Movement Magazine

Nag Champayons release Rising Sounds of a Sinking City June 2

Thomas Bellflower June 17, 2015

Little Haiti-based group to issue concept album drawing on styles and cultures ranging from Africa to Miami, celebrate June 24 at Bardot


Miami, FL – June 17, 2015 – Self-described “Afrogalactic / tropidelic” locals the Nag Champayons have long set the standard for improvisational and multi-ethnic musical brilliance in Miami. Now the band is set to unleash a tidal wave of new music with Rising Sounds of a Sinking City, an eight-movement, 21-minute theme weaving together sonic textures from Africa to Colombia, then Stateside via Cuba, all converging into a frenzied psychedelic finale.

The release will be available for download on June 23, and as a physical disc on CD Baby or in-store at Sweat Records, Radioactive Records, or any of the three Mystic Water Kava Bar locations (Hollywood, Ithaca, San Diego). The CD will also be available at the band’s release party at Bardot (3456 N Miami Ave, Miami, FL 33127) the very next night, June 24; doors open at 10 p.m., there is no cover and 21 and over are welcome. The night will also feature sets by DJ Ackdaddy.

Rising Sounds takes the listener on a heady musical trip following the dusty winds blown off the western coast of Africa, spiraling into a massive tropical storm crossing the Atlantic, picking up strength in the Caribbean, and finally surging on to the already-disappearing coastline of Miami, which is the Sinking City,” says group co-founder and keyboardist Ryan Cacolici. He also designed the album cover and art based on the photography of fellow co-founder bassist Edwin Cardona. The songs themselves, track titles and visuals are metaphors for the progressive styles and cultures explored in the music, and a commentary on the environmental crises of pollution and rising sea levels.

The Nags use the classic rock staples of electric six and 12-string guitars and Hammond organ contrasted with traditional African percussion instruments like Garifuna, balofone, shekers, djembe, wache and udu, and syncretize them with humid trumpets, synthesizers, electro bass drops, and masterful human beatboxing by vocalist Komakozie (also a member of Telekenetic Walrus). The recording additionally features a Yoruban call-and-response by Tomas Diaz (Spam Allstars) and Sonyasi Feldman, Spanglish lamentations of Colombian MC Ephniko and vocals by Juliet Maisha.

The band will tour in promotion of Rising Sounds this summer, travelling from Key West all the way up to the Trumansburg, NY version of GrassRoots Festival of Music and Dance taking place next month.

For more information, visit or call 786.218.6854.


PART I      @ 00:00   INTRO > Ominous Currents  (Crossing the Atlantic)
PART II     @ 01:40   Tropical Storm Surge I  (Africa to Caribe)
PART III    @ 05:00   Canal Town  (Ciudad de Tilapia Tóxicas)
PART IV    @ 08:30   Tropical Storm Surge II  (Caribe to Miami)
PART V     @ 12:20   The Sharks Have All Surrounded Our Island Beds
PART VI    @ 15:10   Rising Sounds  (Music Creates Ascension)
PART VII   @ 16:18   High Tide Downtown  (The Bay Comes Crashing In)
PART VIII  @ 18:10   OUTRO > Last Transmission from New Atlantis



It’s Frank Zappa and Serge Gainsbourg wrestling Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra. It’s Sonic Youth’s plane crashing into Fela Kuti’s boat in the Everglades on the hottest day of summer. “Afro-Floyd,” said one listener. The group began in the early 2000s as an improvisational collective whose name came out of the burning of Nag Champa incense during early jams. They currently feature Ryan Cacolici on keyboards, Edwin Cardona (bass), Jose Elias on guitar, Kenneth Metzker and Nestor Prieto (percussion) and Michael Komikaze Rodney on vocals.

The Nags won the Broward Palm Beach New Times‘ award for “Best Band Name” in 2004. Drawing from African, Caribbean, hip-hop, rock and jazz influences, they have consistently amazed crowds with their diversity, quickly rising to the top of Miami’s music and art scene. The group enjoys a monthly residence at the Hollywood, FL Mystic Kava Bar, dubbing it “Psychedelic Jazz Practice.”

On the heels of their lauded single “James Brown’s A$$,” the band was invited by the Brooklyn Academy of Music to perform as part of two of their premiere productions, the Si Cuba Festival and the Dance Africa Festival. As part of the Moksha Family Visionary artist collective, the Nags have had the honor to collaborate on stage with notable live painters Alex Grey, Mark Henson and Alex Sastoque.

The Nag Champayons continue to challenge convention; first with their 2012 self-titled EP featuring the acclaimed single “183rd St. Flea Market,” which includes contributions from long-time Nag collaborators El Chino Dread Lion (Yerba Buena) and Itagui from Locos Por Juana, and now with their new concept album Rising Sounds of a Sinking City.

For more, visit or call 786.218.6854.

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