Sun Ra, whose human name was Herman Poole Blount, was a trailblazing afro-futurist who explored the entire history of jazz throughout his many compositions. One single caveat: It was a history of jazz from another planet (in the future).

As a teenager, I fell in love with two very different musical genres: punk rock and cumbia — that Caribbean-born music with a contagious two-beat shuffle.

To purists of either, my musical promiscuity might have seemed blasphemous, but to me, it was a logical combination. Cumbia is more punk than punk itself. And many years later, when I discovered Mexican DJ Ali Gua Gua, and her group Kumbia Queers, I was elated with their unique brand of "tropi punk." They got it.

Bleeding Palm / Courtesy

Through the Knight Arts Challenge Miami, the Knight Foundation is one of the primary sources of funding for South Florida arts. The only rule a project must meet to qualify for the grant is that it be about art, benefit South Florida, and that it be matched in funding.

Jeffrey Dunn

The names Barbe and Doucet might not be as widely known as Wagner, Puccini or Verdi -- but their influence is felt in opera houses worldwide.

French director Renaud Doucet and Canadian set and costume designer André Barbe are partners in life as well as work.  And this month, they're bringing their combined talents back to the Florida Grand Opera for Jules Massenet's "Thais."

The Secret Lives Of Local Opera Singers

May 1, 2014
Courtesy of Martin Nusspaumer.

When you see someone singing onstage at the Florida Grand Opera or the Adrienne Arsht Center, do you think about what goes on behind the scenes -- not just the costumes or the sets, but in the singers' lives?

Believe it or not, some of South Florida's opera singers work in electrical and mechanical engineering, accounting, education and law enforcement during the day.

The Engineers

Husband and wife Martin Nusspaumer and Maria Antunez worked as engineers in their native Uruguay.

Miami native Aaron Lebos says his new album, "Turning Point," is meant to be played loud. 

It's a mix of rock, jazz and influences from around the world, fusing a jam-band sound with some of the sonic complexities of jazz. Lebos is a trained -- very trained -- musician, having attended an alphabet soup of South Florida's academic institutions. 

Rui Dias-Aidos

From April 26 to 28, the New World Symphony in Miami Beach is looking hard at the way technology is changing music, and how the group itself is part of that equation. NWS is hosting the annual Network Performing Arts Production Workshop, which connects people from the arts, technology and education. 

Commission Votes To Keep Ultra In Miami

Apr 24, 2014


Ultra's not going anywhere. On Thursday the Miami City Commission voted to retain the music festival.

After two hours of discussion, the commission ultimately showed their support for Ultra in a four-to-one vote. Opposition of the festival came from Commissioner Marc Sarnoff, who no longer wants Ultra to take place in downtown Miami. 


He cited weaknesses in security that have allowed those without tickets to jump the fence and acts of violence as a result of drug use at the festival. 


Listen To A Remembrance Of 'Sounds Of The Caribbean' Host Rich Davis

Apr 24, 2014

"Sounds of the Caribbean" host Rich Davis died in a private residence in Montego Bay, Jamaica, late Wednesday night, says funeral director Dale Delapenha.

As of Friday afternoon, cause of death has not been determined and an autopsy is pending for next week. Family members confirm Davis had a history of hypertension.

Record Store Day Is Black Friday For Vinyl Lovers

Apr 21, 2014
Andrea Richard

Today digital music sales are a huge part of the music industry. And record stores are now a rare entity.  

But as we told you last week, there's a renewed passion for vinyl. Call it a vinyl revival, a resurgence of music with a tangible element.

This popularity stirs up once a year on Record Store Day. It's like a field day for record collectors.

Last Saturday, Radio-Active Records had a line of people since 3 a.m., waiting to get their hands on limited-edition merchandise.

04/18/14 - Next time on South Florida Arts Beat, Sweat Records’ founder, Lauren Reskin, talks about the resurgence of vinyl albums and the internationally celebrated 7th Annual Record Store Day this Saturday.

Independent Record Stores Gear Up For Big Day Of Sales

Apr 18, 2014
Diego Saldana-Rojas

South Florida's vinyl record stores will open early Saturday morning, on the seventh annual dawning of Record Store Day.

The international event promotes independent record stores and aims to boost their business. The day is highlighted by special releases only available to independent retailers, and re-issues of classic records.

Evan Chern, owner of Yesterday & Today's Records in Miami, says his store experiences a spike in sales that day.

Dave Daniels has lived on-site at his Churchill's Pub in Little Haiti since it opened in 1979. This Monday, his colleague Mr. C announced Daniels finalized a deal to sell what I call Miami's local CBGB.

Last time I interviewed Dave Daniels, he made comments about his pub's kitchen renovations and the pleasantness of a young woman's company, and in between he talked about the local bands his stage helped bolster and the local journalists whose write-ups had done them justice.

Amid Ultra's Electronic Beats, A String Quartet Plays

Apr 2, 2014
Bernard Hacker

While the EDM and light shows were going off Sunday at Ultra, a string quartet at the Gale Hotel in South Beach played alongside a DJ and composer.

Backed by DJ Benji B and composer Grant Windsor, The Deviation String Quartet from London re-interpreted songs by artists like Drake, Sampha and Pepe Braddock.

The concept started in 2011, when Benji was asked to DJ at the London Eye, the big wheel overlooking the Thames River in London.