Art Basel Concert Series: The Sound of Unity

By Kendall Green
Dec 11, 2018

December in South Beach is always magical. A balmy air envelopes the streets, welcoming art and culture aficionados from around the world to end the year at Miami’s Art Basel. A neon glow from the city beyond casts a sunset of colors across expanses of crystalline surf. The pulsing lilt of electronic music spills out of galleries, beckoning to everyone out on the streets.

For us at Habitas, South Beach is the perfect backdrop for any cultural gathering. Which is why we partnered with the Faena Festival to host a performance by Habitas founder and musician Eduardo Castillo and his musical collective, Mardeleva, on December 9, 2018 at the Faena Theater.

Our goal was to build something bigger than just a musical performance or art event. Drawing on the Faena Festival’s larger theme of socio-political healing and unification, it was only appropriate for us to bring our community together for a healing bath of sound, lights and sensuality.

There were more than 600 RSVPs for a space that held 250. The queue stretched around the block. But while the space was at maximum capacity, it retained the intimacy that is the hallmark of all Habitas experiences. Projected on the walls, images of Tulum’s verdant jungle. On the dance floor, lush pillows and Persian carpets. On the balcony above, Habitas members sipped cocktails with an expansive view of a sumptuous velvet-draped stage.  

The lights dimmed. The show was starting.

Eduardo Castillo (vocalist and keyboard) began the performance with an ethereal melody. Toygun Sozen (wind instruments), Bogdan Djukic (violin, harp, percussions and vocals), and special musical guest Nacho Arimany joined the thread one by one, weaving into a wave that flowed across the stage and into the crowd. What followed was an electrifying collaboration of downtempo vocals and trance beats. It was impossible not to dance.

Oversized sugar cubes of light, stacked atop each other and synced to the sound, guided the crowd deeper and deeper into the experience. The installation itself was a synching of its own — Castillo had just met its creator, Alexander Green, founder of Symmetry Labs and creator of Burning Man’s acclaimed Tree of Teneré, only two nights before. This represented the very essence of our celebration: the reunification of our human tribe and the expansion of our Habitas family through sound, soul and, of course, a touch of serendipity.

By 11:11pm, Mardeleva switched gears from improvisational melodies to something a bit more anthemic: ‘Africa,’ by Toto.

“It's gonna take a lot to take me away from you...” the crowd sang out in unison.

The song choice was a cheeky nod to our mantra of togetherness, a summary of all the things we stand for at Habitas: coming together in unity as a family.