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Interview With Artur Balder About His Latest Documentary

From left to right: Artur Balder, director of the film, José Manuel Ciria, featured artist, and José María Sanz-Magallón, CEO of Telefónica Internacional USA, esponsor. Photo by Meatpacking Productions / Ambrose Eng

We told you some weeks ago about “Ciria pronounced Ciria”, Artur Balder´s latest documentary. The New York based director of “Little Spain” brings this time a realistic documentary about the renowned Spanish abstract painter Jose Manuel Ciria. Latin Recap brings you this exclusive interview with the Spanish American filmmaker and writer.

Latin Recap: In this film there two aspects: on one hand the art industry, and on the other the artist and his creative process. Is this a deliberate choice?

Artur Balder: Yes, it´s my answer to a structural need. At first, I wanted to analyze the artist from an external perspective: how the others see him. And then from an internal perspective, how he is, how he sees himself and the creative process as close as possible.

LR: What did you learn about the creative process with this documentary?

AB: It´s an industry that depends on the market, its dynamics are very different from others commodities. For example, as an investment objet his consumption doesn´t decrease in recession times, but can increase. Though this is only in the case of renowned and well established artists. For artists in lower levels it’s the opposite, because people don´t want to take the risk and sales from unknown or emerging artists decline.

Regardless of that, doing the documentary I realized that the artist has to make many sacrifices to engage in the market machinery and, ultimately, the market is incompatible with creation. However, the artist needs the market to grow.

LR: Why is the film interesting to the audience?

AB: My film invites the viewer to better understand abstract art from the particular perspective of an artist. Allows you to enter the creative process, I think this is the most interesting, because it attempts to approach the mysteries of creation: all these internal and usually painful phases that can lead to the emergence of a single object which we consider work of art.

You can watch the trailer here:


Red Bull Culture Clash with Que Bajo?!


Que Bajo?! Is it the name of the group, or is it the name of the party? Does it really matter when the music is that good? Devoid of borders in their minds, Uproot Andy and Geko Jones focus on the music and how they can dissect different genres and create a genetic hybrid that makes you want to riot on the dance floor. “We would make a lot of music to play at the party. We were interested in all these kinds of music. The terms Global or Tropical didn’t exist back then.” said Uptown Andy.

Uptown Andy and Geko Jones performed at the Roseland Ballroom for Red Bull’s  “Culture Clash”, an international sound clash that was first done in London in 2010. It’s ironic because they met at a party event of one of their rivals that evening. It’s a unique partnership, Andy from Canada and Geko, who shares a Puerto Rican-Colombian heritage. “We’re really two separate DJ’s, homies, and we wanted to start a party.” explains Uproot Andy “But we don’t really have a duo performance but we tend to get booked a lot together.”

Que Bajo’s music is labeled as Global Bass music. But they know better. Names are fleeting. Whether it’s called Tropical, Global Bass, New World music, or World music 2.0, it’s all the same to Que Bajo. Geko explains. “It’s a debatable term. There’s a lot of terms for it but because of the internet there’s a cross-pollination of different underground club music.” Andy has a similar view. “Instead of thinking of it like a genre of music, like it’s sort of an approach to playing a different bunch of genres altogether at the same time.”

Que Bajo?! has been working the NYC underground dance scene for five years now. Their unique blending of various styles has made their parties the place to be. The sheer amount of music they have produced has allowed them to entertain thoughts of creating a record label. And so it was. “We would make a lot of music to play and over the years, a lot of this stuff became like a catalog.”

The Red Bull Music Academy obviously knew what they were hearing. They made having Que Bajo?! a priority for this concert event. Red Bull did their research and through word of mouth, they found that Que Bajo?! was on many lips. “I think me and Red productions, they kind of helped put this together. They kind of picked the lineups and went to bat for us.” Geko stated “I think if you’re going to represent nightlife in NYC right now, this is a pretty fair gauge of what’s happening.”

Yet for Andy and Geko, they are primed and ready to do their thing, but competition as it is, does not move them either way. To them it’s about the party and how they can make their audience move. “I’m excited. I think we’re going to make it where the other guys compete against themselves and we out fun them.” Geko says. “What we’re bringing I think is a really different and new kind of sound that can stand up to these tried and tested sounds that other crews have, Andy adds.

