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Festival focuses on new Latin music, culture

Antonio Lara is the mastermind behind Mexican Institute of Sound, which is part of the inaugural Festival Chispa at the National Hispanic Cultural Center.

Antonio Lara is the mastermind behind Mexican Institute of Sound, which is part of the inaugural Festival Chispa at the National Hispanic Cultural Center.

Camilo Lara can’t wait to return to Albuquerque for his first performance with a band.

Lara is the mastermind behind the internationally acclaimed outfit Mexican Institute of Sound.

He will be joined by some of Latin Grammy nominee Ceci Bastida and local band The Big Spank, Baracutanga and Mala Maña during the inaugural Festival Chispa: New Latin Music & Hispanic Culture at the National Hispanic Cultural Center on Saturday, June 25.

Festival Chispa will also host a plethora of free day programming, including music workshops, dance, film, presentations, Latino poetry and interactive, educational, cultural activities for kids of all ages. Latin food will be available all day and evening, and beer and wine will be on hand during the evening.

Lara’s Mexican Institute of Sound has been gaining a lot of buzz around the world.

“I just got back from France on tour,” he says during a recent interview from his home in Mexico. “I always enjoy traveling around the world and performing music. What I do is very different, and I think that’s what intrigues audiences.”

Lara focuses on music production and electronic dance music.

A lifelong fan of music, he seeks out obscure music to manipulate into new sounds.

“I have about 45,000 vinyl records,” he says. “My house looks like I’m a hoarder. But I buy these records because they mean something to me. I look for music that has never really been a hit. I like to take the music apart layer by layer and then build it back up.”

Last year, Lara traveled around the world and recorded with artists including Boy George, Gogol Bordello and MC Lyte, to name a few.

The collaborations will be released this summer on an album called “Compass.”

“It was great, though it was very exhausting,” he says. “It involved of a lot and was a big effort on everyone’s part. There’s also going to be a documentary on how we did the project.”

Being part of Festival Chispa is an opportunity that makes Lara proud.

As an innovator in music, he’s always looking to stretch himself in different ways as a performer.

“I like being involved with festivals and events that push culture forward,” he says. “It’s important that we stick together to tell stories.”

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