Brakada
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"All In The Family"

Two Winnipeg brothers attempt to overcome tragedy and attain ‘baller status’ with their music in new documentary

by Crystal Laderas (Volunteer)

Sometimes tragedy kills creativity as much as it inspires it, but the arts don’t always pay the bills. Local rappers Mitchell and Michael Francisco (a.k.a. Lasing and Mikal) of Brakada use it to drive their upcoming album, a last effort to make it big in the music industry.

Director Randall Mauricio follows their journey in this documentary, which is playing at Cinematheque this weekend as part of the theatre’s Hip Hop Saved the Day: Three Musical Portraits program, alongside Technology Stole My Vinyl and Life from 95 (The Making of “Live from ‘95”).

Derived from the slang for bro and the Filipino barkada – meaning family and unity – “Brakada” means a lot to these brothers who are back from a hiatus after their mother’s unexpected death.

Experiencing domestic violence as children and raised by a single mother, their setbacks and background-inspired lyrics highlight the film.

Changes within the group include recent additions Tim Short (manager), Lee Roy Jarlega (producer) and Jon Pascual (promotions) who are constants in their rented basement, which has been converted into a recording studio.

The interviews have the group speaking about everything from their not-always-easy lives to what it was like opening for artists like Naughty by Nature and Fatman Scoop. Also included is footage of DJ Jazzy Jeff enjoying their act.

Short, Jarlega, Pascual and the Francisco brothers stress the importance of pursuing your dreams, no matter how risky that may be. Jarlega quit his job working for a major insurer while the Francisco duo both receive professional incomes as an aerospace technician and contractor.

Still, both have big musical ambitions. Even after the Manitoba Film and Sound Board rejected their $8,000 grant they forge ahead in their quest to “make it” – which they define as earning their living by doing what they love and never having to worry about money.
At one point in the film, Mitchell compares this to being a pro athlete.

“That’s baller status,” he says. “They play a sport that they love and they are living through doing what they love. We’re just trying to do it with hip hop.”

Director Randall Mauricio presents not just the making of an album, but the motivation and life experience behind it. - The Uniter: Winnipeg's Weekly Urban Journal


Discography

In 2009 both members of Brakada released their own Mixtape. The Lahcing Mixtape and the Mikal Pacman Mixtape were released.

In 2010 Brakada relased their debut album, 2 Pcs. of ID.

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Bio

BRAKADA. It comes from the word 'barkada.' It's origin is from the dialect Tagalog of the Philippines meaning a group of friends or family. The letter A and R have been switched at the beginning of the word so it reads Bra, which is a short term for brothers. It symbolizes a strong bond which this duo has.

Brakada is comprised of Mikal and Lahcing. The hip hop brother duo hails from Winnipeg Canada and have demonstrated their passion and drive to make an impact on today's hip hop industry.

Their sound is one that is unique and guaranteed to show they are more about substance than flashiness. With beats that are certified head nodders and sharp and smooth lyrics Brakada have showed, proved and have gained the respect and admiration of many fans. It's been well documented that a live Brakada show will leave you wanting more. With their popularity on the rise, the group released two music videos for their tracks “Sittin' at Home” and “Wannabe.” They also released two mixtapes and their debut album in 2010 which is available on Itunes for purchase.

It's no mistake that Brakada hasn't fallen on deaf ears. Their music and presence has allowed them to share the same stage with some hip hops elite. Royce 5'9, Naughty By Nature, Fatman Scoop, Canada's own Classified, DJ Jazzy Jeff, Redman and Method Man to name a few. Mikal and Lahcing have also proven they don't forget those that are less fortunate. Performing for many charitable events such as an “Hip Hop Helps Tsunami Relief Fundraiser.” Crossing over into the United States hasn't been a problem either. They are featured on pstgear.com, a clothing company based out of California.

To pinpoint and say they sound like any other solo artist or group would be highly inaccurate. The two brothers mesh like no other and with each one claiming their own distinct flow, sound and style no other individual and combination would be comparable. They are not the sound of the East, West, South, etc. They are the sound of where they claim home, Winnipeg Canada. Never to be taken lightly, true emcees can come from the cold North.