The future is already in place. Que Bajo’s style may not be ready for the masses, but if you wandered into a NYC dance floor at one of their events, the world is smaller, and Que Bajo?! rules the city nightlife, and that’s more than enough. “We believe in folkloric stuff, it’s a time where folkloric is not appreciated. We’re in a very Urban market now.” Geko said “There are hardcore fans that enjoy this music, but will it be mainstream? We’re a few years from that yet.”

Photos of Red Bull Culture Clash: [View on Facebook]

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Red Bull Music Academy presents Nanobot Picket Line


The Red Bull Academy series, which has been presented by Red Bull for fifteen years now, is in New York City for the first time. The thumping beats of House Techno/Electronica music as represented this evening by Latino artists was in full effect last night at the Cameo Gallery in Brooklyn, NY, which stood behind a bar called the “Lovin’ Cup Café.”

The event was titled the “Nanobot Picket Line” and from the stage acoustics which played well in the small but cozy venue to the dominating visuals such as the large light/string sculpture that was used to reflect video images. The evening was quite a success. Ale Hop, from Lima, Peru and Astroboyz from Barcelona, Spain were the main attractions of the evening.

Ale was a surreal sight on stage. Enclosed in darkness, the mystery that is Ale, was suddenly bathed in light, only to return, with the heavy riffs of her Ferring guitar provoking images of Prince’ Purple Rain, Ale spoke her story with her strumming fingers and poker face. The crowd responded hysterically. If one song could define Ale, it would be “Doce Pasos”, a song she did with her band “Las Amigas de Nadie.” Ale explained, “It’s really personal and has a lot of meaning. It plays like a narrative of my life. When I do music, I think of images like a movie, a soundtrack for me.”


“The Red Bull experience has been a positive one but also one with great expectations. Being able to work with David Bowie’s producer is cited a major plus for Ale. But this is far from a working vacation. “We wake up and go to lectures then have studio time with our ideas.” Ale added “It’s been great. But there are deadlines. If you have an hour, then you will work the entire hour. If you have an evening only, you will not sleep until you finish. You have to make it happen.”

It’s been an interesting journey for Ale Hop with many odd stopovers along the way. One of the experiences Ale Hop recalls was a gig that she and her band secured at a marathon in Lima, Peru. Ale tells the story. “It was to be a two hour set, but we didn’t have enough material for two hours. But the organizers explained that since the runners would pass only once, it would not be noticed. We played it four times while the producers screamed to stop it.”

Astroboyz, who was a fan of the Japanese cartoon Astroboy, is a product of a mixed musical culture that is Spain. “I like it also because my music is like different personalities of myself. My music is taken from a variety of styles and that became Astroboyz.


His set is simple but complicated in its results. The thumping combinations vibrate from head to toe, resulting in a lot of head banging in the audience. “I only use my laptop and controllers. I hope in the future to buy some machines. I want to play without my laptop and with only my machines alone.” It doesn’t stop him from using what he has to experiment. “I am always looking for something new in styles or things. I take from things and see what happens. I mix so many styles in my music.”

He also is a full supporter of the Red Bull Academy and what they have done for artists such as himself. “It’s like a dream. All of us we are music lovers, we do music all the time. They give to use some rooms with all the stuff necessary to make music and the lectures are often done by people who we are fans of.”

The song that Astroboyz mentioned that was a good indication of what he is all about is contained in the song “Pianobatacazoo.” Though he can’t quite pinpoint exactly why, he knows what it represents as a definition of his art. “I want to follow the path of that song. That song is Astroboyz. It contains many styles and says it. I want to be free, I want to be young. I want to be me.”

For upcoming Red Bull Events and Photos visit:





Mariachi Gringo is a hit independent musical film from director Tom Gustafson, and writer, Cory KrueckebergMariachi Gringo features an all-star cast that includes Lila Downs, Shawn Ashmore and Martha Higareda. The film opened theatrically throughout the country on March 15 and is now playing exclusively in New York City, Houston, Fort Worth, Phoenix and Denver.

Mariachi Gringo was one of the amazing Latino films we saw an advance screening for at the Dallas International Film Festival, the film had a successful run and great reviews from audiences. The film also had a screening at the Guadalajara International Film Festival where the film won awards for ‘Best Feature Film’ and ‘Best Actress’ (Martha Higareda). The director, Tom Gustafson, spoke with us about making the film, you can see our exclusive interview below.

