The second annual Carnaval will serve a few purposes, said Enrique Chi, lead singer and guitarist for Making Movies, which is hosting the event.
The first is to celebrate the band’s community work, like the annual music camp at the Mattie Rhodes Center that Making Movies started in 2012. Proceeds from Carnaval will go to the Mattie Rhodes Rocks project.
The music camp is just one of several programs the KC band has started. Chi added that his bassist brother, Diego Chi, will be heading up 12-week after-school programs in the spring and fall, and percussionist Juan-Carlos Chaurand will run a program called Project Respeto. The group has also hosted after-school programs through Guadalupe Center.
“In 2016 we aim to bring all these projects under one umbrella by creating our own nonprofit, the Musica Project,” Enrique Chi said.
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The second purpose of Carnaval: to introduce Kansas City to some of the bands Making Movies has befriended. At this year’s event, which is Saturday at Knuckleheads, all of the out-of-town bands will be performing in Kansas City for the first time.
“We wanted to show off to Kansas City some of the amazing bands we’ve built relationships with over the years,” Chi said. “This is a great music town, but it gets overlooked by a lot of smaller tours. It’s getting better, but a lot of booking agents don’t see this as a great live music town until artists reach a certain size in popularity.”
This year’s lineup features Hurray for the Riff Raff, a folk band from New Orleans founded by Alynda Lee Segarra, who will participate in a songwriting workshop at Carnaval. The other bands: Las Cafeteras, a seven-piece band from East Los Angeles; Migrant Kids, a trio from Austin, Texas; and Gio Chamba, whose music was described as a “crazy blend of electronics, multi-instrumentation and Latin jams” by the Free Press in Houston, his hometown. Making Movies and Kansas City’s Hearts of Darkness will also perform.
“Hurray for the Riff Raff will play Carnegie Hall next year,” Chi said. “Rolling Stone had their album (‘Small Town Heroes’) in its Top 50 for last year. But they’ve never played Kansas City. So we’re really happy to be bringing them here.”
Chi is excited about showing off the venue, too.
“Knuckleheads is a really unique place,” he said. “It’s so fiercely independent. Frank (Hicks, owner) just likes what he likes and does what he wants the way he wants to and really doesn’t care about trends or what’s happening on the national scene. So our friends will get to see that and play for some of the great music fans here.”
Chi is hoping for good turnout to build the city’s reputation.
“It is important for our city to come out and support the show,” Chi said. “It will send a message that our music scene is growing and can support cross-cultural artists and that will have repercussions on a national scale.”
Making Movies’ Carnaval is Saturday at Knuckleheads, 2715 Rochester Ave. Gates open at 3:30 p.m. Music begins at 5 p.m. Tickets are $20 for adults, $10 for children 12 and younger.
Performers: Making Movies, Hurray for the Riff Raff, Las Cafeteras, the Migrant Kids, Gio Chamba and Hearts of Darkness. There will also be folk dancing, a drum safari conducted by Brandon Draper, food trucks and activities for children.