Maria Isa

Born and raised in the Twin Cities to NuyoRican parents, emcee, singer, and songwriter Maria Isa is recognized for her dedication towards celebrating her cultural diversity through music and political activism. Read more about Maria Isa.

Maria Isa is also profiled in a Twin Cities Public Television's mn original production. View the video.

The Ritmos of Malamanya Will Get'cha...You Bet'cha!

Posted by: Maria Isa Updated: November 12, 2010 - 12:00 AM


Malamanya performing at Hell's Kitchen. (Photo courtesy of Malamanya)

Malamanya performing at Hell's Kitchen. (Photo courtesy of Malamanya)




I sat down a few weeks ago with Malamanya, the latest salsa y rumba band in the Twin Cities at their cozy South Minneapolis' "Brownbag Studios." Getting to know a little more about a band who proves that using spoons as drumsticks, while banging on pots in pans in your Abuelitas kitchen is still something to be proud of.

Malamanya is made up of all acoustic instruments, grouped by local musicians percussionist Luis Alvaro Ortega- Castrellon and Jesse Marks; Tony Schreiner on up-right bass, Trevor May on the "Tres" and flamenco guitar; Jason Marks on trumpet and the lovely vocals by the beautiful Latina mujerona essence Adrianna Rimpel.
This corrillo brings so much sabor and heat that they make the Nomad World Pub feel like a jam session with the Buena Vista Social Club.  They can turn the Driftwood Bar dance floor into an El Barrio block party within minutes of playing, while striking listeners to continue on their night with a Fania after party.
Each member of Malamanya targets a bulls eye by resurrecting the spirits of Celia Cruz, Ramito and Joe Cuba;  while keeping Willie Colon's, Yomo Toro's and Johnny Pacheco's alive.
Schreiner takes leadership as the "conjuntos" musical director.  He came together with the vision of forming a group after being inspired by the "Negocios Lindos" mixtape. An album which features a variety of Fania composers such as Colon, el cantante Hector Lavoe, and Johnny Pacheco.  After hearing the NYC, DJ Fred Schmaltz compilation, he grew an obsession with Latin Music of the 1960s and 70s era.

"I played it as much as I could," explained Tony. "And eventually met up with Luis a year ago while he was playing for a SotaRico event."  Luis expressed his same excitement to Tony for the music which raised and inspired him.

"We started building the band from that momentum," recalled Luis Ortega-Castrellon who is of Panamanian and Puerto Rican decent.
"and through mutual friends, we were introduced to everyone else in the band. It came together like a domino effect, and we all get along great which is also a cool thing," vibes Luis, with a classic smile expressing his chill and one love vibe.

"Organically were heading to making our own original takes and making it work," stated Tony.



Adrianna Rimpel's soothing voice leaves you smiling back.

Adrianna Rimpel's soothing voice leaves you smiling back.


I was a fan from the moment I heard Adrianna Rimpel sing her first note, accompanied by the traditional strings played by Trevor May and Jason Marks on trumpet.  Adrianna's voice brings me back to the empowerment of women, when the rise of the Latina Soul was dominated by the sounds of la reinas Celia Cruz and La Lupe in Latin Music; but more toned down and settled to a mix of "Viva Chango's" Celina Gonzalez with a drip of Bonny Rae.  May's passionate playing will buzz you like a fine Shiraz, while making your heart pump faster to express life's "amor y pena." Jason Marks' trumpet nurtures you like an Arturo Sandoval stew sprinkled with Willie Colon's sazon.  Every member highlight each others performance. Luis' smooth Ray Barretto-ish hits and Ruben Blades vocal-swag, plays a key role parrelled with Tony's "cool-kat" swing on his amazing bass playing.  I admit my favorite part of their show is Malamanya's energy to get the crowd to participate in the mostly traditional, call and response cantos.  It placed me back to a child being raised by grandparents who played records, while cooking; singing about migrating, cross- culture living, struggle, faith and love with pride of being "jibarros," no matter where life placed them in the world.

"In every show we want to express, take our positive vibe to our fullest advantage, by creating a force to have all people relax, live, dance and have a fun time during this hectic stage in the economy," explained Trevor. "And continue to learn more, create more! Malamanya will learn our next path once we do it."

Tony Schreiner follows up, stating the mission of their music and performance is "to Preserve and inspire."

"Drink dance and..," Smiles Tony, "well you know," pauses as he drops the F-bomb.
We all laughed as Adrianna followed Tony's statement with
"okay lets just calm down now."

