In 2011, Fama Publicity Services brought one of the most unique singers in Brazil's contemporary music scene to Australia, Fernanda Takai. She is better known as the lead vocalist of Brazilian alt-pop-rock band Pato Fu, who in 2001 were named one of the 'Ten Best Bands In The World' by Time Magazine.
They played in Canberra and Sydney, their show was a tremendous success. Lynn Mills in her review from the Canberra Concerts said: "For this Canberra concert it was the more demure, gentle and sweet voiced Takai was sang a song line of her roots that are both Brazilian and Japanese with just enough English mixed into give us non-Portuguese speaking audience a mix of music cultures to delight" The Canberra Times, Sunday April 21, 2011.
Accompanied by legendary John Ulhoa on guitar and vocals, Lulu Camargo on keys, Mariá Portugal on drums/percussion and Thiago Braga on bass, Fernanda's show was considered one of the most exciting shows of the year with new and interesting interpretations of genres like Baião-Techno, Pop, Folk and Soul, using beats, loops, timbres, and solos, mixing the traditional and the new.
Richard Blair's SIDESTEPPER performed for the first time in Australia and New Zealand. Taking Latin music to new extremes, they fascinated the audience and impressed producers with its energy and colour of their voices and movements. Definitively they rocked Australia in 2011.
Their tour include Adelaide (WOMADelaide), Brisbane (QPAC), Canberra (We are here 2), Sydney (The Basement) wowing the audience, letting them asking for more. During their time in New Zealand they performed in WOMAD.
British-Colombian Sidestepper were in a league of their own with their irreverent mix of dub, drum & bass, dancehall and hip-hop, blended with Caribbean trance, cumbia, and hot salsa.
Recognized as originating the new wave of folkloric-electronica currently sweeping the planet, the group is known the world over for their slammin' sets of Afro-Colombian electronic-meets-roots dance music. At every show they confirmed their reputation as a great live band that turns the spontaneity and joy of Colombian passion into a massive party all the way from the stage to the dance floor. Australians were able to witness for themselves why Sidestepper has such a formidable reputation, garnered from performing all over the world since they formed in 2000, wowing massive crowds at Glastonbury, Roskilde, Esperanzah, Coachella and Womad, as well as tours throughout the USA, Central and South America, The UK, Europe, Asia.
Frank Madrid was the Artistic Director for Viva la Gong 2010, putting together an amazing list of artist that transformed Wollongong into a real Creative hub during a very exciting week.
Viva La Gong provided access for the community to a range of cultural experiences across visual and performance art and from popular culture through to classical cultural forms. With such an extraordinary line up it is almost impossible to talk about what the highlight was.
The Festival showcased The Best of the Illawarra and brought artists that captured the imagination of locals.
The voices of Chanel Cole, Julia and the Deep Sea Sirens, the Stiff Gins and Acoustic Women were unforgettable. The cha-cha- boogaloo and bossa nova of the Latin Jazz Ensemble, the Celtic sounds of Riogh and the fun of Mikelangelo's Surf and Western kept people asking for more; Omar Musa was indeed a big deal and so was Deep Sea Arcade and Errol Renaud.
Circus Monoxide created a special work for Viva 2010. It was fantastic and the same happened with the Modern Dance program at Project Contemporary Art Space where we also heard a superb classical music program that included Viva la Brass and Viva la Flute.
An estimated 10,000 participants attended Viva 2010 events and community and stakeholder response to the festival was overwhelmingly positive.
During Brisbane Festival took in some hot Latin beats at the late night Havana Club in the Cascade Court, QPAC. Themed on the legendary music bars of old Havana that served the likes of Brando, Monroe and Hemingway, Havana Club featured the finest international and Australian Latin bands mixing it up with top Afro-Cuban DJs.
It was full of wonderful rumba rock, salsa, songo, chachachá and aphrodisiac mambo and authentic Cuban cocktails and food.
The dance floor warmed up with the rhythm of Hot Mambo, Brisbane locals, dynamic six piece fusion; Club Havana Band, from Sydney, Australia's premiere salsa group; Chukale, Gonzalo Porta & the Sydney Salsa All Stars, Tijuana Cartel, Armandito y su Trovason.
The audience enjoyed the sweet spot between the heart and the hips on the Havana Club dance floor!
Flipart was presented as an umbrella event of the Canberra Festival, in collaboration with ACT Government Chief Ministers Department, ACT Health and Canberra CBD, Flipart Festival was conceived as a celebration of quality circus, aerial, street and physical theatre.
