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"Swiss D'n'B Producer Wins Sony Acid Contest to Remix Local Ska-Fusion Act Araka"

Local band six-piece Araka cribs its name from a piece of Spanish slang that means "Watch out!" With billing like that, the music had better be suitably in-your-face. Luckily, Araka delivers, although not the aggressive attitude the name might imply. Rather, the multiculti act commands attention with a bright, brassy sound that touches on enough different cultures to offer a little piece of something for almost everyone in a Miami audience.

Though the act bills its particular flavor as "reskalsa fusion," the "s-k-a" part is the most important there. Araka's sound hinges heavily on ska -- especially its late-'90s, global-beat iterations à la King Chango. Still, with a musical lineage out of the local Transit Lounge-Jazid scene axis, that comes swirled in heavy dollops of Latin sounds and more straightforward reggae. There was probably no avoiding that kind of fusion, considering the members include a Cuban, a Peruvian, an Argentine, and even a lone gringito who gets down.

Araka's been recording in the Design District studio of Aaron Fishbein, a local producing, engineering, songwriting, and guitar whiz who's worked with acts like Beyonce, Christina Aguilera, and even the Notorious B.I.G. Thanks to his industry connections, Sony approached Fishbein and the band with the offer of a remix contest for producers using Sony Acid.

Araka released its uptempo track "Oscuridad" to the world through Sony's Acid Planet web site, and a global cross-section of knob-twiddlers responded in kind. Remixers turned the track into everything from house to dubstep to jungle. But the winner was Swiss producer Yumenomado, who turned the song into a slab of atmospheric drum 'n' bass.

"The reaction from the Acid community was really cool," says Fishbein. "I loved hearing the different versions every day and seeing their reactions on the forum boards. Hooking up with Yumenomado was a bonus. He's supertalented and we will be releasing his version alongside some better-known remixers."

Until Araka's studio album drops, though, you can score Yumenomado's remix for free. Stream the original version of "Oscuridad" first below, then check out the changes in the downloadable MP3. - Miami New Times

"Araka Gets Down With the Get Down, At Bougie's Tomorrow"

Stop me if you've heard this one before. A Peruvian, two Cubans, an Argentine, a kid from Bean Town and a guy from the Heartland walk into a bar. Okay, it's not actually a joke, but you've got to admit there's crazy potential right there in the setup.

Instead of comedic value, this recipe actually yielded something much more entertaining -- a Latin reggae fusion group called Araka. The Peruvian in question is bassist/vocalist Bruno Mendez. The Cubans, vocalist Vivian Fernandez and guitarist Mikey Campillo. The Argentine is drummer Numa Fernandez, the Bostonian is trombonist Greg Genova and the guy from the undisclosed locale of the Midwest is Chris Richards on trumpet.

The band cites influences ranging from Sublime to Hector Lavoe, Hendrix to Los Fabulosos Cadillacs, and KRS1 to Willie Colon. It's not just a laundry list of performers they dig. You can actually hear diverse and far-reaching influences converging at this one central point now known as Araka, as blistering guitar licks meet laid back reggae grooves before taking off on flight in a hopped up skankfest worthy of the most severely tweaked then going to some swinging salsa. It's all there, somehow colliding in perfect harmony.

Check them out for yourself at Bougie's tomorrow, and enjoy the Red Stripe special while you're there. Hooray $4 beer!

Araka performs at Bougainvillea's Old Florida Tavern (7221 SW 58th Ave) on Tuesday, September 9 at 9pm. No cover at the Boug's people. - Miami New Times

"Local Miami band, Araka, gets remixed"

Miami's very own, Araka (which is slang for "Watch Out!" in Spanish), is made up of a very talented group of musicians hailng from Peru to the States. They have been taking Florida by storm with their creative mixture of reggae, ska and Latin grooves (does that sound fun or what?) and just recently participated in a contest hosted by Sony's Acid music creation software. Users of the Sony software were asked to produce their best remix of the band's song, Oscuridad, in the style of their choosing.

The band was impressed with the results, varying from house to jazzy jungle, but ultimately decided on the dreamy drum and bass track submitted by Swiss re-mixer, Yumenomado, who Araka producer, Aaron Fishbein, described as "super talented."

Interested in what made this remix so special? Feel free to download it here.

Do you like what you hear?

Araka will be playing next at South Beach's Tapas & Tintos this Friday, 1/14, at 10pm.

Check 'em out for yourself! -

"Band of the hour: Araka"

Spanish slang for "watch out!," no moniker could be more perfect for Araka, a local band shaking up the music scene. Joining forces for an impromptu jam session at Jazid over a year ago ended in an explosion of guitar riffs and had everyone in the lounge wondering, "just who are these guys?" Luckily for us, they came together every Tuesday after that and eventually decided to unify and start writing music.

Araka consists of four larger-than-life musicians from diverse backgrounds. Michael Campillo, otherwise known as Mikey, is the bands' high-energy guitarist hailing from Cuba and gets his inspiration from Jimi Hendrix. Eddie Perdomo, the drummer from the Dominican Republic, incorporates his passion for heavy metal and reggae into every song. Bruno Mendez, singer and bassist of Peruvian descent and lover all of Latin music including salsa and merengue, adds a touch of sabor to the outfit. Chris Richards, the newest member of the group, rounds things out on horns.

Fusion defines Araka's music style. The foursome effortlessly melds Latin rhythms, funk, ska, reggae and rock. Finding inspiration in artists like Sublime, Cultura Profetica, Hector Lavoe and Los Fabulosos Cadillacs, this band embraces their different musical roots in order to fuse their sound in the creation of a unique Latin reggae groove. "Our fans are people that love to enjoy music -- they jump, dance and enjoy," said vocalist Bruno Mendez. Nothing is more rewarding to the band than to see their fans close their eyes and sing along with them during a performance, which is happening more and more often as word gets out about their skills.

Performing in both English and Spanish every Tuesday night at Jazid, Araka presents lyrics that paint a picture of what happens in their everyday lives. In "Bye Bye Baby" we follow a story about coming to grips with a breakup, and in "Oscuridad" audiences enjoy infectious reggae beats blended with lyrics in Spanish. Amidst a busy gig schedule in South Florida, Araka is also currently laying down tracks in the studio. Keep your eyes peeled for their first album, to be released in December 2008.

Araka performs 11 p.m. Saturday, June 21st, at Jazid, 1342 Washington Ave, Miami Beach.

Published: 6/08 - Miami Herald's website


¡Muèvelo! (LP)
Araka (EP)



Based in south Florida, ARAKA has impressed their audiences with blistering hot live shows that showcase the band’s unique sound, while also paying tribute to legends of Latin-influenced music such as Santana, Sublime, Los Fabulosos Cadillacs, and countless others while also melding American influences of rock, blues, and funk with World sounds of reggae and ska . Each member brings something different to the table with their diverse cultural backgrounds. These musicians from Peru, Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the US combine together to give Araka a flavor appealing to a broad audience with songs containing both Spanish and English lyrics, capturing the essence of Miami. Araka has been tearing up the Latin scene in south Florida and has had recent breakout performances at the Fillmore Miami Beach, American Airlines Arena, and festivals in the southeast USA. Araka is: Bruno Mendez (bass, lead vocals), Mikey Campillo (guitar), Chris Richards (trumpet, vocals), Greg Genova (trombone, vocals), Brad Draper (drums), and Phil “Cachi” Velez (percussion).