By Alison Graef
About 400 people, many with sugar skull-painted faces and colorful garb, crowded the outdoor Arneson River Theater Oct. 29 as American rock band Making Movies filled the crisp night air with Afro-Latino rhythms and psychedelic rock ‘n’ roll riffs.
Enrique Chi, singer and guitarist, sang politically charged lyrics in English and Spanish, accompanied by bassist and singer Diego Chi, drummer Andres Chaurand and keyboardist and percussionist Juan-Carlos Chaurand.
The group played as a part of a two-day Día de los Muertos celebration hosted by the La Villita Historic Arts Village.
Making Movies of Kansas City, Mo., came to this city as a part of its Immigrants are Beautiful tour.
“Tonight is a celebration of these abundant cultures,” Enrique Chi said in an interview with The Ranger after the performance. “It’s the idea that whether the rhythm is being played on conga, a drum set, my guitar pattern, or it’s being danced in folklórico rhythmic dance, there’s this beauty in realizing that we all have these common accessorial roots, even if we’re a really diverse community.”
Chi said people need to embrace their common ancestry and recognize they are a part of one human race rather than identify solely as members of a particular culture or country.
He said the only way to progress is to embrace the beauty of human diversity while realizing people are people, no matter their culture or place of origin.
“I think there has been some digression with modern man’s obsession with borders and countries and having a sense of place and all that,” Chi said. “Which has some value to it, but I think that kind of obsession of this pride of ownership of where you’re from actually has a lot of harmful effects.”
DACA recipients were invited to attend the show free. Chi said he wanted to reassure them they are valued and are not alone.
“It’s a statement to say that we’re with them. We’re on their team,” Chi said. “The kind of people that go to our shows are the kind of people who have that mindset already where ‘you’re our family; we’ll take care of you.’”
Making Movies was formed nine years ago and released their first album, A La Deriva (“to be set adrift”), in 2012.
The band is releasing its new EP “You Are Another Me” Dec. 1. The band is donating 10 percent of its proceeds from the album to the National Immigration Law Center.
Chi said they try to connect immigrants with organizations to provide practical assistance, but he believes the band’s performances can have equally important effects on people.
“We can try to connect you to the people that can help, but I think it’s more psychological,” Chi said. “It’s, like, have a night where you realize ‘there are people on my side, and not everyone’s against us.’”
Chi said the band has helped run an inner-city music camp with the Mattie Rhodes Center in Kansas City, Mo., for six years and is in the planning stages of launching its own nonprofit youth songwriter program in 2018. Chi said he wants to empower youth to express themselves through music.
“I think the most important thing music can do, and it does it better than any art form I’ve ever seen — it’s more direct, more focused — is give empathy,” Chi said.
“When you hear a love song, you feel the feeling of being in love for just a second. When you hear a heartbreak song, you can feel a person’s heartbreak. You feel that story. I don’t know any other art form that in three minutes gets you to that place and can bring you to tears.”
To learn more about Making Movies, visit www.facebook.com/mkngmvs.