I’ve barely slept, but I feel so energized after hosting the 3rd installment of a new project of mine in my hometown of Staten Island, ISLA. What’s ISLA?

A pan-global music dance party, concert series, lifestyle and digital third-space (@ISLAstaten on Instagram & Twitter) covering all things cultural on #StatenIslandUSA. ►► We celebrate the idea that LOCAL IS GLOBAL through CULTURE! ►► GLOBAL VIBE // LOCAL TRIBE!

I’m proud of our show last night because it truly embodied local and global.

A band from Staten Island who is daring to take on a fresh yet vintage sound, D.Y.T. (Do Your Thing aka Diez y Tres), rocked for the very first time as a group. It’s exciting to think of the places their sound can go, a sound that they can cultivate here at home, literally. Read this great profile about Cobra Sun Studio, who are leading a local audio renaissance and where the group is being incubated right now.

Alongside D.Y.T., we were able to bring El Caribefunk – a group I met in Colombia when I was in Cartagena at El Mercado Cultural Del Caribe. I wrote about them then and here we are 2 years later, circles closing in as they made their New York City debut in Staten Island of all the places. El Caribefunk graced our crowd with their afro-latin, colombian, caribbean soul power. They are truly a force and in the US all summer long. You can keep up with their tour dates HERE.

Read this Q&A I conducted with the band – my first and hopefully the beginning to lots more pieces for the Staten Island Advance. Read it in full here and check this excerpt:

What have been your impressions of the United States these last few weeks playing? How does it differ from Colombia? From Cartagena, in particular. Do you feel the influence of Immigrants around you?
It’s been INCREDIBLE. The people have received us more warmly than we ever could have imagined. One of the obvious differences (and challenges) has been the language. It’s been fun to get into it. But in the end we’ve realized the way that music is the universal language, and we’ve been able to communicate that way.
To come from a city like Cartagena is a strong social contrast: 75 percent of the people there live in poverty. Here the way that people consume material goods seems exaggerated and people have so many things. To see this makes us think about our people and value everything they do each day to get by. The interaction we’ve had with immigrants here helps us feel close to our own culture. They have been open to share with us, and we identify the way people miss their home.”