Deaf Poets’ East-Coast Tour Kick-off Party at Churchill’s Pub Article for

Deaf Poets just kicked-off their first tour ever with a party Friday November 22, 2013 at Churchill’s Pub that rocked the house. On the pub’s indoor and outdoor stages, ten local acts including bands Eagle Chief, Hunters of the Alps, The Grey 8’s and singer-songwriter Jesse Jackson performed, bidding their friends a rockin’ farewell….

With a mix of indie-rock sounds, garage punk beats, and melodic blues lyrics, Deaf Poets have garnered a fan following since they came on the music scene in 2010. The Miami duo of drummer Nicolas (Nico) Espinosa and singer-guitarist Sean Wouters is embarking on an east-coast this winter, stopping at cities like Brooklyn, NY and Augusta, GA. 

Red Wagon Link on Band Camp:   

   On Friday night, the release of the band’s four track EP called Red Wagon was also celebrated.   Red Wagon, Deaf Poet’s second EP release, was distributed on old-school audio cassettes or tapes.  According to drummer Nico, “EPs on tapes is the new thing to do.” “First it was vinyl, now tapes, next thing you know it will be A-tracks,” he joked. by BUFU records, a label based out of Boston, a city the band loves to play.  According to Nico, EPs on tapes is the new thing to do.  First it was vinyl, now tapes, next thing you know it will be A-tracks,he joked.  Moreover, he said, “A lot of things that had vanished in time are making a comeback.  There’s a sense of value to owning a cassette or vinyl rather than an mp3.”  Nico and Sean released the EP through BUFU records, a label based out of Boston created by their close friends, Ben Katzman.  Deaf Poets has had a great reception in Bean Town, which they love to play.  A full album titled 4150 will be released soon, and the band is planning a CD release party upon their return from tour.   

Deaf Poets exudes a positive energy with their live performances and their music gets everyone moving.  At a Deaf Poets show, there will be dancing, head-banding, moshing and cheering.  Although they are two, Nico and Sean make the noise of five.  They have a pure, raw talent and always give 110%.  Friday was no exception.  Like usual, the twenty-three year old Argentine Nico seemed to go into an alternate state, a sort of percussion-induced musical trance, pounding the drums with a fervor, continuous and hard.  After their performance, audience members asked for an encore.  Five more,one party-goer yelled.  Fans just cant get enough.  They are that good.


All pictures are courtesy of  Deaf Poets.

Check out more pictures of the event: 

They could continue to evolve as some of the best local musicians in Miami.CBS Miami

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Home, Refuge, and Inspiration: Shangri-La On The Magic City


Look Who’s Rockin’

Home, Refuge, and Inspiration: Shangri-La On The Magic City

  When you hear the name Shangri-La, you probably think of the fictional paradise depicted in the 1933 novel “Lost Horizon” by James Hilton.  Hilton describes Shangri-La as an otherworldly, exotic and harmonious utopia.  Likewise, an upcoming local band, Shangri-La, is fulfilling the legend of the literary name, bringing a little piece of heaven to The Magic City.  The band consists of Felix Ovalle on drums and synthesizer, Carlos (Kike) Sevilla on guitar, synthesizer and vocals and Mango Sterling on vocals.  The trio combines roots stemming from Venezuela, Peru and the Dominican Republic.  And, the sounds of foreign, tropical paradises echoes in their high-flying electronic, indie-rock melodies. 

  Shangri-La is one of a few upcoming local bands managed by Gummdrops, a ground-up initiative with a focus on music that creates a platform for artists, musicians, and activists in Miami to connect with each-other and collaborate on projects.  Since they were established in October 2012, Shangri-La has been hitting the best local live music venues like the Vagabond and Churchill’s Pub, impressing audiences with a raw talent that sounds polished and professional as well.  A recent Tropicult article said “Shangri-La rises to the top in a city full of cookie-cutter, mundane sparkly poppy keyboard fueled groups.” Part of their success is due to original vocalist Mango Sterling.  The songstress sounds like a cross between Bjork and Etta James, ethereal and strange, yet soulful and passionate.      

  The group recently performed at Churchill’s Pub, a sort of rite of passage for all local musicians.  The performance was part of the pub’s new female-oriented night, a unique “ladies” night, which brings the most talented female musicians and performers in the local arts scene to their stage.  Shangri-La’s dance-infusing set included crowd-pleasing hits “Sticks and Stones,” “Familiar Stranger,” “Saved,” Total Embrace,” “Touch,” “Tourist,” “IDK,” and “Degenerates.”  Soon, they will be passing another rite, releasing a new record.  So, be on the lookout in the near future.   

   In the meantime, I caught-up with Felix, Carlos (Kike) and Mango, and asked them about their origins, their idea of home and their musical roots, amongst other things, getting to know the faces behind the music. 

How did you choose the name Shangri-La?

After trying many different names, Felix came up with Shangri-La and we all agreed to it.  Shangri-La is a fictional place in a novel that is said to be modeled over tibet. It is a place of peace, acceptance and privilege. Which is exactly what the band and the music means to us.

Where did you all grow up?

Mango Sterling was born in Dominican Republic and raised in Miami and New York.

Kike was born and raised in Peru.

Felix was born and raised in Venezuela.

How did the band get together?

Kike and Felix met through a mutual friend. Since then, they started to share music that they both like and decided that it was time to start a band together. They placed an ad for a singer on craigslist and after many replies they found Mango.  She sent them a demo and both knew that she was the last piece of the puzzle.  

How did you get into music? 

For us, music is a lifestyle, a religion…

Mango: I was a kid model in pageants in dr and mia. Went to college for acting and was in an electro down tempo band called Limbic Divine in NYC,  now studying psychology at FIU. Hope to combine the two and heal with art. 

