Who is the best musician in Miami

A rhythmic thud pervades South Beach. It echoes from the lobbies of bright pastel-colored Art Deco hotels, pumps out of coffee shops and beach boutiques, shakes jeep occupants and pedestrians on the palm-lined Ocean Drive of Miami with dull bass.

Yes, it almost seems as if the beaus and beach beauties, who showcase the skills of plastic surgeons, tattooists and stylists here, need the thump of a huge bass drum to look a little funky on this promenade of vanities.

Caribbean undertones mix with the house music with its straight beats: salsa pianos, reggaeton rhythms and Cuban claves, and sometimes the bright "Baila mi amor" singing of a Latino siren.

For several decades, the hotel district of Miami South Beach has been an experimental field for cheerful, hedonistic party music.

. The best house, hip-hop and electro DJs from all over the world cavort in the neighboring clubs, and at pool parties in the open air they test the intoxicating effects of their mixing skills.

A couple of renowned DJs are also turning on the consoles in the candle-lit patio of the Hotel Setai. Their spherically cool trip-hop rhythms make the water ripple in the natural stone ponds. Everything here breathes noble restraint. And that although - or precisely because - the Setai pop stars from Timbaland to Mick Jagger regularly serve as accommodation.

Lenny Kravitz has his own recording studio on the top floor of the hotel: a converted first-class suite with a view of the sea.

"America may be deep in the economic crisis," explains the Swiss hotel manager Hans-Jörg Meier. "You still come to South Beach to party and show what you've got - even if the Ferrari is only rented for the weekend."

The Zen-like tranquility in the Setai does not necessarily contradict this. It is important to draw strength for the next excess. Because sensual exuberance is the most important party currency here. For example in the club of the neighboring Delano Hotel, where Lenny Kravitz designed the interior including the glass grand piano and hip-hop moguls like P. Diddy like to throw champagne rounds.

In the neon-shrill Mango's Tropical Café with its go-go girls dancing on the counter. Or Nikki's Beach Club, where torches light up a beach landscape with sofas, four-poster beds and tents. The DJs are here as well-paid service providers, are consumer items like expensive drinks.

But Miami has another musical life. If you are looking for more than just the sand and palm tree backdrop for parties, you have to study flyers and notices on lampposts and music shops. Or follow the Latino rhythms that hang in the air like threads of fragrance to discover the places where the locals go dancing.

Notorious for experimentation

For example, the live club Jazid hidden behind a simple black door on Washington Avenue.

Miami's club nights start late. Only shortly after midnight, when the tropical sultriness outside gives way to a fresh sea breeze, does the duo Afrobeta take the stage at Jazid. College students crowd in, girls in hippie clothes, Rasta guys - none of them dressed half as glamorously as the lines of people in front of the neighboring house clubs.

The somewhat rancid interior seems to deliberately disregard the confectioner's beauty of the surrounding Art Deco district. After all, this is not about seeing and being seen, but about music. A scene notorious for its experiments.

The two Afrobeta musicians jump on the spot, turn the buttons on their keyboards. Synthetic bass lines, hip-hop beats and a touch of salsa. "A lot of the older Latino musicians don't understand what we're doing," says Cuci during a break from the set, wiping the sweat off his face with a towel. "We are continuing the legacy of our Cuban parents - just upgraded with electronics. But no matter what our mix is ​​called, you can still hear the clave beat."

Today, more than ever, Miami is a field of cultural experimentation - and the jazid a kind of public test tube. Night after night, the beats of western big city clubs are soldered together with the most varied of Latino traditions. "We're trying to create a new, urban genre," says Kondrat, the leader of the band Xperimento. His family comes from Colombia and he believes that Miami has found ideal ground for his music: "The city has always been a transit point. Every ten years there is a completely new scene."

This bullshit has a long tradition in Miami: As early as 1937, the Cuban Desi Arnaz introduced the conga section here as an orchestral component. From the 1970s onwards, Cuban exiled musicians also accepted the challenge posed by current American pop fashions. Today the R'n'B chanteuse Shakira, jazz trumpeter Arturo Sandoval and Gloria Estefan are among the Latin pop stars who owe their success to Miami's ingenious bastard scene.

