</a> is in its fourth year. Since its start, it’s gone from only showcasing 3 projects to 9 this year and moved to other corners of the city - from a central location in Pilsen to venues on the city’s North and South Sides. But one thing has not changed: the fest always includes workshops for youth that teach elements of digital music production. In fact, says Manriquez, the workshops are at the heart of the motivation for the festival.</p><p>“We are trying to bring these concepts to a community that is not aware of the electronic,” Manriquez says. “These new concepts, we are trying to put them in our daily vocabulary.”</p><p>The workshops cover topics such as Internet radio, VJing, and something called circuit bending, which Manriquez describes: "Circuit bending is the manipulation of toys or instruments that are low voltage and only use double AA batteries. We open them up and then we modify their sounds.”</p><p>The workshops take students from the Latino community into the digital world in a way that isn’t threatening; it’s actually inviting. They develop skills in Math, Physics and computers. It’s all a part of circuit-bending, even though it’s not that obvious, as 16-year-old Monica Gonzalez explains, “It’s really fun I’m learning a lot of things…this doesn’t really involve words it involves creativity and thinking of different sounds.”</p><p>At the same time, it teaches young people how to use mistakes, with a touch of hacking, as an artistic tool to create music. Yair Lopez, who is teaching the circuit-bending workshop at Pro Arts in Pilsen, describes how this happens with vinyl records: “There’s scratches and weird noise and the perfect loop. The loop in music is a cycle where you can repeat and repeat and repeat…Tum tum tum tum… that is a loop.¨</p><p>Selling people on the idea error and odd noises as art isn’t always easy. Each year the organizers thought that money woes would mean the Festival might not happen.</p><p>“We are trying to explain that this kind of culture, this kind of movement, it’s needed in our communities, the digital,” explains Manriquez. “It’s hard to explain what we’re trying to do, and it’s relatively new, so it’s hard to have big funds into it.”</p><p>To keep it alive, a varied group of Latino media, businesses and community organizations have stepped up to the plate. The community is beginning to recognize the value of joining the digital era, and the musicians … well, they just love the freedom, says Leonardo Ciccone. “There’s less rules, referees, less, ‘don’t do this, don’t do that."</p><p>Ciccone is a Chicago-based music composer and producer who grew up in Mexico City and has participated in the Festival 3 times. He explains his interest in the fest: “It responds a lot better to new things…like the Jeff Mills quote, he’s the father of Detroit Techno, he says electronic music is exciting because people when people hear something they’ve never heard before they cheer, whereas in rock and roll, people cheer when they hear they song they’ve heard fifty times and that they really like.”</p><p>Fest co-founder Charly Garcia agrees that, “It’s time to create something in the U.S. and create that bridge between Latin America, Chicago and other countries.”</p></p> Tue, 23 Aug 2011 15:03:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-08-23/fmel-shocks-chicagoans-new-world-latino-electronic-music-90922 Global Notes: Roster of international artists grows at SXSW http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-03-30/global-notes-roster-international-artists-grows-sxsw-84493 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-March/2011-03-30/cambodian-space-projectIII.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>When Chicago blogger and music lover Catalina Maria Johnson went to <a href="http://sxsw.com/" target="_blank">South by Southwest</a> this year, she was pleased to find a growing global music presence. She shares her discoveries with Jerome and <a href="http://www.wbez.org/radio-m" target="_blank"><em>Radio M </em></a>host Tony Sarabia on this week's <em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/globalnotes">Global Notes</a>. </em></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Track List</strong></p><p>Herencia de Timbiqui – Ay No!</p><p>Black Gandhi – Pateras</p><p>Cambodian Space Project – Live performance via YouTube</p><p>Los Rakas – Abrazame</p><p>Monareta – Fried Speakers</p></p> Wed, 30 Mar 2011 17:57:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-03-30/global-notes-roster-international-artists-grows-sxsw-84493 A new kind of flamenco, with a Chicago influence http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-03-18/new-kind-flamenco-chicago-influence-83904 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-March/2011-03-18/El Payo Chicago.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>A group of musicians is creating a new style of flamenco. Their twist? A touch of Chicago. Catalina Maria Johnson has the story of <a href="http://www.myspace.com/elpayo" target="_blank">El Payo</a>.