Kike: I started playing guitar at the age of 12. Since then, my musical career started. I joined my first band when I was 15  and stayed there for 5 years. Studied sound engineering and moved to Florida when I was 21. Then formed a band called NoiseVox and also joined a cover band. Decided to study culinary arts as well, so I’m a musical Chef.

Felix: I picked up the drums when I was 15 years old. Always surrounded by music and art. I went to school to become a Photographer and also an Art director, but music has always been my main goal in life.

Where do you make music?

We make music at Kike’s home studio in Sunny Isles, Fl. and we practice at GAB Studio in Wynwood.

What you like about home [Miami] that fuels your creativity?

Mango: When you’re a child your first ideas come while you’re lounging at home, it’s a source of comfort and freedom. 

Kike: At home is where I find that my ideas flow more, especially when I am playing my guitar, which is everyday basically. 

Felix: Home is my refuge, it’s a personal space where everything is on track with my personality. There is no better place.

What are some of your inspirations and influences?

Sharing our individual inspirations is what inspire us as a band. We combine our different experiences and find inspirations from that.

For influences, the list is huge, but to name a few that we share: Depeche Mode, Bat for Lashes, NIN, Radiohead…

What is your favorite place to play in Miami or favorite show?

Every venue has its own magic, but I will say that so far my favorite show has been at Blackbird Ordinary when we played Irocke 4evr Festival (Kike and Felix). Mango loves Kill Your Idol. 

What are your goals as a band?

Make a good living out of our music and keep playing together for many years

Tom Tom Magazine x Miami’s Best Female Drummers

Tom Tom Magazine x Miami’s Best Female Drummers” published in

You might think that a magazine all about female drummers wouldn’t be very popular, but Mindy Abovitz has shown us that the world loves to see a badass mama hitting them tambours hard. Her all about ‘chicks with sticks’ publication, Tom Tom Magazine, has become a hit around the globe.

For its Summer 2013 “Country Issue” the magazine headed south to discover the female drumming talent booming in the Miami music scene. And, meanwhile, its creator got an opportunity to connect to her roots.

Mindy is a homegrown Florida girl, but currently resides in Brooklyn, where the magazine is headquartered.  She started playing drums after her best friend, Stephanie Lavigne, bought Mindy her first drum kit.  Stephanie is now a photographer specializing in underwater, commercial, architectural and wedding photography.

For the issue, the two childhood friends sank the old drum kit to the bottom of a pool for a sublime, underwater photo-shoot.  Photographing the sinking drums and rising bubbles metaphorically captured the moment in the deep fluency of time.

“Submerging the drum set combined two of my favorite things (drumming and swimming) and photographing it left behind the ephemera to remember the moment forever” Mindy Abovitz


To kick off Tom Tom Magazine’s world tour, on May 22, they hosted a show with Plan B at Churchill’s Pub.  Five drum-banging girls, their bands and the people who love them came together to support the publication. The line-up included Testokra, Killmama, Estonian Couch Surfer, Quarter Horses and the Violet West.

photo-2At Books and Books in Coral Gables on July 24, Tom Tom Magazine hosted a Q & A with Mindy Abovitz.  Liz Tracy, music editor at the Broward New Times, facilitated the conversation which revolved around feminism, drumming, and women in music and media. Here are few highlights from the Q & A.

Monica Torres (Q): What made you want to start a magazine all about female drummers?

Mindy Abovitz (A): I am a feminist.  I was tired of googling ‘women and drums’ back in 2009 (when the magazine was started) only to find images of girls in bikinis on a drum.  So, even though I’m not a writer and I hate writing, I felt there was a need to showcase women drummers and encourage girls and women to drum because the regular drum magazines weren’t doing it.

Liz Tracy (Q): What’s next for Tom Tom Magazine?

Mindy Abovitz (A): I want to work with women’s advertisement.  I want to target feminine products such as makeup and maxi pads, you know the things you think about when you think about women.

Liz Tracy:  Yes, because when I think of women, I always think of a huge maxi pad.  (Audience Laughs)

A Tom Tom Magazine event wouldn’t be complete without a woman drumming it out, so Quarter Horses played a set after the Q & A. They are a trio consisting of drummer Emile MilgrimDaniel Elijah (Novy Graey) and Tristan John.

The gospel noir band derives musical inspiration from symbolist paintings as well as old American gospel music from the south.  It was only their second show, but their dark, melodic sound drew a large crowd.  Many congregated around the band, sitting on the floor, taking in Graey’s poetic vocals about sexual, spiritual struggles, in a sort-of musical communion. They’re definitely one local band to keep your eye on.

The magazine’s current issue also features a Miami Drumming Guide, which showcases some of our favorite Miami female drummers. Beatriz Monteavaro of Holly HuntSophie Sputnik of Killmama and Emile Milgrim of Quarter Horses are some of the ladies featured. Emile Milgrim is also the manager at Sweat Records and the owner of record label Other Electricities. She is a friend of Mindy’s and helped to organize these local events.  The drumming guide contains insider information for all you music lovers and musicians on the scene, including these drummer’s favorite local hangs, recording studios, music stores and the best places to play in town.

Enjoy a gallery of some badass women on drums below.  Some of these images were taken from Tom Tom Magazine’s awesome Facebook page.

The magazine has articles, art, fashion, comedy, city drumming guides, interviews, tips and techniques for drummers, global current events, and more.  The current issue contains a review of the HBO documentary, “Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer,” giving attention to the harsh, unjust incarceration of the Russian girl group.  There is also a section with some really cool oil-on-linen drum paintings by Alexandria Tarver. Go pick up a copy today, there’s a stack over at Sweat Records right now.