June 27 at 4:00pm
June 28 at 5:30pm
June 29 at 1:30pm
The Uplands, South Street Seaport


Co-presented by Isabel Soffer/Live Sounds

From an accordion fronted Tex-Mex punk-band to socially conscious Haitian songs and from ambient folk and electronica to the New York debut of the king of Colombian vallenato and cumbia, this Caribbean and Latin America festival travels the crossroads, the blurs and the beats of traditional and contemporary sounds from around the world and around the corner.

Fronteras series curator Isabel Soffer of Live Sounds, has been at the forefront of the global music scene in the US since its formative years. Enthralled by music that is deeply based in tradition but moves in innovative directions, she seeks border-crossing artists that stay true to their roots. The groups in Fronteras each connect to a magical space where modern and older-styles collide in surprising, often danceable ways.

Friday night highlights experimental groups that explore musical boundaries: 

This punk rock-y-roll band Piñata Protest makes their New York debut this season. Piñata Protest is a bilingual accordion-fronted quartet, who is committed to the notion that old school punk rock and old-school Latin border music can be fused into something modern and loud. Their sound has been dubbed “amphetamine norteño” and “ranchero punk” and they’ve been described as Selena meets Slayer, and an intoxicating border mash up of The Ramones and Ramon Ayala with songs that target the adversities and emptiness of modern life with dead-eyed aim.

Based in Amsterdam, Caribbean Carnival revelers Kuenta i Tambu (KiT) are a riot of beats and rhythms who’ve transformed the traditional tambú music of Curaçao into the 21st-century phenomenon of Tambutronic or global bass. A wild and colorful explosion of energy, the band has cleverly found a balance between electronic sound samples, song, chant, and the infectious rhythms played by ritual tambú drums. The name Kuenta i Tambu translates to “stories and drums” from Papiamentu, which is the native language of the Dutch Caribbean islands Curaçao, Aruba, and Bonaire.

Helado Negro, one of many musical projects of Roberto Carlos Lange, is an ethereal electronica project that reflects 21st-century Latin America. Pounding bass beats from passing cars, boom boxes bouncing down the block, late-night parties and the rich sounds and colors of the various Latino cultures of Southern Florida where he was born provides a foundation for Lange’s interest in sound. The atmospheric haze and low-tempo beats set the backdrop beautifully for Helado Negro’s dreamy echoed vocals.

The moody, intensely personal pop songs of multi-instrumentalist/songwriters Sandra Lilia Velásquez and Sean Dixon’s new project SLV have a subtle electronic edge. Velasquez is the founder of the acclaimed Latin band Pistolera, which released three studio albums and toured extensively in the USA and abroad. Sean Dixon is the drummer for the experimental electronic band Zammuto. Together the pair recorded the SLV debut EP Dig Deeper, produced by ten-time Grammy nominee and legendary bassist Meshell Ndegeocello, who plays bass on three of the songs and co-wrote one.

From the early days of Giant Step, to today’s Turntables on the Hudson parties, Nickodemus has been a key element in the NYC dance music scene for over 10 years. As a DJ and producer, he explores the intersection of Urban and World Music with sounds of Funk, Folk, Jazz, Hip Hop, House, and Dub — all with a message of peace, awareness and love for the dance. 

Photo Credit: William Farrington 


Listen to R2R Fronteras Sampler




Free – No RSVP required

This program is supported as part of the Dutch Culture USA program by the Consulate General of the Netherlands in New York.