Archive for February, 2011

By Marcus Chang

Photo Credit: Bijoux Altamirano

Two years ago, Nathalie Yepez — a 29-year-old first generation New Yorker who was born to Dominican parents in the Bronx and grew up in Washington Heights and the East Village — moved back to her mother’s house, quit her bartending and waitressing jobs to pursue music full time, and reinvented herself as the singer Maluca Mala. “I thought to myself, Enough is enough!” she recalls. “I’m miserable sitting at home writing music and just talking about it.” Mala, who not surprisingly identifies as a “hood hipster,” performs a mix of what she calls “ghetto-techno, Latin-dance, hip-hop, rave music.” It’s a decadent mix that has not gone unnoticed — especially by Lady Gaga, whose beer-cans-as-rollers look in the video for “Telephone” appears to have been inspired by Mala’s headgear in her video for “El Tigeraso.”

The Moment caught up with Maluca Mala in a landmark East Village cafe, around the block from her former all-girls high school, to speak to the self-made artist about her struggles as an independent singer, and of her coming Dominican Independence Day performance at S.O.B’s, in the West Village, on Sunday.

Why do you call yourself Maluca Mala?

I’ve always been Maluca, which means crazy in Spanish. It’s a nickname my uncle gave me as a child because I was so mischievous. I added the Mala part, which means bad, when I decided to really go for it in the music business.

Did anyone ever tell you that your song “Hector” sounds like Bjork?

Yes, actually, my back up dancer Oscar. When his mom heard the song she told him that it sounded like the Chinese singer he likes — she meant Bjork. [laughing]

Here’s something I don’t understand, why is your cellphone shut off when you were just in a BlackBerry commercial?

Oh yeah, they gave me a phone, but it’s not like it came with a year of service or anything. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to hate on BlackBerry, but right now all my money is going to Maluca. My Dream. Having a cellphone and going out to dinner is a luxury that is not part of the plan. I’m calling people using Google phone online. It’s free.

So you’re totally broke?

Yeah, basically. I just finished opening for Swedish singer Robyn in her U.S. tour, and since I’m not signed to a record label, that tour ended up putting me thousands of dollars in debt.

Read more: http://tmagazine.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/02/26/maluca-mala-la-crazy-bad/

Check out the trailer for Maluca’s Wepasodes below.

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Help build the business community in Washington Heights and Inwood

Register for a FREE small business fair to network and learn about business2business services

As a small business owner in Northern Manhattan and the associate publisher of the Manhattan Times, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked questions like these:

  • Do you know a good (Web designer/graphic artist/day care center/accountant/office cleaner/etc.)?
  • How do I start/incorporate my business?
  • Where can I host a meeting?
  • How can I save money on my utilities?
  • I hate going to the Post Office – where can I get an affordable P.O. Box?
  • Where can I find temporary employees?
  • You can get insurance for that?
  • What does the Chamber of Commerce do?
  • Where can I get a deal on __________?

When I’m asked these questions, I try to steer people to local businesses for answers. The best customer for a local business is often another local business and the more we do business with each other, the stronger our local economy becomes.


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BY Led Black (@Led_Black)

Photography by Briana E. Heard

Today Dominicans, it is your day. On February 27th, 1844 a group of Dominican rebels led by Francisco del Rosario Sánchez, Ramón Mella and inspired by Juan Pablo Duarte seized the Ozama fortress in Santo Domingo and declared their independence from Haitian rule. It is that spirit of resiliency, audacity and sheer determination that we celebrate on this day. It is these very same qualities that are crucial components of our national character. My mother, like many other Dominicans of her era, came to this country with nothing but hopes, dreams and an unshakable will to better the lives of their children. We have a responsibility to continue striving for excellence to ensure that our ancestor’s struggle wasn’t in vain. Palante, Siempre Palante!

I invite you to join me on Facebook and follow me on Twitter, or e-mail me at ledblackNYC@gmail.com

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By Lucy Cohen Blatter

Photo Credit: Michael Kirby Smith|am New York

St. Nicholas Avenue between 160th and and 161st streets seems like just your run-of-the-mill Washington Heights street, but walk up a small stone staircase on the east side of the street, and you’re transported into a different time.

1882, to be exact.

Sylvan Terrace is a historic cobblestone block that once served as the carriageway to the Morris-Jumel Mansion, Manhattan’s oldest house. Both sides of the street feature a total of 20 nearly identical high-stoop wooden row houses facing one another. These yellow clapboard homes appear much as they would have in 1882, with wooden shutters, ship lap siding, bracketed eves and wooden stoops. In fact, the Landmarks Preservation Commission requires residents paint the exteriors with the nearly original colors — yellow, maroon, green and brown.

