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

Staff Picks: April 2017

Staff Picks - Apr 2017All month long, the team here at ZUMIX has been campaigning for our annual Walk For Music! Before the end of this month, we need to get to $40,000 to keep our teen programs free and low-cost for Boston youth. Our work s imply isn’t possible without support from individuals like you – will you support us?

No good campaign is without a soundtrack. Check out this month’s edition of staff picks that have been keeping us going all month long.

“Good Lava” by Esperanza Spalding

“I can’t get enough of this song; the background vocals at the end, especially, are so energizing!” – Anni Leff, Development Associate 

“Christine” by Martha

“Gritty & romantic pop punk at its finest.” – Kelly Baker, Development & Communications Manager

“DNA” by Kendrick Lamar

“He just dropped an album that I have to take some time to think about it. It’s deep.” – Corey DePina, Songwriting & Youth Development Manager

“Sweet Life” by Frank Ocean

“This song is just one of those things that never gets old & vibes with you the right way everytime you listen. As an artist, I appreciate the musicality and musicianship that’s put into this song not only by Frank but everyone who worked on it. Definitely my fave from the album.” – Angelina Botticelli, Events Intern

“Celebrate” by Little Dragon

“You can dance to it but its also experimental and makes you think. Little Dragon channels Prince across time with a loop machine. Thats the only way I can describe it.” – Jenny Shulman, Program Director

“I Was Around” by The Craters

“Astral projection//somewhere between the bedroom and the garage.” – Scott Mizrachi, Volunteer Coordinator

“Land Of The Free” by Joey Bada$$

“This song is a very accurate in portraying the state of America at this moment in time, specifically for African Americans and other minorities.” – Dawry Ruiz, Communications Intern

“Indecision” by Sampha

“Sampha has been my running artist lately, particularly this track – ‘Indecision’ – whose title I find relatable and whose piano chords make me want to throw my hands up and scream ‘the world is beautiful!'” – Brittany Thomas, ZUMIX Radio Station Manager

“Chanel” by Frank Ocean
“This song is so smooth and catchy, I love singing along.” – Mario Jarjour, ZUMIX Teen Council

“Comin’ Undone” by Sarah Jarosz

“This song grooves so hard despite the absence of drums, and the lyrics are a motivational reminder to just keep pushing.” – Brian Paulding, Teaching Artist

“Adult Diversion” by Alvvays

“The happiest song about being sad.” – Gabi Barroso, ZUMIX Teen Council

“You’re Welcome” from the Moana Soundtrack 

“I’ve been listening to this song a lot because it’s a really fun song to dance to and so up-beat. I love the entire soundtrack, but this song is my brother’s favorite so I play it the most.” – Janna Ramadan, Development Intern

Join us on April 30 for our annual Walk For Music! Find all the details here.

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 – March 2017

Staff Picks - Mar 2017

Anyone else feel like time is speeding up on us this month? Whether you’re training for the Boston Marathon, hyped up over March Madness, or just trying to play catchup now that DST stole an hour from us – take refuge in music for some grounding. Check out the latest selections curated by the ZUMIX staff for some inspiration. Happy listening!

“Cops Come Looking” by Spirit of the Beehive

“This song has a solid grasp on creative song writing and dynamics that allows me to never feel bored. This song is not cyclical. There is no verse, there is no chorus. It is a long midnight drive headed nowhere.” – Ramsel Gonzalez, Program Coordinator & Business Administrator

“Me and Magdalena” by The Monkees 

“A beautiful song, and a name nod to our newest AIM teacher, Magdalena. This was written by Benjamin Gibbard (Death Cab for Cutie) for the first manufactured ‘boy’ band that bit the hand that fed…from 2016’s Good Times.” – Ed Meradith, Teaching Artist

“Leave Me Alone (ft. Manu Chao)” by Calypso Rose

“A great modern calypso song by a legendary calypsonian who, well into her 70’s, is putting out hits with some of today’s biggest artists.” – Brian Paulding, Teaching Artist

“For Light” by Jay Som

“I haven’t stopped listening to this album since it started streaming online, I can’t stop. Everybody Works is full of comfort songs, and this album closer is perfect for exhaling.” – Jeeyoon Kim, Community Arts & Events Coordinator

“Them Changes (featuring Flying Lotus & Kamasi Washington)” by  Thundercat

“I love the production on this song, it’s a very cool arrangement, I can’t get the bass line out of my head, and I really like Kamasi Washington.” – Joel Edinberg, Z-Tech Mentor

“On + Off” by Maggie Rogers

“Because it makes me want to dance in a sad kind of way. And there’s one part with a syncopated rhythm that always gets me.” – Brittany Thomas, ZUMIX Radio Station Manager

“Apple Trees” by Blitzen Trapper 

“This is what happens when country bumpkins use analog synthesizers.” – Scott Mizrachi, Volunteer Coordinator

“Honeycomb” by Kadhja Bonet

“Featuring artful lyrics and a soulful groove, this track manages to transcend genre boundaries in the best way possible.” – Magdalena Abrego, Teaching Artist

“Clandestino” by Manu Chao

“Manu Chao brings the fire and raises the voices of the migrants who are pushed to the margins. ‘Soy una raya en el mar!'” – Avi Salloway, Live Sound Coordinator

“Baptized in Fire” by Kid Cudi

“This song is my definition of “mildly lit”. It has a very passionate flow to it, and the song gets you just get into the lyrics.” – Dawry Ruiz, Communications Intern

“Remember The Rain” by Kadhja Bonet

“Listening to this album makes me think about gardening, and I don’t even like gardening, but this album makes me want to sit in one.” – Anni Leff, Development Associate

“Largam da mon” by Jenifer Solidade

“Got to spend a few days with her in Cape Verde and she was so humble. sweet and talented.” – Corey DePina, Youth Development & Performance Manager


“I’ve been listening to this song a lot while walking around Somerville on sunny late winter days, and really appreciate how it layers on top of my experience of life, enhancing what I’m looking at. Like I’ll listen to this song and everything around me is more beautiful. That’s kind of a magical thing.” – Kelly Baker, Development & Communications Manager

Stay tuned for next month’s playlist!



