Energy, mysticism, roots– it’s hard to describe the genre-breaking music of Making Movies, a band that Rolling Stone says is “breaking down walls in the United States,” with a mix of afro-latino rhythms and psychedelic rock’n’roll that makes the group’s sound something unique. The connection between the Chi brothers (hailing from Santiago, Panama)– together with their Mexican bandmates, the Chaurand brothers–results in an overwhelming musical presence that takes you through landscapes festive, furious, refreshing, and dark. At times the falsetto of Diego Chi takes you to the underworld, while the fuzz of Enrique Chi’s guitar anchors his spirited voice in the midst of the Chaurand brothers’ primal and folkloric percussion. An explosion of energy on the stage–does the soundtrack make the movie, or does the movie make for the soundtrack?
In 2017 Art As Mentorship was created by Enrique Chi, born out of six years of collaboration between Making Movies and local non-profits Base Academy of Music and the Mattie Rhodes Center. What began as a week-long music education camp for youth in an undeserved community has grown into a six-month songwriting and mentorship program called the Rebel Song Academy. Students get to record with and learn from industry professionals, like Grammy-winning producer Steve Berlin of Los Lobos who recorded the first class in 2018. The world turned their attention to Making Movies as Rubén Blades, Flor De Toloache, Asdru Sierra, David Hidalgo, Frankie Negrón & Las Cafeteras joined forces with the band on their new album, ameri’kana, which was released in May 2019. The first two singles, “No Te Calles” and “Cómo Perdonar”, were launched along with a movement that invites artists and fans to participate on the website NoTeCalles.World, by joining the chorus with Rubén Blades and Making Movies. The album includes “Delilah”, a song about immigration written during a week-long writing session between Blades and Lou Reed that had never before been recorded. Saying that “Rock’n’roll is Latin music” the band dedicates the album to the beautiful inhabitants of the ameri’kana continent.
I had the privilege of re-connecting with Enrique ahead of the groups return to Madison on June 23rd as part of the Sessions at McPike Park – Pursuit Of Happiness Sessions. After having a chance to hang with this great group of people when they were here last year, I definitely developed a fondness for them as people first and then the music. If you have seen then, you know what I mean. If you haven’t find a place to and go! Enrique and I get into what to expect if you are new to the Making Movies scene, we get into the creation of the new release, ameri’kana and how working with one of their heroes, Mr. Rubén Blades took their stories to a best seller book level. We get a little political, well, we can call it topical in our discussion about how music has opened our minds and eyes but we get back into the music when Enrique rattles off a list of artists/songs he’d spin for the greenarrowradio listeners if he was in the pilot’s seat. This is THE band people should be talking about.