 SynopsisA stifled, small-town man stuck in a dead end life, runs away to Mexico to be a mariachi singer. MARIACHI GRINGO is a musical tour-de-force exploring the reality of “following your dreams” across cultural, personal, social and geographical borders.


“Paloma Negra”
On the outskirts of Guadalajara, Sophia (Lila Downs) and Edward (Shawn Ashmore) perform ‘Paloma Negra’ in
MARIACHI GRINGO. Director: Tom Gustafson. Photo courtesy of Sin Sentido Films / SPEAKproductions.



Jackson Heights Cinema
40-31 82nd Street, Jackson Heights, NY 11373

Ticket Prices: Adult: $10.00 | Senior: $10.00 | Child: $7.00

Mon., 3/18: 12:30, 4:30, 6:00, 8:00, 10:00
Tue., 3/19: 12:30, 4:30, 6:00, 8:00, 10:00
Wed., 3/20: 12:30, 4:30, 6:00, 8:00, 10:00
Thu., 3/21: 12:30, 4:30, 6:00, 8:00, 10:00

For showtimes in Texas, Arizona, and Colorado visit Cinema Latino.

Official Trailer:

Watch the interview with Tom Gustafson:
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Leslie Grace interview

Exclusive Interview with Leslie Grace

Leslie Grace interview

Leslie Grace sat down with us to chat about her new album that will be released next month. She also talked about how she became the music sensation that she is today or the “Princess of Bachata” as some call her.  At the young age of 18, she has already begun traveling with her music and gaining the love from fans worldwide. Leslie’s anticipated new album will launch February 2013 and we’re very excited to hear new music from this young singer.

At the age of 17 Leslie Grace became the youngest woman to top Latin Airplay charts according to Billboard. She is already making headlines which says a lot about her potential super-stardom. She is signed to Top Stop Music and produced by Sergio George who has worked with top Latin artists like Marc Anthony, India, Jerry Rivera and Prince Royce to name a few. Leslie Grace charms you with her charisma and lovely voice in her spanglish interpretation of  “Will you still Love me tomorrow” by The Shirelles which now has over 3 million views on youtube.
Leslie Grace

Our interview with Leslie Grace:

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Cristion D'or Interview

Exclusive Interview with Cristion D’or

Cristion D'or Interview

We had the opportunity to speak to Dominican Artist Cristion D’or of Draft Pickz Entertainment. He discussed how he started his career in Hip Hop, what drives him in the entertainment business, as well as how he got his name. Check it out and spread the word out about this talented Latino.


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You can download the free mixtape here or listen below:


Los Claxons - Interview by Danny Luna

Interview with Grammy-Nominated band LOS CLAXONS

Los Claxons - Interview by Danny Luna

Los Claxons have wrapped up their “Viviendo El Sueño” tour and will be heading to the states for the Latin Grammy Awards in Las Vegas, NV. Los Claxons are nominated for best Rock/Pop album for their fourth studio album, Camino a Encontrarte. This would be the second time Los Claxons are nominees for a Latin Grammy Award. Camino a Encontrarte is co-produced by Balta Hinojosa and recorded and mixed by 6 time Grammy award winner, Javier Garza.

The XIII Annual Latin GRAMMY Awards will take place at Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas on Thursday, Nov. 15, and will air live in the United States on the Univision Network from 8–11 p.m. ET/PT (7 p.m. Central).

The band originates from Monterrey, Mexico, and have had great success in their country, where they are #1 in the charts of iTunes Mexico.

Camino a Encontrarte - Los Claxons

In this interview we speak to Pablo Gonzalez Sarre (bass and guitar) of Los Claxons as he talks about the band’s future plans.

Listen to the Interview:

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Watch video for “Ahí Estaré”:

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Artur Balder Interview

Interview with Artur Balder, director of Little Spain

"Artur Balder on a rooftop on 14th Street in front of the building of La Nacional" ©Meatpacking Productions

Artur Balder, director of the yet to be released documentary Little Spain, granted us this exclusive interview.

How was the idea to make Little Spain born?