Staff Picks – February 2017

Staff Picks - Feb 2017.png

February vacation is right around the corner – what a perfect time to put some headphones on and melt into new music. Check out this month’s edition of musical selections that our team has stamped off with a seal of approval. Missed January’s picks? Check them out here.

“In Two” by Mini Dresses

“Mellow dreamy lofi popsong.” -Scott Mizrachi, Volunteer Coordinator 

“Drop” by Chloe x Halle 

“Haunting. Original. This sister-duo act (signed to Beyonce’s label!) is incredible.” -Kelly Baker, Development & Communications Manager

“Genius” by Sammus

“Sammus’s lyrics are raw and real, and I love her flow. I’ve been so into this whole album lately.” -Sarah Saydun, Pathways Coordinator

“Paradise Fell” by Kaia Kater

“Just a woman, her banjo, and a handful of activist ballads- what more could you want?” -Anni Leff, Development Associate 

“No Crying in Baseball” by Mothers

“Strength and vulnerability are not mutually exclusive. I am still learning to not apologize for and instead embrace my own sensitivity – Mothers was just able to put a soundtrack to it first.” -Jeeyoon Kim, Community Arts & Events Coordinator

“Wander” by Icebird (RJD2 and Aaron Livingston)

“This entire album makes me dance.” –Kramer Gibson, Teaching Artist

“Good Morning” by Peter Ram

“This is my favorite soca song from the 2017 Carnival season. It was a big tune in Trinidad and Tobago’s annual Panorama competition, and it has been really fun to hear arrangements and performances of it by some of the world’s best steel pan ensembles.” -Brian Paulding, Teaching Artist

“Back Pocket” by Vulfpeck

“The moment the ooey-gooey vocal harmonies of the chorus come in, I can’t help but sway back and forth and tell myself, ‘life is good.'” –Ramsel Gonzalez, Program Coordinator/Business Administrator

“Sister” by Angel Olsen

“This almost-eight minute anthem — introspective and yearning — unveils a journey through quiet realizations that swell into a wailing guitar solo and echoing exit line: ‘All my life I thought I’d change.'” -Sophie Kazis, ZUMIX Radio Program Coordinator

Staff Picks – January 2017

Staff Picks - Jan 2017.png

The new year means new things, right? At ZUMIX we often find music as a top tier source of inspiration, motivation, and overall good vibes. With that in mind, we are starting a new monthly tradition and are proud to present you with the first edition of a monthly round-up of what our staff is listening to these days.

Scroll through the list that see what’s inspiring everyone from our grant writers to our teaching artists, youth staff, and more! Be sure to tune back in each month to see what new things are  bumping through our speakers. Happy listening!

“Lucky I Got What I Want” by Jungle

“This song (the whole album, in fact) is the perfect soundtrack for my commute to work.” – Kelly Baker, Development & Communications Manager

“Freedom” by Rose Cousins

“Rose’s music is so personally honest, and her voice is so beautiful, I always feel calm and warm listening to her sing, only wishing I could write as well as she does.” – Anni Leff, Development Associate 

“Drew Barrymore” by Sza

“This song connects to so many of my emotions and it makes me feel apart of something bigger than myself.” – Angelina Botticelli, Events Intern

“The Bird” by Anderson .Paak

“This song is enjoyable to anyone, specifically for me it is so soothing to hear in the morning, but Anderson .Paak still has so much soul in his voice that it has enough energy.” – Dawry Ruiz, Communications Intern

“Keep Your Name” by Dirty Projectors

“This song slows me down and I am thankful for that.” – Jeeyoon Kim, Community Arts & Events Coordinator

“Jealous Sun” by Parker Millsap

“I love the delicate nature of the song and the lyrics – how it begins and ends not with a strict tempo, but with the pace of tired breathing.” – Brian Paulding, Teaching Artist

Human Body Feel” by Skinny Bones

“A collage of sampled sounds and words, this super weird, super fun dance tune is a reflection on the one-sided nature of portraying one’s experience through art. The lyrics are a cut-up poem put together by transcribing hours of field recordings, printing out the words, cutting them up, and rearranging then rearranging them. Also, there’s pan flute.” – Sarah Saydun, Mass Promise Fellow, Pathways Coordinator

“Ricky (Caught Me Tryin’)” by Spirit of the Beehive

“With their slightly jarring use of five repeated chords in the main progression, it gives the song a constant rising tension that is quickly resolved. The song’s 2:22 runtime makes me want to listen over and over again due to its catchy chromatic melody.” – Ramsel Gonzalez, Program Coordinator, Business Administrator

“Paul” by Big Thief

“A wistful, lilting love ballad of what could have been.” – Sophie Kazis, Radio Program Coordinator

“Why They Had to Kill Him” by Stooges Brass Band

“I got to travel to New Orleans this month and can’t get the brass band rhythms out of my head — especially for this awesome second line turned international touring band, who mix traditional brass with hip hop.” – Brittany Thomas, ZUMIX Radio Station Manager

“Slow Rider” by Cuddle Magic

“Beautifully groovy.” – Dan Fox, Technical Director

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