Andres Levin

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Andres Levin
Born Caracas, Venezuela
Genres Latin, Pop, Rock, R&B
Occupation(s) Producer, film maker, song-writer, musician, composer, philanthropist, arranger, guitarist
Instruments Guitar, bass, keyboards, programming
Years active 1980–present
Labels Funmachine
Associated acts Yerba Buena, Cucu Diamantes, Chaka Khan, John Legend, Natalie Merchant, David Byrne, D'Angelo, Caetano Veloso

Andrés Levin is a Venezuelan-born American record producer, band leader, film maker, recording engineer and philanthropist. Levin won a Grammy award in 2009 for his production of the In The Heights Cast Recording.[1] His Grammy nominated[2] Latin fusion band Yerba Buena was founded along with Cuban-American singer Cucu Diamantes.

Levin has been called the "master-chef of urban fusion" by the Los Angeles Times.[3]

Early life[edit]

Levin was born in Caracas, Venezuela. Since his father is a musician and producer as well, Levin was surrounded by music.[4] He began playing guitar at age 10 and was soon immersed in the musical world. In 1988, Levin took advantage of a full scholarship at Berklee School of Music in Boston, Massachusetts before studying composition at Juilliard in New York City. While in New York, Levin worked at Skyline studios and was soon hired by producer Nile Rodgers as a full-time Synclavier programmer and arranger. With Rodgers, Levin worked with artists such as the B-52's, Diana Ross, INXS, and The Vaughan Brothers.[5]

Yerba Buena[edit]

Together with Diamantes, Levin formed the band Yerba Buena. Before Yerba Buena, Levin had worked in several disparate genres, including R&B, soul, and Latin. Levin said that the same year the band was founded, he and "CuCu were in Nigeria, Cuba, and Bahia... [and] those influences combined to form the Yerba Buena sound."[6] Levin has also said that even though Yerba Buena "experiments with many influences, the basis of the group is inspired by the African and Cuban diaspora, where both worlds meet. The music is a bridge between the two cultures."[6]

Music Has No Enemies[edit]

Founded by Levin and Diamantes, Music Has No Enemies is a non-profit organization that is designed "to usher the entertainment industry in a new direction toward the widespread promotion of philanthropy." The organization has worked on several projects to promote social justice and political activism:

  • Red Hot and Cuba at Brooklyn Academy of Music-World Aids Day 2012[7]
  • TEDxHabana
  • Grammy Foundation-Grammy Career Day at Pace University
  • Orphaned Star Fish
  • Innocence in Danger
  • Life is Precious
  • Plastic Pollution Coalition
  • TED.org


TEDxHabana 2014[edit]

Andres, along with Diamantes and Perugorria organized the fist ever TEDx conference in Cuba, TEDxHabana took place on November 15th 2014 and will continue to be a yearly (or bi-yearly) event. [8]

Field of Dreams Festival[edit]

On July 24, 2010, Levin and the Bruce High Quality Foundation[9] produced and curated Celebrate Brooklyn! Presents Field of Dreams (Un Mundo Nuevo) in Prospect Park in Brooklyn, New York as a production of Music Has No Enemies. The festival showcased DIY artists and performing artists from around the world, including Luis Guzmán, Keziah Jones, Cucu Diamantes, Pablo Picasso, K-SISE, and Janka Nabay.[10]

Podemos Con Obama[edit]

In 2008, Levin brought together many prominent Latin musicians to make a video inspired by his work on will.i.am's "Yes We Can" video in support of Democratic party presidential candidate Barack Obama. Celebrities such as Luis Guzman, Lin Manuel Miranda, Jessica Alba, Paulina Rubio, Alejandro Sanz, John Leguizamo, Don Omar and many others participated. The video currently has more than 350,000 views on YouTube.[11]

The Price of Silence[edit]

In 2008, Music Has No Enemies produced Amnesty International's "The Price of Silence", a commemoration of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Many international artists and activists such as Stephen Marley, Aterciopelados, Natalie Merchant, Yerba Buena and Hugh Masekala filmed a video of their collaborative song set in the UN.[12]

Content-OS[edit]

Content-OS, founded by Levin, is a full service creative content company that brings high art to social impact. Founded as a strategic partner of Music Has No Enemies, Content-OS designs and manages projects at every scale that strengthens the core values of its partners through music and other forms of media. Paying close attention to the specific goals of clients, Content-OS is focused on producing and promoting superlative content that directly benefits the needs and mission of its partners.[13]

I'm Alive[edit]

In a unique collaboration produced by Andres Levin, world-renowned musical artists Caetano Veloso and Lenine, Criolo, Emicida, Pretinho da Serrinha and Sistah Mo Respect along with many other celebrated Brazilian musicians and filmmakers spent three days in Rio de Janeiro's Floresta da Tijuca, part of Parque Nacional da Tijuca (that supported the project by offering its landscapes to film) creating "I'm Alive" a multimedia expression of our relationship to nature filmed, composed and recorded in the rainforest.[14][15]

Music Heals[edit]

In 2012, Levin and the Content-OS team brought Music Heals to the Texas Children’s Hospital for a day of musical healing through collaborative songwriting and recording. Levin's team consisted of "Gustavo Galindo, blues/country singer Marsha Hancock, guitarist David Garza of Austin, composer/arranger Stephen Barber, drummer Brannen Temple of Austin and vocalist Suzanna Choffel."[16] This was done in collaboration with Lopez Negrete and Purple Songs Can Fly.

