When the eight members of the mostly Colombian band M.A.K.U. Soundsystem get together to perform, the energy is infectious. From the percussion to the synth and horns, it’s more of a party than a performance. The band will be playing Make Music New York for the second time this year and couldn’t be more excited to take their music to the streets. We catch up with vocalist Liliana Conde to get the scoop.
How did everyone in the band meet each other?
The majority of people in the band met through a series of Colombian and traditional percussion workshops that were taught at Teraza 7 Train Café, this really cool cultural spot in Jackson Heights. And I met everyone through a friend I went to high school with, Felipe Quiroz, who plays synth in the band.
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Is everyone in the band Colombian?
Most of the people are, except for the two people in the horn section. Our trombone player is from Georgia and our sax and clarinet player is from the Bronx.
You guys played Make Music New York a couple years ago. What was it like?
It was amazing. We playedat Joe's Pub and also near Astor Place. Traffic was closed off and there was a stage in the middle of the block. It was really, really fun just being able to bring music to the streets, which is what we love to do.
Obviously the draw for concert-goers is that they get to see music for free. What do you get out of the festival?
There are so many aspects of it that are exciting. I love the community-building. First, we get to create our own community within the band itself. We’ve created this family around music and it’s really exciting bringing this music with a positive message to people. But we also get to meet and play with a lot of other musicians we admire, which is really cool.
It seems like the New York music community is really supportive of each other.
Yes! You get into situations sometimes where somebody is missing a pedal or somebody needs an extra cymbal stand, and in these moments people just come together to make the music happen. Someone will be like, “here, borrow, my instruments.” So that’s really cool to see.
M.A.K.U. Soundsystem will be performing for free Sunday, June 21 at 4 p.m. at CAVE home of LEIMAY in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
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