ZUMIX Radio Unpacks Gentrification

ZUMIX’s Radio Street Team set out to capture the sights and sounds of East Boston this spring.  What they saw and heard up close were tweeting birds, neighbors at the park, sidewalk conversations in Spanish and English and doors peeling with history.  Among these familiar senses were some new ones: cranes along the harbor, construction debris falling into dumpsters, evidence of the real estate development driving up rent prices in our neighborhood.
Our Radio Street Team wanted to tell this pressing story of gentrification from the perspective of young people, for whom the threat of housing displacement has big implications.  We wondered: How much do youth know about what is happening to housing nearby and how do they learn about it?  How are youth feeling about theses changes in our neighborhood?  What do young people think we can do to find solutions for equitable housing?  What makes a strong community for us?
To start to find these answers, the group conducted interviews with other youth organizations, including the East Boston Ecumenical Community Council’s Aspira program, Neighborhood of Affordable Housing and the East Boston Social Center.  We also heard fromCity Life/Vida Urbana, a housing justice organization that hosts weekly support meetings and free legal aid out of Our Savior’s Lutheran Church on Paris St. 
We are feeling evidence of displacement and also hope for a more just housing environment.  We’d love to hear how our story shifts your ideas about this issue, and invite you to learn more about the Jim Brooks Stabilization Act, an ordinance currently under review by Boston City Council that seeks to reduce no-fault evictions and improve city data on evictions. 
For more information on the Jim Brooks Stabilization Act: http://www.justcauseboston.org

Local artist Alisa Amador, records first EP in ZUMIX studio!

By Angelina Botticelli, 16, Events Intern 

At ZUMIX, local music is a key component to exposing our youth and the community with new up and coming artists. Local artist, Alisa Amador, who recently finished recording her first EP in the ZUMIX studio, found herself in this situation through a series of events that worked so perfectly together, you know it was meant to happen. In early 2016, a ZUMIX staff member stumbled across Amador at a local show at Inman Square’s Lilypad and immediately reached out to have her play an upcoming show at ZUMIX alongside The Ballroom Thieves and ZUMIX’s own Miyagi And The Kids.

a1574536891_16“Before finishing my set, I mentioned that I was crowdfunding to record my first EP. Once I got off-stage, [they] approached me about recording at ZUMIX. It is not very often that one gets asked to record at someone’s studio. Plus, I love ZUMIX for everything it does and stands for, and wanted to become a part of its legacy in some small way by recording there. I stopped looking for studios after that day, and am so glad that I did,” Amador said.

Recording in the ZUMIX studio is mainly dominated by our youth, through programs like Recording Lab, which teach young people ages 12-18 music technology skills. Projects like Amador’s are held after hours and are run by the same sound engineers that teach our students.

“We’d be in the studio until we couldn’t keep our eyes open any longer, but nobody wanted to stop. It was so much fun, we laughed a lot. I felt a tremendous amount of support and patience from everyone at ZUMIX as the EP slowly took form. It was a sad moment when we realized we were done. We were all like, ‘Is it really over? Can’t we just do this all the time?’” Amador said.

We asked Amador to explain what a favorite moment of hers was during the recording process.

Amador said, “After we finished laying down the final track, none of us wanted to leave. Joe Ziemba, the engineer, said, ‘come check this out,’ and brought us to the back stairwell with a guitar. The natural resonance and eco of the stairwell was just fantastic, and we jammed out there and improvised a song all together. It was a really sweet moment.”

Recording in the ZUMIX studio was just the first step in the next chapter of Amador’s music. It was a joy having her use the space and we can’t wait to see where she goes from here!

Stay Updated! 

The release of Amador’s EP has yet to be announced but you can stay in the know through her Facebook here and through her GoFundMe page here!

listen to previous singles Amador has released off her band camp here!


Staff Picks: Top Albums of 2016 Pt. II

This is Pt. II of this year end list. If you missed Pt. I – check it out here!


At ZUMIX, all of the staff have one thing in common: music moves us. In our space, all tastes are welcomed and that is truly something to be celebrated. As a student, you are encouraged to bring the music you love to the classroom whether that be a video game theme song, the latest from Bruno Mars, an old favorite from Nirvana, or anything in-between. As staff, we like to share whenever we get a chance. With this year coming to a close, we thought we’d take this opportunity to share with you.

Enjoy Part II of our picks from this year and perhaps find something new to love on both a national and local scale. Cheers to more great music in 2017!

A Tribe Called Quest – We Got It From Here…Thank You 4 Your Service

Like every classic Tribe album, this one defies simple descriptions. Jazz feels funk with clever vocals coming from familiar voices. Old school nostalgic feel with modern day themes. Even the title states to sit back and relax, they got it. – Corey DePina, Staff

Ali McGuirk – Ali McGuirk

Ali McGuirk packs a punch! Her sound combines deep 60’s soul/funk with a decidedly modern twist, simultaneously catchy and deep. Off the charts, raw talent, Ali surrounds herself with the most soulful players in town. Her 4-song debut EP is one of my go-to favorites of 2016. – Madeleine Stecynski, Staff

Lady Lamb – Tender Warriors Club

I love the bare bones vocals and guitar. No autotune. A little rough around the edges, which I like because it adds to the emotional content of the songs. – Jenny Shulman

Bruno Mars – 24K Magic

No question. It’s everything I love and miss about 80’s and 90’s R&B in one album. – Brandon Allen, Staff

It’s hip, funk…retro…takes me back to my kid years …the album is ageless… – Gaby Perry, Board Member