Farm to Turntable[edit]

In August of 2013, Levin and his team brought inner-city kids to McEnroe Organic Farm to learn about food production. A week later, they attended a freestyle workshop at El Museo del Barrio where they learned about turntablism and traditional farming music, and used what they experienced out in nature to write and record an original hip hop song about sustainable agricultural practices and healthy living.[17]

Contribution[edit]

In 2012, MHNE and Content-OS in conjunction with Grammy in the Schools, led an inspiring workshop at Pace University for Grammy Career Day empowering NYC high school students through an impromptu songwriting workshop.

Film[edit]

In 2012, Levin produced his fist film alongside Sarah Green, Amor Cronico. Directed by Jorge Perugorria, the film follows flamboyant Cuban-born / New York based singer-songwriter Cucu Diamantes on her tour around Cuba. The film interweaves footage of live music performances and a fictional love story narrative. An energetic display of Cucu's glamorous performance style with a fresh Latin pop soundtrack and a comical twist, Amor Cronico is a unique portrait of a Cuban artist traveling back to her roots.[18]

Advertising[edit]

Levin has been involved in the music for advertising industry since 1995. In the fall of 2009 he launched Pirata (with Canadian partner Pirate)[5] to provide sonic branding and audio post production for all aspects of broadcast audio, such as original music and licensing, sound design, full service radio production and 5.1 mixing.[19] Since its creation, Pirata has provided work for Dr. Pepper, Verizon, Miller, Heineken, Cablevision, Kraft, Ritz, and Kohl's.[20]

Discography[edit]

Studio albums[edit]

Year Album Role Notes
2014 Fonseca, Jon Batiste, Rise Up Producer
2014 Miguel Bosé, Amo Co-producer
2014 Coreon Du, Binario Producer
2012 Miguel Bosé, Papitwo Co-producer
2012 John Legend, Red Hot and Rio 2 Producer, Co-writer
2011 Fonseca, Ilusión Producer Winner of 2012 Grammy: Best Tropical Fusion Album / Nominated 2013 Latin Pop Grammy
2010 Natalie Merchant, Leave Your Sleep Co-producer
2010 Ana Torroja, Sonrisa Producer
2010 Aleks Syntek, Métodos de Placer Instantáneo Co-producer
2009 In The Heights Cast Album Producer Winner of 2009 Grammy: Best Cast Album
2009 Cucu DiamantesCuculand Producer
2009 Beatriz LuengoCarrousel Producer
2009 Paulina Rubio, Gran City Pop Producer
2007 Miguel Bosé, Papito Co-producer Nominated for 2007 Latin Grammy
2007 Yerba Buena, Follow Me Producer/ Writer
2007 Orishas, Antiodiotico Producer Produced five songs; three 2007 Latin Grammy Nominations
2006 Marisa Monte, Universo Ao Meu Redor Producer
2006 Eliane Elias, Around The City Producer/ Writer
2005 Yerba Buena, Island Life Producer/ Writer
2005 Orishas, El Kilo Producer Nominated for 2005 and 2006 Latin Grammy: Best Latin Alternative Album
2004 Ana Torroja, Essential Producer/ Writer Produced and wrote four songs
2004 Paulina Rubio, Pau-Latino Writer Wrote one song, "My Friend, My Amigo"
2003 Yerba Buena, President Alien Producer/ Writer Nominated for 2003 Grammy: Best Latin Alternative Album
2002 Lenine, Falange Canibal Writer Wrote one song, "Dolores." Won 2002 Latin Grammy
2002 Red Hot and Riot: The Music and Spirit of Fela Kuti Co-producer Produced nine songs
2001 Bilal, 1st Born Second Producer Produced one song
2000 Daniela Mercury, Sol Da Liberdade Producer
2000 Ana Torroja, Pasajes de un Sueño Producer/ Writer
1999 Ana Torroja, Pasajes de un Sueño Producer/ Writer
1996-1999 Arto Lindsay, The Prize, Mundo Civilizado, Noon Chill, Hypercivilizado, Invoke Producer/ Writer
1998 Aterciopelados, Caribe Atomico Producer Nominated for 1998 Grammy: Best Latin Rock
1998 Los Amigos Invisibles, The New Sound of the Venezuelan Gozadera Producer
1998 El Gran Silencio, Libres y Locos Producer
1998 Carlinhos Brown, Omelette Man Producer
1997 David Byrne, Feelings Producer Produced two songs, "Finite=Alright" and "The Civil Wars"
1997 Deborah Blando, "UnicaMente" Producer/ Writer/ Musician Produced songs, "Unicamente" and "Gata"
1997 Marta Sánchez, "Azabache" Co-produced/ Writer/ Musician Co-produced songs, "Moja Mi Corazón" and "Lampara Mágica"
1996 David Byrne and Marisa Monte, Red Hot and Rio Producer Produced one song, "Waters of March"
1995 Chaka Khan, The Woman I Am Writer
1995 Doro, Machine II Machine Producer/ Writer/ Musician Co-produced and co-wrote four songs
1995 Jennifer Love Hewitt, Let's Go Bang Writer One song, "The Difference Between Us"
1994 Cece Peniston, Thought 'Ya Knew Producer/Writer One song, "Through Those Doors"
1991 Mica Paris, Contribution Writer/Producer (with Camus Celli)

