Ultra Music Festival has become a place where Latino electronic music acts can shine
Latino DJs will sound louder than ever at the 23rd Ultra Music Festival Miami, considered the pinnacle of electronic music festivals with world-renowned DJs, unrivaled production and unparalleled stages at Bayfront Park, from March 24 to 26.
No international DJ wants to miss this event, but only the best play at Ultra, which has established Miami among the world capitals of electronic music.
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“Miami is one of the great centers of the arts and electronic music,” says Brazilian DJ Lukas Rafael Hespanhol Ruiz, known as Vintage Culture, who ranks 11th on DJ Mag’s list of the 100 best electronic music DJs in the world.
“This festival is what we all dream of when we start our careers in music. Miami Ultra is the benchmark for electronic music festivals,” said Vintage Culture in an interview with el Nuevo Herald. His set is one of the most anticipated this year at Ultra.
With over 8 million followers on Instagram and 7.3 million monthly listeners on Spotify, Vintage Culture stands out among Ultra’s all-star participants, alongside celebrities such as David Guetta, Adam Beyer, Cirez D, Afrojack, Alesso, CamelPhat, Charlotte de Witte, Gareth Emery, M.I.A., Marshmello, Michael Bibi, Stephan Bodzin, Tiësto, and Vini Vici.
According to Vintage Culture, Ultra is one of the best festivals on the planet due to “a combination of factors that only happen here. To have the audience dancing and singing along to songs produced by the best talent in the world, state-of-the-art sound and lighting combined with one of the most beautiful cities in the world, with unique shows so close to the ocean, is a stunning visual image, especially at sunset.”
Mexican-American DJ and producer Erick Orrosquieta, known on stage as Deorro, says Ultra Miami is “the center of the electronic world. When you’re at Ultra in Miami, the level of the artist always grows.”
Deorro has 7.7 million monthly Spotify listeners and just released “Discoteca (Decorro Remix)” featuring IAmChino and Pitbull, and a four-track EP “Reflect,” which he will play at his debut at Ultra. “A dream come true,” he confessed to el Nuevo Herald.
Deorro’s show promises surprises, with the collaboration of Lenny Tavárez and, perhaps, Elvis Crespo, he says. “I like to let myself be carried away by people and improvise. There will be songs from the new album, which are the old sounds recreated with the current ones,” he announced.
Miami Ultra: From European and American DJs to Latinos
Miami has played an important role in the international rise in electronic music over the past 10 years.
Miami duo Afrobeta, made up of Cuban-Americans “Cuci” Amador, lyricist and vocalist, and producer/arranger Tony Smurphio, have participated in the Ultra Music Festival in Miami since 2009.
Their unique synth sound makes Afrobeta’s show a perennial favorite. Every year they perform on the Live Stage, where producers team up with bands that play instruments.
“On this stage we have seen Duran Duran, The Cure or The Killers, pioneers of electronic music,” says Amador.
Afrobeta, who has also participated in the South Korea and Latin American editions of Ultra, will present two new songs with a Miami flavor, one with the local band Anemoia and another with the Brazilian percussion group Miamibloco.
Although there are more European and American DJs at Ultra in Miami, Ultra’s South American festivals are inspiring a new generation of talent, Smurphio asserts. “It’s interesting to see how in the Ultra of Argentina and Brazil you can find more local DJs and electronic music bands.”
“Miami Ultra gives new artists the opportunity to perform on the same stage as the most important established artists in electronic music. It develops the talent,” emphasizes DJ Vintage Culture.
Although it is not easy to get booked for Ultra in Miami, every year more Latin DJs participate. “More opportunities like this are needed to recognize the Latin sound with different genres, especially in electronic music because we have many different sounds to offer,” reflects Deorro.
Other acclaimed DJs set to perform at Ultra are Cuban-American Eric Estornel, artistically known as Maceo Plex; Mexican DJ and producer Hector Murillo, one of the most respected names in the underground scene due to his hypnotic rhythms, as well as the ANG duo, made up of Mexicans Arturo Kahan and Gabriel Haber.
It is important to have more Latino DJs at Ultra in Miami, says Amador of Afrobeta, because “we need to represent Miami culture more with electronic music.”
How do Latinos succeed in electronic music?
Although Ultra’s audience is international, “the Spanish language is being heard more and more in electronic music and it is also growing in Ultra,” points out Amador.
Vintage Culture says that Latino DJs’ success is due to the unique sounds and influences from Brazil combined with the influence of European and American artists. “I was certainly exposed to different musical sound textures while growing up. This gives Latin American electronic artists a sound that is all their own. We must embrace these small differences and use them to our advantage,” he says.
DJ Deorro considers that “the sound of the Latin DJ varies depending on the country: Colombia, Venezuela, Argentina, Mexico. Now different rhythms such as cumbia are being incorporated into electronic music and here we make a difference.”
Among the new Latin musical elements is cumbia tonge, which is like an electronic reggaeton, Colombian cumbia, and Venezuelan folk music mixed with electronic music.
Electronic music tourism grows in Miami
With Ultra, electronic music tourism grows.
Thanks in part to this festival, there are famous Miami nightclubs such as Space, LIV, Story, E11even, Centro Wynwood, Treehouse, Mad Club, Mynt Lounge, The Ground and Hyde Lounge, where many of the Latino DJs that participate in the musical festival perform.
“The Miami public likes to dance and this is essential for electronic music. Miami will always be a place where electronic music will grow as a genre because it will merge with all the cultures that come here,” said Amador.
New sounds are tested out in Miami to see what gets the crowds dancing, then those sets end up in other parts of the world such as Ibiza, the mecca of electronic music, affirmed several of the DJs interviewed by el Nuevo Herald.
“Ibiza is the capital of electronic music during the spring and summer season, but Miami is all year long,” points out Amador.
“Miami’s influence is felt around the world. I play music that fans know and love, but I will definitely be trying out new songs or playing exclusive tracks for my Miami fans,” says Vintage Culture. “Performing at Ultra Music Festival Miami gives me an inspiration that lasts all year.”