However, if you want to get closer to the Latin American homeland of the musicians in terms of atmosphere, you have to cross the bridge from the beach mile in South Beach towards the city. The Hoy Como Ayer on Little Havana's main thoroughfare is well filled despite the stately $ 25 admission fee. Cubans in exile and gringos are balanced in the wood-paneled rustic club.

Framed pictures of Cuban musicians hang on the wall, and mojito glasses clink on the unadorned tables. It smells like freshly served tamales. Two older black men take the stage, sit behind their congas, a third grabs a shekere rattle and they pick up a rumba rhythm. It applies to the Yoruba god Shango. But as old as these Afro-Cuban litanies are, their music is hardly any.

Bandleader Andrew Yeomanson aka DJ Spam operates the turntable and mixer in the middle of the stage: chants, echoes, distortions. Shango has long been electrified. And the Spam Allstars are anything but folklore: students in tie-dye T-shirts, hip-hop kids with twisted baseball caps, but also men wearing ties and their Latina women in mini skirts and high heels let the percussion waves move them offset.

Yeomanson, a local giant for 16 years with the Spam Allstars, calls his style "Electric Descarga". A mixture that could only come about in Miami, as the Venezuelan musician puts it: "In the local bands, musicians from Cuba, Nicaragua, Colombia, Puerto Rico, Brazil and all the countries of Central America come together. Everyone brings their own traditions into play the influence of the locally dominant DJ and club culture. "

DJ Spam is considered a pioneer of the Miami-style fusion sounds. But the Spanish-language music produced here has long ceased to be a local phenomenon. The Spam Allstars have accompanied such diverse stars as Ricky Martin, Daddy Yankee and Julio Iglesias on their recordings.

Yes, occasionally big rock stars invite them to Lenny Kravitz's recording studio in the Setai Hotel. After all, Miami has long been considered the center of the Latino music world, where the most important record deals and studio sessions are handled for a still growing market.

The most visible figurehead of the city's Latin boom is Bongo's Cuban Café, a panoramic restaurant operated by Gloria Estefan with a view of the harbor, where hundreds of night owls line up in evening wear every weekend. Estefan also owns various restaurants in South Beach. It has only been since the 1990s that Latinos have been taking back what has always been inspired by their culture, when Spanish-speaking DJs are increasingly mixing salsa and cumbia into the ubiquitous dance animation.

Estefan, daughter of a Batista bodyguard who fled Havana in 1959, took a long time to find her own Cuban traditions.

The rhythm of the Latino night

The trained psychologist became known as the front woman of Miami Sound Machine. She landed worldwide disco hits with "Conga" in the mid-eighties. For a good decade now, Estefan has returned to Spanish singing and more traditional sounds.

DJ Spam believes most musicians in Miami are going through a similar evolution. "Since Fidel Castro came to power in 1959, Cubans in exile have dominated the musical scene here." Their children would usually have had enough of the homesick Buena Vista Social Club nostalgia first, later they discovered their legacy on their own.

DJ Spam knows this from personal experience. After chasing bass lines and drum loops from his sampler through the speakers for three hours, he announced a track from his next album "Rumberos de la Calle Ocho": "We only play Yoruba drums and chants - after all, they always become the basis of our music. "

On the way back to the nightly party blissful South Beach these words suddenly take on a whole new shape. An elderly black man is dancing, lost in himself, at a crossroads. A technoid beat booms from the neighboring house club. But the hip movements of the solo dancer follow a more archaic rhythm.

The Cuban chaka-chaka-chak - it comes from the rattles in his hand.


Getting there: With Air France from Munich to Miami and back from 582 euros


The Setai, 2001 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, rooms from $ 650

The Pelican, 826 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach, rooms from 120 USD,

The Biltmore, 1200 Anastasia Ave., Coral Gables, Miami, rooms from $ 120.

Further information: Miami Tourist Office, PO Box 1426, 61284 Bad Homburg.