A gong hangs suspended from its stand, light dancing across its bronzed surface, each hammered dent hinting at some mysterious overtone waiting to be released. If you grab the right mallet and strike it, that light turns into sound, the complex interplay of indentations drives the air, caresses your eardrums, and vibrates your body. The sound swells, fills the room, and gradually dissipates.
When Miami native Aaron Lebos was a kid, his parents told him to choose between violin and piano. "I chose piano," he says, "obviously." But his big brother played electric guitar, and he wanted to too. He thought it was "cooler." Eventually, he got his hands on a guitar of his own and made his way through jazz studies programs at Miami Dade College, University of Miami and FIU.
For the last 14 years, WXPN host and producer Robert Drake has programmed and hosted a 24-hour holiday-music marathon called The Night Before, aired from midnight to midnight on Dec. 24. We decided this year to put more jingle in the jangle and create Jingle Jams on XPN2, a 24/7 stream of holiday music.
The Cuban government officially doesn't like reggaeton. As some of you know, reggaeton is that mix of Jamaican dancehall music and Spanish hip hop that you hear blasted through car speakers all over Miami and in almost any club you go to in the city.
I would say reggaeton is an acquired taste, but the Cuban government was some pretty serious feelings about this.