Car Seat Headrest – Teens of Denial

Teens Of Denial is largely a collection of the quiet thoughts from the dark spaces within ourselves. Will Toledo puts the spotlight on them, narrates them, and creates dynamic musical beds for them to rest upon. Throughout this record you will be up, down, angry, and exhausted; sounds just about right for 2016. – Jeeyoon Kim, Staff

Aoife O’Donovan – In The Magic Hour

Aoife O’Donovan’s takeaways from her eclectic background in genres ranging from jazz, to bluegrass, to classical all show up with bells on in her second full-length solo release. With a collection of songs grappling with the tensions between wanderlust and loneliness, loss and connection, all elevated by her always buttery-warm vocals, this album has stayed on repeat from top to bottom all year long. – Anni Leff, Staff

Krill – Krill

A collection of songs Krill was putting together before their sudden break-up. The EP kicks off on an unexpected light and upbeat tone, a stark contrast from their previous record’s brooding mood, that makes listening to these songs post-break up so bittersweet. – Ramsel Gonzalez, Staff

Xenia Rubinos – Black Terry Cat

I’ve had this album on repeat for the past 72 hours. Xenia Rubinos draws on indie rock, hip-hop, jazz, Afro-Carribean beats and and funky rhythms to create her own inventive sound. Her lyrics are smart, funny, biting, and political, and she delivers them all with an incredible voice. – Sarah Saydun

Beyoncé – Lemonade

We tried to pick the under-appreciated and less well known albums of 2016, but we would be remiss to leave Lemonade off the list just because of its well-deserved hype. An admin-office favorite, Lemonade was exactly the pro-feminist, black lives-affirming, anthem-packed album we needed to lend some sparkle to a crazy year. – Anni Leff

Staff Picks: Top Albums of 2016 Pt. I


At ZUMIX, all of the staff have one thing in common: music moves us. In our space, all tastes are welcomed and that is truly something to be celebrated. As a student, you are encouraged to bring the music you love to the classroom whether that be a video game theme song, the latest from Bruno Mars, an old favorite from Nirvana, or anything in-between. As staff, we like to share whenever we get a chance. With this year coming to a close, we thought we’d take this opportunity to share with you.

Enjoy Part I of our picks from this year and perhaps find something new to love on both a national and local scale. Check back in later this week for Part II of this list!

Tacocat – Lost Time

If you like your feminism with a side of pop-punk riffs, 90’s sci-fi references, and soooo many cats, this album is for you. I’ve listened to it on repeat for a month and I’m still not sick of it. – Kelly Baker, Staff

David Bowie – Blackstar

Somehow haunting yet irresistibly groovy – Bowie breathes epic soundscapes from beyond death. As usual he is fearless, and boundary defying – joined by the thoroughly monstrous members of Donny McCaslin’s jazz group. – Dan Fox, Staff

BLACKSTAR by Bowie, released three days before his death, was: (contradictions intended) elegant, enigmatic, authentic, dense, focused, new, and true; a blistering beautific swansong — as the song from the sessions (not included in the album but used for LAZARUS the show) lyric from “No Plan” zen-fully sings — “this is not quite yet.” – Ed Meradith, Staff

Wes Buckley – Eggs

Wes Buckley is a mystical-folk infused rock and roll musician who is as prolific as he is talented. His latest release, Eggs, explores themes of flying and the supernatural elements of everyday life. Shifting through a variety of perspectives, the overall sound never loses it’s sensitive and satisfying voice. – Scott Mizrachi, Staff

Weyes Blood – Front Row Seat to Earth

Reminiscent of 60s folk and 70s soft-rock, with synthy and new-age embellishment, Weyes Blood layers powerful vocals, celestial melodies, evocative lyrics, and intricate instrumentation that feels both nostalgic and distinctly new. This is a gorgeous album — psychy, haunting, and tender. – Sophie Kazis, Staff

Weezer – Weezer (White Album)

Very Beach Boysish – and for a band that has been around for a while, very fresh and fun. Of course, I already love Weezer – but there is not a song on it that I would skip. – Steve Snyder, Board President

Vulfpeck – The Beautiful Game

It’s more of the Vulfpeck magic. I can’t get enough of them. – Joel Edinberg, Staff

Mitski – Puberty 2

NYC-based Mitski Miyawaki sheds light on the strength that lies within vulnerability. Puberty 2 journeys through the day-to-day struggle of maintaining happiness if we’re lucky enough to feel certainty in knowing what that even is. – Jeeyoon Kim, Staff

The Avalanches – Wildflower

A DJ collective from Australia that features great guest artists (Danny Brown, Camp Lo, Father John Misty, and even Biz Markie) rapping or singing over eclectic samples mixed in with original live instrumentation. It has this crazy fun vibe because it surprises you over and over as you listen. It also has what I can safely say is my favorite video of the year– Jenny Shulman, Staff

Chance The Rapper – Coloring Book

I love this album too much. It’s uplifting, soulful, introspective, and also great to dance to. Chance covers topics like nostalgia for childhood, having a child (and openly loving his fiancé!) making positive changes in life, and counting your blessings. On top of all that, it’s an anthem to independent artists everywhere. In the words of Corey DePina “listening to this album is like adding color to the blank page in your soul and allowing you to color outside of the lines because it’s all okay.” – Sarah Saydun, Staff

Check back in later this week for Part II!

Community Portraits: Fran Rowan


In the fall of 2007, ZUMIX Radio journalists in the Reality Radio class interviewed a number of East Boston activists, creating the Community Profiles series. This Community Profile is about the late Fran Rowan, a lifelong activist and community leader dedicated to building a healthier East Boston, equipped with accessible, quality healthcare services, as well as vibrant art and culture for all.