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;<br /><em>MUSIC: El Payo</em></p><p>Chicago is a long way from sunny Spain, but a local group is bringing the heat of flamenco to the Windy City. El Payo has been playing together for about five years now. The four-member band is celebrating the release of their new compact disc.</p><p><em>MUSIC: El Payo</em></p><p>The cover of the CD tells the beginning for their story. David Chiriboga is the group&rsquo;s guitarist.</p><p>CHIRIBOGA: The concept behind it is a fusion; it has the bull representing Spain. The way it was painted shows that it&rsquo;s handcrafted, polka dots, flamenco colors&hellip;but the background, urban look, brick background, old window. It&rsquo;s our fusion where we&rsquo;re all put together the Chicago connection and the Spain connection.</p><p>El Payo bases its Chicago-Spain sounds on a several kinds of flamenco. On the one hand, they work off traditional flamenco. That music includes Moorish influences and was originally developed several hundred years ago by Spanish gypsies.</p><p><em>MUSIC: Traditional flamenco</em></p><p>Becoming adept at traditional flamenco skills wasn&rsquo;t always easy. Chiriboga himself started off by learning at the source.</p><p>CHIRIBOGA: It started with a first trip doing the typical backpacking trip through Europe in college. I brought back my first flamenco guitar and started taking lessons. That evolved into returning to Spain every few years, workshops, learning from the gypsies&hellip; The whole experience is kind of interesting. Learning, not a standard way of learning, but going to their house, it was pretty informal&hellip;</p><p>Though Flamenco music has gypsy origins, the name El Payo indicates the opposite. Raul Fernandez is the group&rsquo;s percussionist and drummer.</p><p>FERNANDEZ: Gypsies from Andalucía call non-gypsies &ldquo;payos&rdquo;. We do Flamenco, a gypsy art, but we are not gypsies doing flamenco. So, non-gypsy equals payo. It&rsquo;s jargon for non-gypsy.</p><p>El Payo&rsquo;s unique sound doesn&rsquo;t just end in traditional flamenco. Their fusions are also heavily influenced by &ldquo;rumba catalana&rdquo;, a genre that emerged in Barcelona. Chiriboga says the rumba catalana is distinguished on the one hand by its percussiveness.</p><p>CHIRIBOGA: If you&rsquo;re playing rumba flamenca or rumba catalana you&rsquo;re using your guitar as a percussion instrument as well, so basically every beat you are hitting the guitar, so you have to have something to protect it.</p><p>Another unique quality of the rumba catalana is its history. It mixes in other Latin sounds. Tom Kimball is El Payo&rsquo;s bassist.</p><p>KIMBALL: From what I gather, rumba catalana was Flamenco musicians inspired by music from Latin America, especially Cuba. The first rumba catalana, sounds like a son played from Cuba. It&rsquo;s an aggressive rhythm. It&rsquo;s part flamenco, part Cuba part rock and roll.</p><p><em>MUSIC: Older rumba catalana</em></p><p>El Payo then added a touch of Chicago on the CD.</p><p>CHIRIBOGA: The cool thing about Chicago we have access to Latin jazz people, Middle Eastern musicians, classical, it&rsquo;s perfect, we have Chicago influences we can bring in, maybe that&rsquo;s the Chicago characteristic of our sound, it&rsquo;s like a perfect spot.</p><p>This includes such musicians as virtuoso trumpet player Victor Garcia, well known in Chicago musical circles for his work with the Chicago Afro Latin Jazz orchestra, amongst other groups.</p><p><em>MUSIC: El Payo</em></p><p>Chiriboga says other instruments not usually found in flamenco were also included in the recording,</p><p>CHIRIBOGA: We did it to add extra colors and flairs&hellip;add what you can&rsquo;t add live. There&rsquo;s the oud and the cello on a few of our melodic songs.</p><p><em>MUSIC: El Payo</em></p><p>El Payo knows their brand of flamenco fusion may not entirely please traditionalists.</p><p>CHIRIBOGA: A little note for Flamenco police: &ldquo;La noche&rdquo;, it&rsquo;s based off an alegria. But it&rsquo;s technically not following the rules&hellip;we have just enough flamenco to get by.</p><p>Nevertheless, David Gonzalez, the group&rsquo;s lead vocalist and primary composer, says the inspiration for the songs is universal.</p><p>GONZALEZ: They are mostly inspired by love of a woman. Flamenco is a very good vehicle for that, a passionate music.</p><p>For WBEZ, I&rsquo;m Catalina Maria Johnson</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>El Payo will be <a href="http://www.yelp.com/events/chicago-el-payo-cd-release-party-w-los-vicios-de-papa-sonorama-at-martyrs" target="_blank">celebrating</a> its CD release at Martyrs tonight.</p></p> Fri, 18 Mar 2011 13:21:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-03-18/new-kind-flamenco-chicago-influence-83904 Music that breaks out of the CUBE http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/music-breaks-out-cube <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2010-October/2010-10-29/CUBE resize.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Chicago has a well-known jazz and blues tradition, but in recent years it has gained a reputation as a home for &ldquo;new music.