I came to NYC with a student visa for the Herbet Berghof Studio. I lived at 100th st. and Broadway, took the subway everyday and got off at 14th st. and 8th avenue. I would walk west to the Meatpacking District, and once there turn South to Bank st. to get to HB Studio. I had to take that route everyday, and took notice of the Spanish and U.S. flags together in an old building. One day I went inside and met Robert Sanfiz, who was at that moment the secretary of the Spanish Center, and he told me the story about the building and the Spanish immigration in the west side of Chelsea. In that moment, I realized that it would be really interesting to make a documentary that would collect historically relevant testimonies, interviews and old photographs that would show that story.

Did you find things that you didn’t expect at all?

Once Robert Sanfiz got the permit from the manager of the building to allow me to live in apartment #1 of the building on 14th street for one year, I spent that time researching. Some people interviewed in the documentary were merchant marines that arrived to NYC in the 60´s and settled in Chelsea, when in that moment a Spanish community was flourishing. In most of the cases it was people who came fleeing Franco´s Dictatorship.

How did Spanish people living in NYC 60 years ago treat each other?

They were, in many ways, much more supportive than the Spanish of today. They could further support each other, which is no longer true today. They thrived in small communities, that were like a composition of Spain disseminated in Manhattan. The flavors and sounds, dances, were more often evoked, treated like cultural roots and a love to the lost land, and not as a product of exportation.

How did they change through the years?

These generations have changed, and, at least in regard to the Spanish concentration on West 14th Street, replaced by immigrants from Central America, the Caribbean and South America. Back in the 90s the Spanish community was almost extinct. I believe that the new Spanish emigrants of today have lost a port of entry in a major city like New York.

Have you been able to meet some of the people who you found in the files of La National?

We received emails asking about relatives who lived in the area, but the real mission of the documentary was to document the history of an immigrant community, exposing its ups and downs, not specific people.

La Nacional -  Law Offices Robert Sanfiz

“The Law Offices of Robert Sanfiz, the lawyer who rescued La Nacional in
early 2000s. It is one of the few Spanish businesses still open on the
sidewalks of former Little Spain. The flags of La Nacional can be seen in
background.” ©Meatpacking Productions


What is the funniest thing that you found? And the saddest?

I don´t remember anything particularly funny, I found the documentary something rather serious. The saddest thing was seeing how some people tried to pressure Robert Sanfiz to appear in the documentary themselves for their own personal gain. These were characters that were not relevant documentary or testimonials whatsoever, as the current manager of the restaurant called “La National”, on the ground floor of 239 West 14th Street. The Spanish Center survived mainly by renting this place to the restaurateur called Lolo Manso. Therefore, when he heard about the documentary, Lolo contacted me for an interview, and pressured others to do so. I´m glad that I stayed true to the original idea of the documentary, and I never gave in to this kind of pressure. For this and other reasons I consider that my work will stand the test of time, indeed, because it’s based on history and old photos acquired by the producer that haven’t been seen anywhere else. I think that this will be an indispensable part of the history of Spanish immigration and history of New York, a city made of migrants. Another sad moment came when we wanted to interview James Fernandez, a researcher who was very close to the Spanish consulate in NY. It was surprising to find that Mr. Fernandez had no interest in participating in the documentary, and then I realized that most of the scholars interested in this story only worked for his personal glory, leaving the common interest in history in the background. Finally, I realized that emotions narrated in first person were of greater value than studies made in offices at the King Juan Carlos Center…

Did you find any support in the Spanish institutions?

The Spanish Center supported the project, thanks especially to the good sense and overview of Robert Sanfiz, who arbitrated with the board to allow me go into the archive of 239 w 14th st, and for allowing me to live in the building. And the importance of rescuing these historical memories was especially appreciated by American institutions. The Spanish Center is an American institution, not Spanish. Spanish institutions, however, have always remained indifferent to the history of Spain, which does not impress me given the current sociopolitical situation of my country. At that time, Fernando Villalonga was the General Consul of the Kingdom of Spain in New York, and was interviewed about immigration for my project. Now Fernando Villalonga is responsible for the culture area of the municipality of Madrid. After proposing an exhibition to him with the files posted in the documentary, especially the part which was acquired from private collections during my research, Villalonga’s office contacted me personally to tell me that “Don Fernando didn´t want to feel connected with New York in this new period of his career”. I never understood what they meant with that phrase, but Spanish people lost a great opportunity to take a look at this account of Spanish emigration, that involved everybody, Catalans, Galician or Valencian.

What about support from Spanish government here in NYC or in Spain?