The objective of the festival was to animate the inner city area by showcasing the work of renowned visiting Australian and international artists as well as local talent. The final result was a well attended event where approximately five thousand Canberrans of all ages enjoyed an impressive program that included some of the most successful physical and street theatre, aerial dance and circus companies in Australia.
Flipart was devised in response to a call for expressions of interest to develop an arts event, made by the ACT Government's Centenary of Canberra Team. Centenary's Creative Director, Robyn Archer, said the process unearthed some terrific ideas for the city's journey towards 2013.
Chief Minister Jon Stanhope said that Flipart offered an opportunity to see whether the people of Canberra share this sense of fun and activity. "It befits the national capital to host the very best in the nation - and that's what these artists are", says Chief Minister Stanhope.
The team behind Flipart put together an impressive program that included some of the most successful physical and street theatre, aerial dance and circus companies in Australia as well as up and coming local artists that are creating a style of physical theatre and circus that is unique to our city.
World renowned Australian physical theatre company Stalker chose Flipart to premiere its show, Elevate. This work was the result of fusing hip-hop and break-dance with Stalker's trademark stilt acrobatics and a 5 metre-high catapult. Elevate is a highly disciplined, physically rigorous, spectacular work which incorporates the street-dancing style, acrobatic dance, and daring break-dance with Stalker's subtlety of performance and spectacle.
Other visiting artists included Dislocate, Chrome, Zimboyz, Circus Monoxide and Erth.
Latin Grammy Award winning Los Amigos Invisibles (The Invisible Friends) toured Australia for their third time. Again Frank Madrid brought their funky stuff down under with a national tour beginning in Sydney, presenting them in Adeliade (Womadeliade), Brisbane (QPAC), Byron Bay (The Brewery) and Canberra (during FlipArt).
Time Out, New York, heralded the band's performance as "The global joyride of the year".
The dynamic and sophisticated Los Amigos Invisibles took home the 2009 Latin Grammy for Best Latin Alternative Album with their smash-hit release, Commercial. Their music has been described as "one part 70's crime-drama keyboards, two parts porno flick bass-lines, a dash of groovy funk guitar riffs and a glaze of hip shaking' Latin beats," (Filter).
Uncovered almost two decades ago by Talking Heads' founding member and lead songwriter David Byrne in New York City after he picked up one of the 20 CDs left in a record shop, Los Amigos Invisibles have been performing for eighteen years, have toured 60 countries and released six albums.
The group has recorded and collaborated with the like of Louie Vega, Dimitri from Paris for "Superpop Venezuela" and Masters at Work for "Venezuelan Zinga Son". Their sexy and provocative sound is super cool; think the acid jazz of Jamiroquai with the smooth riffs of Santana.
Los Amigos described this last tour, like the most special among their three. Adeliade loved them, but it was in Byron Bay where they had the pleasure to perform in front of a crowd full of anglo speakers, and they were delighted with the band, confirming one more time that music and love are a universal language.
Colombian music icons Aterciopelados (pronounced Ah-tair-see-oh-pel-ah-dos, meaning The Velvets), is a collaboration between bassist/arranger Héctor Buitrago and vocalist/guitarist Andrea Echeverri that started in the early 1990s.
They went from being the heroes of Bogota's rock music scene into, eight albums later, an emblematic representative of music in the globalised 21st century. To anyone who has followed closely this transformation, getting direct access to them would not only feel like a privilege but it can also totally freak you out.
Frank was the lucky one to see Andrea Echeverri and Hector Buitrago in concert in front of thirty thousand screaming Mexicans at the Cervantino Festival in Guanajuato, twenty thousand more in Rock al Parque in Bogota and in a much more intimate environment in the lovely city of Vic, in Northern Spain, with 'only' five thousand people, but watching them play to New Yorkers, people spoiled for choice, was a different matter altogether.
Australia was not different; on their tour to Sydney (Fiesta Festival and The Metro), Brisbane (QPAC), Melbourne (Hamer Hall) and Canberra (Stage 88), the organic rock with a social conscience of Aterciopelados was received with massive ovations.
The concert took the audience on a journey through Aterciopelados' career, a catalogue that has got rave reviews by all the leading voices in the music industry, accolades from critics around the world and a number of prizes including the Latin Grammy. The velvety sounds of Baracutana, Rio, Caribe Atomico, El Estuche, Maligno, El Album and the very political sounds of Cancion Protesta and the anti war anthem Hijos de Tigre whipped the audience into a frenzy.