¡Esso! Afrojam Funkbeat
Cultural consciousness, unity and celebratory dance are the ideals behind multicultural musical outfit ¡ESSO! Afrojam Funkbeat. The Chicago based ensemble perform a unique interfusion of Afro-Latin inspired compositions and jams. Influenced by the global troubadours and subversive thinkers of an emerging counterculture in the 70s and 80s, the band pays homage to the traditional and progressive while taking their own step forward.
The rustic rhythms of Fela spiced with the textures of Fania blend with an improvisational ritual resembling the Funk Brothers; all from the streets that birthed house music. ¡ESSO! has experimental roots with live musicians setting the stage for soul singers, “coro” group singing, and poetic emcees. This platform has cemented into a diverse group finding an outlet at global street festivals and venues with an impassioned heart on its studied sleeve.
Born and raised in Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood David Chavez (DJ Sound Culture) has always had a great affinity for world cultures and deep music. His passion for both has to a large extent laid the path in front of him for most of his life. In the DJ booth Sound Culture is a cultural chemist of sorts, exploring the world’s sounds and finding the threads that tie us all together globally. From Bhangra to Balkan Beat, African Soukous to Latin House, he knows how to navigate your auditory senses. His live mixes are both dynamic and seamlessly cohesive and whether you’re a world music enthusiast or dance floor regular, he keeps things interesting.
FEX co-founder & resident, DJ Newlife was born and bred in Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood. As the son of a musician/vocalist and an artist, he has always been described as someone who never fell into the modes of traditional thought. This carries over into his diverse brand of music and the styles of beats that just seem to choose themselves while he’s on the decks. Chicago’s FEX party has hosted global-minded luminaries such as Maga Bo, Daniel Haaksman, Mexicans with Guns, Chief Boima, Rich Medina, Lefto, Bobbito Garcia, Boogat, and Jeremy Sole, so you can be sure to experience an eclectic and technically sound mix anytime Newlife is on the decks.
(The Ponderers, Enchufate)
Angelfuk is one half of DJ duo The Ponderers, which began as a musical challenge for two Chicago music enthusiasts who were once given the task of providing an all day music set composed solely of female-fronted artists for a one day women’s empowerment-themed festival. Taking on the challenge and then some, members Stephanie Manriquez and Sandra Trevino (Angelfuk) have pushed forward in their writing and with collective DJ sets (and radio hosting in Sandra’s case) to feature female-fronted & Latin-alternative music. Using their talents to help others, The Ponderers are passionate about artists who they feel, at some point in time whether through lyrics, a video or a beat, have supported them.
caliXta DJs and VJs as an independent freelancer and as part of Chicago’s CumbiaSazo crew. Since 2012, caliXta has been honing her craft and realizing a vision of creating respectful and healing dancefloors. Although originally from Chicago, a lot of her formation & scheming around liberation and revolutionary partying started in DC from kickbacks with friends and the Maracuyeah & Anthology of Booty queer femme parties. Upon returning to Chicago in 2011, she felt like similar soul-elevating club spaces with beautiful and enriching music weren’t common and set out to co-found dále shine to help create a scene for a deep & nuanced variety of digital Latinx music. In 2013, she joined the CumbiaSazo crew and found kindred spirits with which she could continue building communal spaces through art and music. Along her journey as an artist, caliXta has been fortunate to work with many talented artists, collectives, and organizations who continue to shape her visions and dreams.
A Chicago native now based in Brooklyn, DJ Beto is known across New York City and beyond for his signature blend of Future Dancehall with Dembow in-between Trini-Soca, Kuduro, Cumbia Sonidera and more. No throw-backs or middle of the road crowd-pleasers, DJ Beto pushes for the newest in mash-up’s, remixes, and progressive sounds from across the globe, creating a party that is as diverse and hybrid as its music.
Beto is one-half of the Brooklyn-based DJ duo iBomba with partner DJ Ushka, dubbed “NYC’s best underground Latin party” by Timeout New York, iBomba has spun collectively and individually at Brooklyn Museum, Le Poisson Rouge, S.O.B’s, BB Kings NYC, Tammany Hall, The Shrine and La Respuesta shared stages with Bomba Estero, Ozomatli, Los Amigos Invisibles, Zuzuka Poderosa, Los Rakas, Venus X, DJ/ Rupture, Q-tip and Tony Touch and has been profiled on Remezcla Mix-Fix.
Angel Barrera aka DJ Era District was born and raised in Mexico City before migrating to Chicago at age 15. In his words, “I consider myself a bi-cultural person in process of becoming multicultural- seeing the beauty of every and each culture with no prejudices.” Era District lives in Logan Square with his wife and son and developed a love for music 13 years ago. He continues to this day mixing mainly house music but also Cumbia, Reggaeton, Afrobeat and more in a hybrid style focusing on certain styles or mixing a cocktail of multiple genres.
Logan Lu is a veteran MC (Master of Ceremonies) and accomplished poet who has hosted events throughout Chicago and the United States. His energetic flow of words, social commentary, and years of experience donning the mic is the perfect combination that makes him an excellent MC. He has hosted events for Calle 13, Ana Tijoux, and Saul Williams and is currently the resident MC & hostpoet at CumbiaSazo.
Itzi Nallah x Tifflove
Itzi Nallah and Tifflove are the co-founders of CumbiaSazo, Chicago’s largest and one of the US’ most expansive cumbia + global bass parties. Together they aim to support dance spaces & communities that are diverse & compassionate and as a DJ and MC offer performances that are life-affirming and fun. Itzi Nallah has worked previously with FEX, Sonic Diaspora and Peoples DJs Collective and a recent tour with CumbiaSazo saw Itzi Nallah, Tifflove + crewmate caliXta work dance floors throughout the midwest, southwest & west coast. Show highlights include creating spaces and sharing stages with acts ranging from Ozomatli, Rich Medina, Nickodemus and A Tribe Called Red to Pete Rock, Javier Estrada, El Dusty and Haitus Kaiyote. Itzi + Tifflove are joined by caliXta on live visuals and El Timbales on percussion to form CumbiaSazo’s live set.