Film[edit]

2015 Aztec Warrior Composer
2015 Spare Parts Soundtrack Music Producer, Composer
2014 Bocaccerias Habaneras Composer
2013 Se Vende Executive Music Producer, Composer
2012 Amor Cronico Film Producer, Executive Music Producer, Composer
2007 Ladron Que Roba Ladron Composer
2007 Borderland Composer
2004 Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights Composer Three songs used
2003 Cheaper by the Dozen Composer "Guajira (I Love U 2 Much)" used
2003 Honey Composer "Guajira (I Love U 2 Much)" used
2003 Chasing Papi Composer "Electric Boogaloo" used
1999 Red Hot and Lisbon Producer Produced five songs

Television[edit]

Year Album Role Notes
2008 Heroes Original Soundtrack Composer One song, "Maya's Theme"
2006 South BEach Composer Wrote Theme Song
2004 Entourage Composer
2003 ER Composer

References[edit]

  1. ^ "In the Heights Cast Recording Wins Grammy; Hudson and LuPone-McDonald "Mahagonny" Also Win". Playbill.com. Retrieved 2014-08-10. 
  2. ^ "Yerba Buena - Profile of Funky Yerba Buena". Latinmusic.about.com. 2014-03-04. Retrieved 2014-08-10. 
  3. ^ "An intimate tribute to a mother's legacy - Los Angeles Times". Articles.latimes.com. 2005-08-21. Retrieved 2014-08-10. 
  4. ^ [1][dead link]
  5. ^ a b "Andres Levin Partners With Pirate To Launch Dedicated Multi-Cultural Company: Pirata | Creative Planet Network". Blog.digitalcontentproducer.com. Retrieved 2014-08-10. 
  6. ^ a b "Andres Levin’s Musical Playground". The Morning News. 2006-03-03. Retrieved 2014-08-10. 
  7. ^ "Mix-and-Match Ensemble Erases Borders With Enthusiasm : ‘Red Hot + Cuba’ at Brooklyn Academy of Music". The New York Times. Retrieved 2014-08-10. 
  8. ^ [2][dead link]
  9. ^ "» AO on Site – New York: The Bruce High Quality Foundation's 'Field of Dreams' Saturday, July 24th, 2010 in Prospect Park, Brooklyn - AO Art Observed™". Artobserved.com. 2010-07-26. Retrieved 2014-08-10. 
  10. ^ [3][dead link]
  11. ^ "Podemos Con Obama - Yes We Can with Obama". YouTube. 2008-05-29. Retrieved 2014-08-10. 
  12. ^ "Price of Silence". YouTube. 2008-12-03. Retrieved 2014-08-10. 
  13. ^ "Untitled-1". Content-os.com. Retrieved 2014-08-10. 
  14. ^ "Caetano Veloso Leads Brazilian Cast for ‘I’m Alive’ Rainforest Alliance Project: Watch". Billboard. Retrieved 2014-08-10. 
  15. ^ ""I'm Alive": A song for Brazil's rainforests". Rainforest Alliance. Retrieved 2014-08-10. 
  16. ^ Luks, Joel. "Music that heals: Texas Children's Hospital cancer patients send a ... - CultureMap Houston". Houston.culturemap.com. Retrieved 2014-08-10. 
  17. ^ "Andrew Freedman Home - Farm to Turntable Video". Andrewfreedmancomplex.com. Retrieved 2014-08-10. 
  18. ^ [4][dead link]
  19. ^ [5][dead link]
  20. ^ "Pirata New York". Pirata New York. Retrieved 2014-08-10.