The street is a true rarity, said Lucinda Martinez, who’s lived there since 2002. “There’s only one block in New York City like that. The kids can play in the street,” she added, because there’s no parking and little traffic.

And one of these historic houses can be yours — nos. 2 and 11 are on the market.

Read more: http://www.amny.com/urbanite-1.812039/sylvan-terrace-a-rural-enclave-1.2708600

Photo Credit: Michael Kirby Smith|am New York

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BY Michael J. Feeney


Photo Credit: Lombard for News

It started out as an ode to Pittsburgh, but a pair of Washington Heights actors have transformed a popular rap song into an uptown Manhattan anthem that’s gone viral.

Michael Diaz, 33, and Oscar Martinez, 24, released their comedic spoof video, “Pan Con Queso,” (bread with cheese) and it’s picked up nearly 200,000 views on YouTube since debuting earlier this month.

Diaz and Martinez, who perform under the alias “Juan Bago and O,” came up with the spoof in response to Pittsburgh rapper Wiz Khalifa’s chart-topping song, “Black and Yellow.” Khalifa’s song pays tribute to his hometown using the colors of their sports team.

“We wanted to kind of duplicate that, and show Washington Heights in a positive light,” Diaz told the Daily News.

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/uptown/2011/02/25/2011-02-25_theyre_cheese_wizes_duos_spoof_on_cafecito_goes_viral.html#ixzz1Eyk92RoZ

By the way, Juan Bago and O will be opening up for Maluca at the Dominican Independence Day celebration at SOB’s this Sunday.

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BY Carolina Pichardo

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Music is ubiquitous Uptown.

Whether it’s the Hip-Hop beats emanating from a passing car, singing locals at a popular bar on Karaoke night, or the political trucks making their rounds with their own rendition of a Kinito Mendez hit, it’s an amazing unifying tool.

So let’s take a quick look at those not only making it happen, but also diversifying our music scene.

For more on these artists and their work, tune in to Washington Heights & Inwood Radios Show on BlogTalk tonight at 9:00 p.m.

Hey, Mr. DJ. All house parties begin and start with a great DJ. With the strike of a hand, some quick beats matching and—voilà.

DJBoy started mixing and messing with beats when he received his first computer. After being influenced by the typical by merengue, tipico, techno and hip-hop (of course), he went on learn how to blend the sounds and files. “It would take hours for the computer to process just 10 minutes of music,” he said. “But it was worth it.”

When it comes to the Uptown scene, DJBoy has some hefty predictions. He believe that “not only music, but art from Uptown” will be plowing its way within the next couple of years. “If not, then at least within my lifetime.”

This DJ wouldn’t really be a DJ without his strong support—Dom P., Alvarez and the rest of Music For Daze.

Karaoke Idol. Although there’s no panel of judge to claim this turf, there’s a panel of good neighbors. Such as local artist, Richard Herrera. Although he’s relatively new to the Karaoke Meetup at Piper’s Kilt, he’s strong supporter for this band.

For a while now, locals get together on Sunday at Piper’s to sing their little hearts out to pop hits, favorites and of course – the 80’s. “There are all sorts of people here,” said Richard. “Perhaps not always what you’d expect.” According to him, karaoke is a perfect venue to illustrate much of the threads that hold this community together. “There are all sorts of people here, perhaps not always what you’d expect: white girls singing rap songs, Dominican kids singing cheesy 80’s pop hits, Irish moms belting out R&B classics—and EVERYONE singing along to the Grease soundtrack.”

Don’t be afraid to sing-along with the Upper Manhattan Experience on Sunday’s, and contact Rich for a duet while you’re at it.

Street Performer. When you think of Uptown, you rarely consider a street performer setting a stage in our train platforms. That’s usually a Midtown and Village sort of gig. But Kendra MacDevitt actually doesn’t think so. Performing from the Dyckman St. station on the A-train, this

acoustic singer opts our for simple melodies with a special attention to lyrics. “Defining my musical style is a little difficult, since when I busk, I play a little of everything, from Elvis to Bizet.”

Although she’s been performing for most of the life, Kendra says that the Uptown scene has given her a lesson in courage. “Before I started busking, I was always a little nervous about performing in front of a strange audience,” she said. “New York can be pretty intimidating if you let it!”

But despite this, Kendra also notes that Uptowners are very supportive. “They smile, or give a thumbs-up and it puts the shine on my day. Overall, the appreciation outweighs any negative experience I’ve had.”

Besides Uptown’s train platforms, Kendra could be found on Facebook.

Check out the Voice of Uptown online radio show tonight at 9 PM. http://www.blogtalkradio.com/heightsinwoodradioshow

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Reported, produced, edited by Chiara Sottile

Columbia University has drawn up expansion plans again, this time for its 26-acre athletic complex in Inwood. But the plans have ruffled feathers for some of their neighbors. Published on Northattan.com.

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