&rdquo; It&rsquo;s a younger generation of classically trained composers and performers that is turning the traditional world upside down. They bring improvisation, technology and the melding of electroacoustic and traditional instruments.<br /><br /> MILLER: We play many different styles of music influenced by rock, jazz, and the classical tradition, it is music written today.<br /><br /> Christie Miller is the Director of the <a target="_blank" href="http://www.cubeensemble.com/"> Cube Contemporary Chamber Ensemble</a>. It was founded 25 years ago and is one of over twenty member ensembles in the New Music Chicago group. <br /><br /> Part of Cube&acute;s mission is to celebrate the work of international and minority composers of new music. For Mexico 2010, they produced a special concert that emphasized an important part of Latin Music, according to Gustavo Leone, one of the festival&acute;s co-founders.<br /><br /> LEONE: The avant garde, the music that doesn&rsquo;t fit in classical style or popular style and let me tell you that is an area that is thriving in Mexico! It incorporates not only computer instruments and acoustic instruments but also video.<br /><br /> Leone says that like other new music composers around the world, Mexican avant-garde has embraced the 21st Century musical instrument par excellence<br /><br /> LEONE: The only musical instrument that has been invented in the last forty years is the computer. And with the advancement and refinement of the computer, it has become a musical instrument. At the beginning it was not fully accepted by academics but now it is fully embraced by academia and slowly accepted by the audience as a whole.<br /><br /> The concert will incorporate a series of prerecorded sounds that were generated by a computer, played alongside music created by traditional instruments. Here, Leone gives us a sneak peek of the guitar-based piece he will be playing.<br /><br /> LEONE: Now the concept of the piece is one where the guitarist has to react to the music and in sort of a limited improvisation and create the music in real time as a response to the tape. The tape is a recording of sounds of guitar sounds as well as some other sampled sounds processed transformed, distorted in such a way they become something new. The audience hears the tape, But in addition to that there is another track that the audience doesn&rsquo;t hear that comes to my ear and instructs me on what to do. <br /><br /> Are the instructions interpretive? Like a conductor, when conducts the orchestra like tells them to play? What do the instructions add?<br /><br /> LEONE: The instructions tell you when to do something, so you will hear like counting beats: &ldquo;five, four, three, two, now play harmonics and gradually following the tape go to the highest part of your instrument&rdquo;<br /><br /> Wow is that hard to do?<br /><br /> LEONE No it isn&rsquo;t in the sense that it is enjoyable in the sense that you actually have a score, but you don&rsquo;t need to play notes exactly the way they are written. It is an improvisation, like a jazz improvisation but in an avant-garde style. There is a section in the piece where the guitarist, in addition to playing with your hands is supposed to do sounds like: Pops and clicks mouth<br /><br /> That&acute;s body music!<br /><br /> LEONE: Right, exactly!<br /><br /> In addition, some of the pieces include a multimedia experience. Leone says clarinets and electroacoustic sounds stirred the composer.<br /><br /> MUSIC LEONE: This piece is based or inspired in an event that takes place in Morelia. In the copper mines the workers get together and hammer a large piece of copper. They hammer this piece of copper together to turn it into a workable layer of copper and he used that sound as a basis for his piece as well as he used images to create the video that accompany this piece for two clarinets and video<br /><br /> Added elements aside, Director Christie Miller says Mexico shines through.<br /><br /> MILLER: Perhaps with Rimbarimba, for solo marimba, you&rsquo;ll hear some of the traditional Mexican rhythms. It definitely has the traditions sounds, but taken a lot farther, it is there maybe not in every piece but some of them, they show the influence of their roots, but they have taken it so much farther, paired them together and create something totally new.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>The CUBE Ensemble will perform this Sunday as part of the <a href="http://www.latinoculturalcenter.org/newsite/index.php?option=com_content&amp;view=category&amp;layout=blog&amp;id=6&amp;Itemid=7">Latino Music Festival</a> and the <a href="http://www.mexico2010inchicago.com/">2010 Mexico Celebrations</a>.<br />The event will take place at the <a href="http://www.artic.edu/aic/calendar/events?EventType=6">Art Institute&rsquo;s</a> Fullerton Hall on Michigan Avenue. <br />&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 29 Oct 2010 14:35:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/music-breaks-out-cube