About this project
We have spent the last two and a half years writing and recording our 2nd album and are now reaching out to our fans and the Kickstarter community to help us bring it to life. It’s very expensive and time-consuming to make the kind of album we’re making and, as a local independent band, our financial resources are extremely limited. The entire project is going to have a final price tag of over $30,000, half of which we’ve already financed ourselves. In exchange for your support, we are offering you the opportunity to pre-order and download the new album before it becomes available to the public, as well as incentives like autographed CD’s and posters, limited edition T-shirts, tank tops, and hoodies (available only to Kickstarter backers), tickets to our album release party, and a karaoke night with the band! Any amount you can contribute will go a long way towards helping us successfully finish and release this album. We appreciate you taking the time to read our story and we thank you for your support!
La Misa Negra is a 7-piece band from Oakland, California that plays a unique blend of 1950's and 60's style cumbia and high-energy, Afro-Colombian dance music. Branded as “HELLA BAILABLE” by local DJ and cumbia junkie, Roger Mas, the band has gained a reputation as one of the most exciting live bands on the West Coast and has spawned a loyal following that transcends musical, cultural, and generational divides. Without a manager, booking agent, or record label, we’ve powered through with relentless DIY drive, a unique sound, and a wild, one-of-a-kind show that has led us to share stages and festival bills with artists, such as Red Hot Chili Peppers, Stevie Wonder, Lenny Kravitz, Thievery Corporation, George Clinton, Julieta Venegas, Ozomatli, Budos Band, Ana Tijoux, Bomba Estereo, La Santa Cecilia, and many others.
Marco Polo Santiago - guitar and accordion
My name is Marco Polo. I’m originally from Los Angeles and I’m the guitarist, accordion player, and main songwriter for La Misa Negra. Since childhood I’ve been obsessed with making music, playing various instruments throughout my teens and eventually focusing on hip-hop and heavy metal. In 2011, however, my love for cumbia, which had always been an important part of my family’s soundtrack, was reawakened. I decided to start a cumbia band, modeled after the legendary bands of Colombia’s golden age, but with a punk rock vibe. As an homage to Black Sabbath, the godfathers of heavy metal, I named the band La Misa Negra. Over the next few years, the current lineup took shape, slowly bringing together an unlikely group of characters that would come to share a common love for the music we play.
Diana Trujillo – lead vocals
Diana was born and raised in Medellin, Colombia during the most violent era in the country’s history that ultimately claimed her father’s life. At age 12, shortly after her father’s death, Diana became deeply involved in music, joining the Corporación Cultural Canchimalos, which gave her the opportunity to travel the country performing traditional Colombian music. By her mid teens, she was performing with rock bands in Medellin and, by the age of 20, she immigrated to the Bay, where she found herself singing with various Salsa bands. She would come full circle when she joined La Misa Negra, returning to her Colombian roots and adding an authentic Colombian voice to the band. She has since grown to become my songwriting partner, spearheading much of the lyric writing process for the new album.
Justin Chin (El Chino Sonidero) – tenor and baritone sax
Justin is a San Francisco native, born to immigrant parents from China and the Philippines. In high school, he played drums in a couple of different punk bands. When he moved to Seattle for college, he picked up the sax and ended up playing in a variety of funk and soul bands. He claims to be Asian but he plays in a cumbia band, prefers mole and chapulines to Chinese food, speaks better Spanish than Mandarin, wears soccer jerseys, and calls himself El Chino Sonidero. He’s also the yin to my yang.
Elena de Troya – congas and caja
Elena grew up hard and fast in San Francisco’s Mission District. By age 16, she had come out to her family, was left homeless when her childhood home burned down, and dropped out of high school. It was around this time when she got involved with San Francisco-based community group, Loco Bloco, where she learned drumming, and immersed herself into music. Over the next several years, she honed her skills as a percussionist, playing music from Cuba, Brazil, Puerto Rico, and Colombia. She was soon playing with many Bay Area bands, like Bayonics and Bomberas de la Bahia, which is how we met. She quickly became a fan of La Misa Negra and I became an even bigger fan of hers.
Craig Bravo - drums
Craig hails from Milwaukee, WI – a cheesehead who’s given up cheese. He spent three years in Colombia, where he fell in love with cumbia and traditional Colombian music. He spent much of that time studying Afro-Colombian drumming and, when he arrived to the Bay, helped start the traditional, Afro-Colombian ensemble, Aluna, as well as the Colombian-inspired, prog-rock-funk-everything band, Antioquia. As the Zen master of the band, Craig tries his darndest to get us to meditate, stretch, and do yoga before shows. As the band’s food czar, he also tries to get us to eat healthy when we’re on the road. He rarely succeeds at either.
Erich Huffaker – upright bass
Erich is the Man of a Thousand Voices – ask him to do his Fredo Corleone, Dr. Nick, or Daniel Day-Lewis’s character from There Will Be Blood. Raised in an Arab American household in Riverside, CA, Erich grew up playing rock and heavy metal with his brother (and happens to be the only other person in the band who shares my deep appreciation for Black Sabbath). He has spent a great deal of time in Mali, studying drumming and West African music. When he’s not working on music or doing pull-ups at the lake, he’s dealing us in for Texas hold ’em.
