Making Movies Takes Their World on the Road

By 10 January, 2024

Making Movies, the hard-to-pin-into-a-genre quartet from Kansas City, Missouri, in late 2020 moved their website onto the URL, It’s fitting, as the band is very much in a world of its own.

Deriving from Panama by way of the midwestern United States, the band’s songs are heavy on Latin American musical influences, are sung in English but mostly Spanish, and, in recent years, have been on the bill at folk festivals in the States and abroad.

The year 2023 was an exhilarating one for the band, as they:

  • Were featured (speaking Spanish and English, of course!) in a global advertisement by Chevrolet and Univision
  • Played the halftime show for their hometown American football team, the Kansas City Chiefs. (For those of you paying attention to pop culture, yes, this is the team featuring Travis Kelce, otherwise known as Taylor Swift’s boyfriend. And the band reports she was in attendance when they performed.)
  • Opened for Maldita Vecindad, pioneers of rock en español and one of the most influential rock bands in Mexico, and
  • Played at the Woodford Folk Festival in the down under, Australia

The band taking their show on the road for their first global tour in 2024. This Friday, Jan. 12, they’ll headline the “Celebrate Ameri’kana” show at Joe’s Pub in New York City, which also features Memphis gospel/soul group The Sensational Barnes Brothers, and Grammy Award winning Tex-Mex Conjunto ensemble Los Texmaniacs. The evening will also include a collaborative ensemble called Ameri’kana All Stars led by Making Movies with Los Texmaniacs, The Sensational Barnes Brother, Mexican singer-songwriter Renee Goust, Memphis swamp/soulstress Marcella Simien, and more.

We caught up with lead singer Enrique Chi about the band’s trajectory:

Sounds and Colours: There is lots going on in the Making Movies World! First off, how was the band’s experience playing in Australia at the Woodford Folk Festival?

Enrique Chi: Woodford was incredible!  It was our first time going to Australia and that alone felt like a bucket list thing. I often look at [my brother and bandmate] Diego and think, Can you believe it? It’s really a blessing to get to live these experiences.  

We started the show with a piece I do by myself playing Mejorana (Panamanian folkloric guitar) and that has to be one of the only times that a Mejorana has ever been performed in Australia.  It felt like an honor to bring a piece of our story with us.  

It was tangible that their culture is also changing.  At the festival there was space to celebrate aboriginal and indigenous artists, I was able to receive a Bush Medicinal Healing from sisters of the Yolngu Culture––that was amazing!  It’s also a new addition to the festival programming.  

S&C: What is exciting to you about booking your first official ‘World Tour?’

Chi: We’ve been itching to see how other cultures respond to us. The band has always felt a bit like a science experiment. With these elements combined, boom, alchemy, a new tonic, or whatever.  At least that’s how my silly brain thinks of it. Now we get to put our tonic to the test!

In Mexico City, we’ll be playing with our dear friend Reneé Goust who we met years ago in New York.  She is on a wave and we can’t wait to share the stage with her.  

S&C: Your band has always kept the mentorship of young people in music at the forefront. In 2017, you created a nonprofit organization, Arts as Mentorship, in Kansas City, where you also put on an annual music festival, AMERIKANA, where many of these young musicians are featured, each summer. How has the festival evolved?

Chi: This past November, we released a song called “Medicina.” One of the things I’m most proud of is how the message of the song is threaded through our activism. What we’ve built over years of grassroots work has pulled us into a national movement which is reconnecting artists, programs and festivals like ours to the reality that what we do is a function of public health and community wellness.

On July 27th, 2024 our festival joins 18 other cities (including the national mall in D.C.) to push forward this message of music as medicine. I believe we can really add fuel to this movement which can make a seismic shift in the arts sector of this country. More on that here in the New York Times.

S&C: Aside from the world tour, what can fans look forward to in 2024?

Chi: We are getting ready to release some live music. The first of two is En la Sala, a concert film we made by inviting friends and family to gather around us as we played a set. The set features Asdru Sierra from Ozomatli who joined the band on trumpet and vocals whipping our live arrangements into shape.  It’s such an honor to work with him.   

We also captured a Kansas City show and a Panamá City show, documenting the band in our two hometowns.  A compilation of both shows will make up a live album which we’ll put out in the first half of 2024, so there are a bunch of ways to experience our show.  

Catch Making Moves on tour.

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