Along with having a good time, MalaManya also dedicates their sound towards bridging their support towards hope. Percussionist Jesse Marks is co-organizing their next gig at the XY and Z Gallery, which is a fundraiser to assist a child friend in Peru who underwent a life-threatening surgery. All proceeds of the event will be donated to help assist his medical treatments and expenses.

I look forward to dancing my night away soon to Malamanya's music and encourage you to keep warm with their ritmo.

Catch their show out on Friday November 12,  at the XY and Z Gallery, 9pm-2am with Dj Turtleneck

Check out their Youtube live performance at downtown Minneapolis' Hell's Kitchen

Join their music-fan page


Lowrider Mamis Music Video Released

Posted by: Maria Isa under Society Updated: May 24, 2010 - 2:42 AM


Maria Isa release the video for "Lowrider Mamis," showcasing WestSide pride. (Photo courtesy of Twin Films/SotaRico)

Maria Isa release the video for "Lowrider Mamis," showcasing WestSide pride. (Photo courtesy of Twin Films/SotaRico)


I am very excited to share the video for "Lowrider Mamis (Caddy Lincoln Chevys)," off of my upcoming mix-tape"Sip It!"  First, let me give you a personal explanation of the video's concept.....
I am dedicating this to the memory of MexiRican Cartel mix-tape and souvenir shop owner Judy Ojeda.  Who served as an activist for human rights and promoted me as a hip-hop artist in 2005; selling my very first mix-tape compilation "A West Side Story" with (my first) hip-hop crew Many Styles.  Judy passed away suddenly in October of 2009.  I am honored to have her family's support til this day (her kids are featured in the video).  She was passionate about her Mexican heritage and her husband's Puerto Rican heritage.  It was with her, that I shared with the idea of branding SotaRico, before establishing the company with my family and close associates 2008. 
I also dedicated the song to the memory of my aunt Miriam Perez, who was from the Bronx and always respected the pride of the Latino community and the arts.  She was a fighter (literally).  Miriam was a Nuyorican raised by the 1950s.  Her personality reflected the Earnest Lehmon "West Side Story" character Anybodys, styled with a hint of Patsy Cline, while spinning to mambo and salsa.  She always taught me how to defend myself in many battles growing up.  Especially against the boys in my family.  Her influence has most definitely been a strong force within me as a woman and artist in the music business.
I truly could feel their smiles and pride during the filming of this video. 
SotaRico worked closely with TwinFilms who directed, filmed, and edited the video, shot on the Westside with the support of District Del Sol's "Cinco De May" Lowrider Car Show on May 7th, 2010.  SotaRico casted many versatile crews who represent the Westside's hip-hop community along with appearances from Youthrive Live colleagues Dj Snuggles and Dancing Dave
Growing up on St Paul's Westside, I take pride of the influences that represent our small, but diverse and passionate community.  The lyrics for "Lowrider Mamis" creative process began with the concept of Lloyd Banks' and Juelz Santana's release of "Beamer Benz Bentley," (Produced by PRIME). 
"Lowrider Mamis" was recorded, mixed and engineered by Eddie Sancho  in Queens, New York. I wanted to "rep for the chicas of my barrio" who respect and honor our cultural pride towards the Urban Latino art of Lowrider Cars. 
Paying homage in the first verse to Queen Latifah's "Who you calling a bitch" lyrics in the classic U.N.I.T.Y. 

Director Griffin Larson (TwinFilms) played with the idea of "instead of capturing the traditional 'video-hoes'vixens' (as Lloyd Banks and Juelz Santana did), we wanted to represent Maria Isa's image as 'the mami MC' with respect from the neighborhoods' "Papi-Cholos."   
I was Inspired by Lloyd Banks's phrase "my jeans are never empty," in Beamer Benz Bentley.  The inspiration came as a driving force to flip it and represent for the females who rock their fashion designer handbags with "Gucci, Prada, Fendi, Coach bags (are) never empty."   
I am working in NYC, recording my mix-tape and promoting Street Politics for the upcoming BMI showcase on July 6th, 2010 with my band in New York City's S.O.B's. This was an extra special treat to go back home to the Twin Cities and spend time working in the community that has helped raise me.  This video project truthfully was a pride to carry back and represent in the Big Apple.
Sit down relax and sit in our lowrider.....bounce up and down! I hope you enjoy it.
Paz, pa'lante y "WESTSIDE!".......
Maria Isa



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