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Making Movies: Making Music That Informs and Empowers

This weekend, Making Movies is wrapping up a month-long tour by putting on a huge production at home.

“It’s a chance to celebrate the successes of our ‘Immigrants Are Beautiful’ tour with our hometown,” bassist Diego Chi said. “But it’s also a night of civil disobedience, and some of the best musicians in Kansas City are adding their fire to the flame.”

On Saturday night in Knuckleheads Garage, Making Movies will cap off a year of achievements that started with the summer release of its ambitious 20-track effort “I Am Another You.” The album has received accolades from the Latin Billboard charts to NPR Music, and most recently propelled them on the 22-date tour. This weekend’s show also comes on the heels of an endorsement by music legend Rubén Blades on the red carpet at the Latin Grammys.

“I Am Another You” tells the stories of three men from different parts of the world (Venezuela, Mexico and the Midwestern United States), uniting them in their struggles and illustrating the interconnectivity of their lives. This is a concept the band has long explored, as its members have studied the traditional roots of Afro-Latino music to connect with their own heritage. Brothers Enrique and Diego Chi were born in Panama and raised in Kansas City, while brothers Juan-Carlos and Andres Chaurand are first-generation Mexican immigrants. From the laid-back rumba of “Brave Enough” to the gritty guitar riffs of “Locura Colectiva,” the brothers lay out unique stories while reminding us of the commonalities of the human experience.


But since the album’s release, the group has found itself at the heart of an unsettling social and political climate, where the rights of immigrants are being challenged and the idea of “otherness” seems more prevalent than it has been in decades. It’s not only given the album more weight, but has allowed Making Movies to become a salient voice for the disenfranchised.

“Since making the album, the tides have shifted, and the underbelly of systematic racism has reared its ugly head. It is time for us to raise our voices,” Enrique said in a press release.  

A portion of Saturday’s show will include a theatrical rendition of “I Am Another You.” Afterward, Making Movies returns to the stage with a cross-section of KC musicians who will accompany them on protest songs and songs of social injustice. That includes Irish rockers The Elders (who recently announced their retirement on The Bridge), funk/soul group Hi-Lux, Jim Suptic of The Get Up Kids, Bob Walkenhorst of the Rainmakers and more. The evening will kick off with students from Making Movies' Art As Mentorship young songwriters program.

They’ll also be commemorating the double-vinyl release of “I Am Another You,” which comes with a brand-new EP, “You Are Another Me.” The EP features appearances from David Hidalgo of Los Lobos and Philthy Dronez of SuenaTron, and contains four tracks of protest cover songs. Additional bonus material will be made available to download each month for the following year.

Even with all of this new material and recognition, Making Movies has no plans to slow down, and vows to continue creating music that both informs and empowers.

“It’s time to realize we are all part of this continuum, this beautifully flawed human race that has migrated from every continent to bring us all the beauty we enjoy today,” Enrique said. “We want to show that protest can be beautiful.”

Tickets for Saturday's show are available.

Michelle Bacon writes about #kcmusic for 90.9 The Bridge, and plays bass and drums in bands.

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