Suenalo Celebrated 21 Years in Style

Last week at the Miami Beach BandshellSuenalo celebrated 21 years of musical mastery, treating the audience to a nostalgia-filled journey that transcended time. The band’s roots were planted over two decades ago, when a group of talented musicians were brought together by Phil Maranges, who sadly just passed away recently. Maranges sought to create a unique fusion of sounds reflective of Miami’s diverse cultural tapestry, and found support in the idea from fellow musicians like Tony “Smurphio” Laurencio, who was living in the same “Monkey Village” artist commune in Little Havana at the time.

Suenalo’s impact on the South Florida music scene has been profound. Far beyond performing as a band, they became a cultural movement fostering a camaraderie among local musicians that is still strongly felt 21 years later. Blending Afro-Cuban, jazz, funk, and more to create a distinctive Miami sound, they like to refer to it as “Afro-Latin baby-makin’ descarga funk.” Their infectious energy and genre-blurring compositions quickly earned them a reputation as the quintessential Miami band, uniting audiences from all walks of life and fostering a sense of unity through the universal language of music.

The concert was a heartwarming tribute to the Suenalo journey,

featuring classic tracks as well as some of their newest ones, soon-to-be-released. The crowd, a mosaic of Miami’s diverse residents, danced and swayed to the familiar beats and soulful melodies. Even for the short bout of light rain, the audience’s gleeful energy was never dampened. Anyone who participated in Miami’s musical landscape of the early 2000s recognized more than a few special guests that joined the group on stage. From past members like Michelle Foreman, to Tomas Diaz of Spam Allstars, Afrobeta’s Cuci Amador, and an appearance by the Miami Bloco bateria, there was so much talent on display in one show. For a fleeting moment, it felt like old times, a testament to the enduring power of Suenalo’s music.

A heartfelt congratulations and thank you are due to Adrian Gonzalez who played a key role in orchestrating the evening, along with Amin De Jesus and the entire Suenalo crew—past and present. Their dedication, perseverance, and commitment to the Miami music scene have left an indelible mark on the city’s cultural landscape. Their influence extends beyond their genre, inspiring a new generation of musicians to explore the boundless possibilities of musical fusion.

Here’s to Suenalo—may your beats continue to echo through the Magic City for years to come, reminding us of the vibrant and eclectic spirit that defines Miami’s musical identity. Thank you for the nostalgia, the rhythm, and the timeless magic that brought us all together for a night of pure joy.

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Yuval Ofir

Yuval Ofir is a Creative Project Director, Consultant, Cultural Advocate, and all-around Miami Ambassador who launched Yo Miami in 2011.