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KC band is ‘excellent,’ says music legend Rubén Blades at Latin Grammys

Making Movies: Juan-Carlos Chaurand (from left), Andres Chaurand, Enrique Chi and Diego Chi.
Making Movies: Juan-Carlos Chaurand (from left), Andres Chaurand, Enrique Chi and Diego Chi.

The four members of Making Movies were loading their gear into a club in San Diego on Thursday night when they were alerted to a tweet from a music writer who had recently written a piece about the Kansas City band.

The writer had been watching the Latin Grammys when Rubén Blades was interviewed on the red carpet.

Enrique Chi, the band’s guitarist and lead singer, recalled the tweet: “It said something like, ‘Ruben Blades just gave a shout-out to Making Movies. I just covered them.’”

Blades had been asked which of the new or younger bands performing at the Latin Grammys impressed him.

“Well, we were not at the Latin Grammys,” Chi said. “But he pivots the question, and says, ‘You know what I’m actually excited about? I’m excited that the internet has allowed for opportunities that didn’t exist in my era. Little by little I’m discovering new artists. And the quality of the work out there is really great. For example, there’s this band Making Movies and they have this song ‘Spinning Out’ and it’s excellent.”

It was all grand news for everyone in the band, especially Chi, who has long idolized Blades, a fellow Panamanian.

“It turned my family upside-down,” he said. “In my family circles, a Rubén Blades endorsement is bigger than winning a Grammy. Rubén Blades is arguably the most respected Spanish songwriter ever. He is a genius. People call him ‘the master.’”

Chi said no one knows how Blades came across their music. Both Blades and Making Movies have worked with Steve Berlin of Los Lobos.

“He recorded a track with Steve Berlin when Los Lobos did an album called ‘The Ride,’ and he sang on a tune,” Chi said. “Steve knows him but hasn’t talked to him in a decade, so it didn’t come from Steve.

“There are lots of ways it could have happened. I mention his name in every interview. Maybe he Googled himself.”

After finishing their West Coast tour, Making Movies will return to Kansas City.

On Dec. 2, they will headline a show at Knuckleheads that will feature performances by Quixotic and collaborations with other Kansas City bands and performers, including the Elders and Bob Walkenhorst. The band will play its “I Am Another You” album in its entirety and unveil a new EP. And chances are, they’ll still be riding the wave of an unexpected endorsement.

“What I love about it is I’ve studied (Blades) so much,” Chi said. “Not only the way he sings and writes but the way he presents himself in interviews. I’ve paid attention to it. I realize how intentional he is with all his answers. He’s super-intentional. He can deliver a message.

“And what’s so great about it is he wasn’t asked ‘What new bands have you heard on the internet?’ He wasn’t asked ‘What new Panamanian bands have you listened to?” He was asked ‘What Latin bands at the Latin Grammys are you proud of?’ And he named a band not at the Latin Grammys that he was excited about: ‘A band called Making Movies. And you should hear them. They are excellent.’

“It’s bonkers.”

Ruben Blades won album of the year for “Salsa Big Band” poses at the 18th annual Latin Grammy Awards on Nov. 16. Eric Jamison Invision/AP

Timothy Finn: 816-234-4781, @phinnagain