A few minutes after pop singer Alex Anwandter took to the SummerStage in Central Park, he was stopped in the middle of his second song. The concert, also featuring the popular Julieta Venegas and Carla Morrison, was stopped due to an approaching storm. Some fans left. Others waited, for about an hour, to see if the show would continue at some point.
“I’m pissed off,” Lorena Lucero, a fan, declared. Lucero was holding a homemade poster in support of Trayvon Martin that she hoped her favorite singers would get to see. “I came all the way from Sunset Park in Brooklyn, and I’m not going to be happy if I don’t get to see Carla.”
By late afternoon, park officials gave the green light to the last day of the 14th edition of the Latin Alternative Music Conference (LAMC). More than 3,000 fans marched back in, armed with umbrellas, raincoats and cameras.
The LAMC crowd, always resilient as much as their favorite acts, have for years been part of the Latin alternative moment which has evolved into a much more visible genre that’s matured and evolved to see expansion, growth and new admirers of the music.
The LAMC has historically featured artists such as Venegas, Puerto Rico’s Calle 13 and Mexican-American singer/songwriter Lila Downs. Through the years these artists have built loyal audiences and LAMC has been part of the journey where they have been able to showcase their music, network with their colleagues and develop their industry relationships. This installment of the five-day (July 9-13) conference featured some of the genre’s rising acts as well as some familiar faces.
Fat Joe, Cuarto Poder and Los Rakas started out the week at the first SummerStage show. At the Mercury Lounge performances were given by Torreblanca, Ulises Hadjis, La Vela Puerca, Viniloversus, Los Master Plus and Dapuntobeat, who recently signed a label deal with Nacional Records owned by Tomas Cookman, who also founded the LAMC.
Other acts who performed during the week included Catupecu Machu, Sol Fernandez, Mitre and the Chilean band Astro, who this year was given the Discovery Award for best new artist on the scene. Downs, Natalia Clavier, Pamela Rodriguez and DJ Raul Campos performed.
This year’s offerings also included a film and music night at the Marcus Garvey Park Amphitheater in Harlem featuring a showcase by Elastic Bond and the screening of “Fania All Stars Live in Africa.” A concert headlined by Mexican singer/songwriter Natalia Lafourcade proved to be a crowd-pleaser in a show that included acts Catupecu Machu, Fofe y Los Fetiches and Bareto.
At a LAMC Brooklyn concert, a Nortec Collective presentation included Bostich and Fussible, Mexican Institute of Sound and Mariachi Flor de Toloache, all shows that proved and showed that Latin indie music has established and emerging acts recording strong music for a market that simply wants good music in a variety of sounds and styles.
“Everybody knows each other at LAMC,” says Cookman, as he reflected on this year’s community of artists, adding that LAMC’s 15 anniversary next year is going to be a big celebration. “Everybody wants to work with each other, and they feel they’re building something special.”