Something similar happened with the consul for cultural affairs in New York. Inigo Ramirez de Haro, I had a meeting with him after which neither him nor the offices that depend on it, theoretically dedicated to the Spanish culture in the U.S., made contact with us. Yes, I know that Ramirez de Haro proudly displayed promoting the saga “Torrente” in Tribeca theaters in NY. For this kind of movies they lay hold of public money. I like Santiago Segura and he deserves my professional respect, of course, but here the question is what are the priorities of a culture consulate. Tension exists because many people want to see the documentary about Little Spain, while their managers feel abandoned by the Spanish authorities in New York. I guess it’s a reflection of Spanish politics, but I understand and respect the point of view of producers, who have not received any funding except that of private sources to carry out a project that clearly deserves attention from the Spanish authorities. Spanish institutions in NY and USA are more concerned with creating brand, basically, to protect big business interests, but it has no interest on historical memory and genuine culture.

What about the issue of the documentary in Spanish TV?

That’s another interesting point: RTVE, television and national radio in Spain, has no budget in the last years. Naomi de Cabo, responsible for acquisitions of documentaries for the public TV, has said repeatedly that she wants to issue Little Spain, but the current circumstances don´t allow it. The Spanish audience is now more vulnerable than ever about cultural issues. It doesn’t matter what the audience wants to see, whether photos or documentaries, the responsible people for this effect, politicians and senior officials, have other interests. And the subject of historical memory in Spain is problematic. Most of the protagonists of Chelsea’s Little Spain in the 50s were Republicans in exile.

How did you feel living a whole year in La National?

It was an unforgettable experience. Robert Sanfiz is a charming person who really wanted the Spanish people in New York more united. He found many bumps in the road, but he gave a lesson on morals and integrity defending our project at all times, he also appears as one of the interviewed. Moreover, it´s true that this corner of Manhattan has a special flavor, although it has almost lost the scenario. In the times in which I resided there, the building still was old and had a special aura that has now been extinguished with successive and necessary reforms. Similarly, the old press kiosk on the southeast corner, intersection of 14th Street and 8th Avenue, was still the original. A few weeks ago I saw that they had already replaced it with a brand new stainless steel one that completely alters the urban landscape. I’m glad I recorded these details before they disappeared. I think the documentary has been able to capture that environment.

Did it have any influence in your personality or your subsequent work?

It’s a great project, I feel lucky to have led the two documentaries that form the series. I think it was important on a professional level but also on a personal level. Everything is a reflexion about “the Spanish”, with their dark sides and light sides, and that teaches you to know yourself. It’s a shame that the Spanish idiosyncrasy has a strong tendency of disunity and Particracy.

Do you have distribution for your film? Can we see it soon somewhere?

That is something the producers should answer, they are the owners of the documentary. But for now I don’t know anything about an upcoming première primarily due to the tensions between the producers and the Spanish institutions in NY.

For more information visit:

Francisco Reyes Interview - Latin Recap

Interview: Francisco Reyes of HBO Series PRÓFUGOS

Francisco Reyes Interview - Latin Recap

Chilean actor Francisco Reyes plays Óscar Salamanca, a drug trafficker transporting cocaine between Bolivia and Chile, in HBO’s new spanish-language series Prófugos (“Fugitives”). Óscar Salamanca becomes involved in a drug trafficking operation with the illusion of securing a future for his daughter Irma. This 13 episode original series is the first that HBO has produced in Chile with an all star Chilean cast. Among the actors we are treated to the familiar faces of Benjamín VicuñaNéstor CantillanaLuis Gnecco, and Claudia Di Girólamo. The first season of the series, originally aired in Chile on HBO Latinoamérica last year.  Award-winning Chilean director and producer Pablo Larrain and Venezuelan director Jonathan Jakubowicz directed the first season of Prófugos that will debut today in North America for the first time.

Prófugos premieres tonight at 10PM/9C Monday to Friday on HBO Latino.

Synopsis: PRÓFUGOS is the story of a failed drug trafficking operation that started on the border between Bolivia and Chile, the four men who met to carry it out and the real actors behind the business. A complex web of ambitions, interests and corruption move the threads of this story, where no one is who they appear to be, everyone hides a past and human wretchedness unites them in the imperious need to flee without knowing who and what they are fleeing from.

Visit for more information.

Watch a special message from Francisico Reyes and make sure you don’t miss this exciting new series tonight on HBO Latino!

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