It's impossible to see everything at a music festival or music conference, no matter how hard you try. Such is the case with this year's Latin Alternative Music Conference (LAMC), which brought together Latin American and Latinx artists for four days of innumerable concerts, showcases, panels, parties and after-parties all over the New York City, from Central Park to Brooklyn's Prospect Park. For this reason, I asked friends and colleagues to share their favorite acts and moments at this year's fest. Not a scientific survey or definite list of winners or losers, just their personal highlights. (Mine was seeing Princess Nokia, a proud Nuyorican girl, killing it at Central Park, where she said she had seen countless concerts growing up). What were yours?
"On Saturday, Chicano Batman’s retro brown-eyed soul was pure love and fire at Central Park’s Summerstage. Their whirling, vintage organ-soaked concoction is a sly, creamy blend that juxtaposes social commentary (like in the pointed, Curtis Mayfield-leaning 'The Taker Story' or the funky, reflective 'Freedom is Free') and plenty of groove, cool, and sex appeal.
- Isabela Raygoza, writer and curator
"Argentina's Silvina Moreno was a treat from LAMC. Smart lyrics, great acoustic performance and she's a joy to interview. Love that she's working with Eduardo Cabra - and it was cool to see him watch other performances as he waited for his artists to perform! I was also really feeling LA's Buyepongo this year. Now, they're not a new band by any means but I love to see when a hard-working band gets booked heavily during LAMC week at the various unofficial showcases and afterparties."
- Gina Vergel, contributor, Sounds and Colours
Carlos Alomar and Eduardo Cabra
"For me, the highlight was the panel with Carlos Alomar [guitarist, composer and arranger for the likes of David Bowie and Soda Stereo) and Eduardo Cabra [Calle 13, producer of La Vida Boheme, Monsieur Periné and more]. Carlos just kept telling story after story, it was super interesting. I would hear him talk forever because I was so moved by his genuine love for music, production and his art."
- Jorge Chafey, artist
Editor's note: I highly recommend this Latino USA interview with Carlos Alomar to learn more about his immense legacy.
"I enjoyed seeing artists from Chile and Argentina at the LAMC this year. I've been following the scene in those countries so I was very pleased to see Juan Ingaramo from Córdoba, Argentina. His live show at Highline Ballroom was a good example of what's going there (along with Indios, although they played a short set with just two of their members). It was nice to give major exposure to this new wave of artists."
- Benjamín Nava, media planner and concert-addict
"I'd never seen Princess Nokia onstage before. After listening to her for years and loving her album 1992, it was great to have confirmation that the songs and her talent translate live. She owned the stage at Rumsey Playfield and her relationship with her fans was a beautiful thing to witness."
- Beverly Bryan, writer and co-host of Songmess Podcast
"For me, Javiera Mena, because she's a complete artist that takes care of every aspect of her show down to the last detail, and Quantic, because beyond having an enormous respect for "lo antiguo", he's capable of creating roots music that sounds avant-garde but full of knowledge. He's going to be a classic."
- Teresa Navajas, Communications, PR and Digital Manager at Radio Gladys Palmera
Javiera Mena + J Balvin = Javi Malvin
"The indisputable queen of Chilean synth-pop Javiera Mena was tasked with closing out the LAMC Indie Showcase at Highline Ballroom. In the far right of the venue, a very familiar face and his entourage decided to stick around through the end of the show. Turns out it was J Balvin who was in attendance probably to check out Audri Nix, A.CHAL and Jesse Baez. It was really cute and weird to see Balvin and crew enjoying synth pop and sharing clips of the shows on social media."
- Joel Moya, Associate Music Editor & Artist Relations at Remezcla