Copa Centroamericana Match Day 1 Recap

The 2017 Copa Centroamericana kicked off this past Friday, January 13th. The biannual tournament pits Central American national teams against each other in a short tournament to name a regional champion as well as to select four national teams to the proceeding CONCACAF Gold Cup tournament.

Guatemala was not involved in this year’s tournament as the country’s football federation remains banned due to “political interference.” As such, this year’s tournament will follow a round-robin format from Jan. 13th – Jan. 22nd. The team with the most points at the end of the five match days will raise the tournament trophy.

Honduras 2 – 1 Nicaragua

Costa Rica 0 – 0 El Salvador

Panama 0 – 0 Belize

Honduras is the current leader with 3 points as the only team that won on opening day.

Match Day 2 is today, January 15th, on Univision Deportes.

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Bring Compelling LatAm Stories to World with ZZK Records

My friends at ZZK Records have been raising funds since October in order to fund new creative endeavors. They’re currently in the process of producing three documentary films about the new Latin American sound.

Here’s the first part of their first documentary, which is all about Ecuador:

They’re currently at the $12,000 mark of their $20,000 goal for ZZK Films to complete the three documentaries. For more info and to donate, click here.

For old time sake, here’s my interview with Grand Dull, co-founder of ZZK, for LA Weekly: Texas Dude Moves To Argentina and Launches a Latin Alternative Revolution

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The Historical Battles That Inspired Battlefield 1’s Operations Mode

Electronic Arts’ Battlefield series of games took a strong turn towards historical accuracy this year when the company released Battlefield 1 this past October. The game is a first-person shooter that takes place in a few countries during the Great War/World War I.

BF1 includes a new multiplayer mode with stages inspired by real battles that occurred during the war. I wrote about some of these battles for Gamecrate.

It’s no surprise that Battlefield 1 has raked in buckets of cash and praise in equal measures since its release in October. The latest installment of Electronic Arts’ first-person shooter series introduced The Great War/World War I to the series’ legions of fans, as well as a number of new, historically accurate weapons, vehicles, and new multiplayer modes.

One of the new multiplayer modes is “Operations,” which aims to replicate some of the large-scale battles fought during the war. The four battles represented are spread across numerous sections on two maps (three for maps in the Ottoman Empire) and combine aspects of Rush and Conquest: attackers must seize control of one to three control points to advance while defenders can regain any lost territory until all points are lost.

The maps and battles are also based on real-life events, and do their best to replicate the atmosphere of what were then new modes of warfare: trench and aerial. In this article, we take a look at the historical conflicts that influenced some of the battles in the game.

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Rocky Dawuni and Afro Funké Celebrate the African Diaspora With Africa Rising

Rocky Dawuni by Bil Zelman

The too often-used tactic of describing a musician by comparing them to another musician of years past is typically a lazy maneuver that fails to properly individualize the modern artist from their legendary counterpart. However, there is plenty of merit in the repeated comparisons critics have made over the years between Bob Marley and Ghanian reggae/highlife artist Rocky Dawuni. Without the spark of Marley’s music that lit the creative fire within a young, impressionable Dawuni, there would be no Africa Rising.

Africa Rising is the conclusion of the Ford Summer Season at the Ford Theatres, a series of music, dance, theatre and film events scheduled from May through October. The final event at the venue will feature music by Dawuni with Ethiopian-influenced ensemble Wondem, led by multi-instrumentalist Dexter Story; Congolese-Belgian singer Marie Daulne of Zap Mama; and DJs Jeremy Sole and Glenn Red.

Read the rest of my story at LA Weekly.

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Schools Not Prisons: Buyepongo and Ceci Bastida Rally Against Mass Incarceration


Singer-songwriter Ceci Bastida has long championed political and social causes such as immigrant rights, the Zapatista movement and various issues concerning her native country of Mexico. Her most recent foray into activism, however, is undoubtedly her most personal.

This Saturday in Oxnard, she will be one of a handful of artists to perform a free, all-ages show in support of the Schools Not Prisons Arts & Music Festival tour, which promotes safe communities via voting, political activism and non-violence among community youth, with a focus on funding schools and educational programs while fighting against “zero-tolerance” policing of students that ultimately funnels many of them into the United States’ massive prison system.

Read the rest of my story at LA Weekly.

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Finally, a Celebration of Afro-Latino Music That Doesn’t Ignore Hip-Hop


Kahlil Cummings is one of many performers scheduled at AfroLatino. Photo by Safiya Dawuni.

The sounds and rhythms of West African drums, the sharp slaps on the djembe and the cavernous thumps on the dunun, will echo and bounce out of the recently reopened John Anson Ford Theatres and off into the hills surrounding the Cahuenga Pass this Saturday, Sept. 10. Those drums will mark the first lesson of many in a two-hour session about the long history of musical collaboration between the African and Latino diasporas that continues today in Los Angeles.

“AfroLatino – A Celebration of the African and Latino Diasporas” is a dive into understanding the Afro-Latino identity with an ethnomusicological twist. Numerous artists from L.A. and beyond will trace the history of African people in the Western hemisphere through the impact and influence of their music.

Continue reading at LA WEEKLY.

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Hollywood Forever Cemetery Presents 17th Annual Dia De Los Muertos Celebration

Hollywood Forever Cemetery’s Dia De Los Muertos celebration, the largest Day of the Dead celebration outside of Mexico, returns for its 17th edition.


This year’s theme is “El Arbol De La Vida/The Tree Of Life,” with a focus on sculptural traditions of the town of Metepec near Toluca de Lerdo.

Music this year will be provided by:

Julieta Venegas


Alejandro y Maria Laura


Mariachi Flor De Toloache

Here’s my rundown of last year’s event, which celebrated the culture of Mexico’s indigenous Huichol people, visited by 40,000 people and featured musicals artists Lila Downs, Xavier Quijas Yxayotl, Huichol Musical, and others.

More info at

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