The Rhythm Foundation staff eats lunch together on Thursdays and talks about programming, shares music, makes plans. With TWO* Best of Miami awards in today’s 2016 New Times’ Best of Miami, we sat together in congratulatory happiness.  

*Best Music Festival (TransAtlantic Festival) and Best Venue for Local Acts (North Beach Bandshell)

This year has been long and amazing.  Before we got out the calendars and planners today, Benton asked, ‘So… what was your favorite show this year?‘ We already knew we were going to love the landmark Caetano and Gil duo in April at Bayfront Park Amphitheater, and Beirut’s Florida debut at TransAtlantic Festival at the Bandshell. Instead we focused our ‘favorites’ on those shows that surprised us:

– Chargaux‘s sublime electro-strings set at Perez Art Museum last October

– Kalascima, the rocking tarantella folk-pop group from Puglia, headlining Italian HIT Week October at the North Beach Bandshell

– Keyboard-wizard Marco Benevento‘s feel-great show at Seaside Sessions in January at the Bandshell – we are still smiling from that concert!

– Ethiopian jazz accordionist Hailu Mergia at Seaside Sessions in January

– Haitian rasin roots music legend Boukan Ginen led by Eddy Francois in November at Big Night in Little Haiti

Ibeyi, sold-out Florida debut in May at the Bandshell.  Slay, queens!

– Cuban pianist Chucho Valdes and his amazing jazz tribute to Irakere in November at the Fillmore.

To be fair, we enjoyed all of the shows. It isn’t fair to single out a few. Thank you to the many great musicians and dancers who enlivened monthly Dance Band Night, monthly Food Truck & Music Fest, monthly Big Night in Little Haiti, the revamped TransAtlantic Festival, the new Seaside Sessions, the Miami Beach Kundalini Yoga Festival, the special events that came to the Bandshell.  Stay tuned for 2016/17… We have some treats in store!