During a week when music enthusiasts from around the globe have gathered in Miami for cutting-edge electronic sounds, WPBT will remind them what the city really sounds like.
The documentary “Miami Boheme: An American Musical Journey,” premiering on the PBS channel at 9 p.m Thursday, is an energetic profile of the scene that unleashed the exuberant cultural mash-up of Latin, Caribbean, hip-hop, rock and jazz that makes the city unique. After its premiere, “Miami Boheme” is scheduled to air on PBS stations across the country.
Amid a kaleidoscope of the city’s sexy style and traditions (food, drink, cigars), the film, directed by Joe Cardona and Ralf Gonzalez, offers performances and interviews with members of the Spam Allstars, Palo!, Suenalo, Locos Por Juana, Afrobeta and Elastic Bond. Palo! founder Steve Roitstein, also a composer, producer and associate professor of music business at Miami Dade College, co-wrote and narrates the 60-minute film.
Andrew Yeomanson, a.k.a. DJ Le Spam of the Spam Allstars, was raised in Toronto, Bogota and London, but tells filmmakers that his 1993 move to Miami was critical to his trailblazing hybrid sound (called “electronic descarga”) and success. The band’s 2002 release, “Fuacata Live,” was nominated for a Latin Grammy Award.
“My whole life would have been different had I chose to live somewhere else,” Yeomanson says.
Roitstein says his band and the others find tour audiences around the country are hungry for the music we may take for granted.
“It’s more special to them, because they don’t get to experience this fusion of music, this mix of flavors, very often,” he says. “They may know the ‘Buena Vista Social Club,’ but it’s not often they’ve heard salsa mixed with funk, reggae mixed with cumbia and Miami bass. The music travels very well. My hope is that the film results in a similar kind of acceptance.”
It is hard not to watch the film without tapping a toe — or grabbing the keys to head to a club to feel the energy firsthand. If you do, Roitstein reports that the Little Havana nightspot Hoy Como Ayer (2212 SW Eighth St., Miami) will throw a watch party for “Miami Boheme” Thursday night. After the show, the Spam Allstars will take the stage.
For more information, go to MiamiBoheme.com.