Morgan Nilsen – clarinet and tenor sax
Morgan is our resident bike pedaling, marathon running, anarchist vegan from Vermont, who happens to play clarinet (and as of recently, tenor sax) for La Misa Negra. She is also, literally, one of the sweetest people you’ll ever meet. Friends with virtually every band in the Bay Area, it’s very likely that you’ve seen her play at the Rickshaw Stop with Inspector Gadje, The Legionnaire with Istanbul Connection, Revolution Cafe with La Peche, or any other of the dozens of bands she performs with. She’s the only person in the band with a degree in music and if you ask her where she got her degree from, she’ll tell you, “Eastman School of Music, son!”
We are currently putting the finishing touches on our 2nd album, which we’ve spent the last 2 years writing and recording. On our sophomore effort, we show significant growth, with more elaborate arrangements, difficult horn lines, a bigger sound, and deeper lyrics that tackle topics like gun violence, water scarcity, and gender inequality. We continue to push the boundaries of our old school sound by tapping into traditional Afro-Colombian styles, such as currulao and tambora, and embracing our love of Latin Jazz, with an original salsa piece entitled “Pistola,” and a hyper-speed version of the Cuban classic “Yayabo.” We also finally get to showcase some of our heavy metal and rock influences that inspire much of the band’s sound and identity.
To help me produce and bring the album to life, we sought out the production talent of Bang Data’s Juan Manuel Caipo, who recently produced the Quiero Creedence project with Juanes, Bunbury, Ozomatli, and Juan Gabriel. In addition, the album features guest appearances by some of the Bay Area’s most talented musicians and some of our close friends, including:
- Angelica Rodriguez (La Misa Negra’s original singer) – backing vocals
- Deuce Eclipse (Bang Data) – backing vocals
- Kata Miletich (Locura) - backing vocals
- Jesse Sheehan (Sun Hop Fat) – tenor & baritone sax
- Adam Theis (Jazz Mafia) – trombone
- Mario Alberto Silva (Rupa and the April Fishes) – trumpet
- Sergio OriAche (LoCura) – timbales & bongos
- Ray Olivas (Fuga) – guacharaca
Album Track Listing
- Acosadora – Written by Marco Polo Santiago. Lyrics by Diana Trujillo.
- Dueña de Mi – Written by Marco Polo Santiago. Lyrics by Diana Trujillo.
- El Agua Ya Se Acabo – Written by Marco Polo Santiago. Lyrics by Diana Trujillo & Marco Polo Santiago.
- Mazamorra – Written by Diana Trujillo & Craig Miller. Lyrics by Diana Trujillo.
- Me Voy Para Porce – Written by Marco Polo Santiago. Lyrics by Diana Trujillo.
- Pistola – Written by Marco Polo Santiago. Lyrics by Diana Trujillo & Marco Polo Santiago.
- Sancocho – Written by Marco Polo Santiago & Justin Chin. Lyrics by Diana Trujillo & Marco Polo Santiago.
- Veni Pa’ Ca – Written by Marco Polo Santiago. Lyrics by Diana Trujillo.
- Tambo, Tambo – Written by Efraín Mejía.
- Yayabo – Cuban folk song.
- Recording (including studio rental, engineer): $16,000
- Mixing: $3500
- Mastering: $1000
- Guest musicians: $2500
- CD replication: $1600
- Music video: $2000
- Marketing & PR: $10,000
- Kickstarter Incentives and shipping costs: $2000 (minimum)
- Kickstarter and Payment Processing Fees: $1500 (minimum)
With the release of La Misa Negra’s debut album, “Misa de Medianoche,” and a second in the works, the band joins the growing ranks of dynamic energetic underground ensembles who have been redefining modern Latino and Latin music.
— Alejandra Salazar, San Francisco Chronicle, March 18, 2017
Reviews of “Sancocho” (from the new album)
"Sancocho" is named after a hearty stew popular in several Latin American countries, but La Misa Negra's performance doesn't leave much room even to catch your breath, let alone chew. The eight members of the cumbia-loving band from Oakland, Calif., light a fire under the metaphorical soup kettle with this thrillingly frenetic, percussion-heavy concoction. (It was no surprise that our colleagues at Alt.Latino loved La Misa Negra, too!)
— Rachel Horn, NPR - All Songs Considered, March 22, 2016
It feels like weaving through traffic in a city in South America, at rush hour, on your bicycle, with a beer in your hand. It's just lunacy and I Iove it.
— Jasmine Garsd, NPR - Alt.Latino, March 10, 2016
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Risks and challenges
As I mentioned earlier, we are in the final stages of recording the album but, should we fall short of our fundraising goal, we will face an uphill battle to complete the album by August and properly promote its release. As an independent band, we are extremely resourceful and know how to do a lot with a little. However, being an independent band doesn’t mean we have smaller goals than a band on a major label. We still face many of the same challenges and expenses but, with your contribution and support, we’ll be able to cover most (if not all) of our remaining expenses for this project.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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