Celebrated keyboardist Money Mark to headline Concierto321

Money Mark.jpg

The worlds of comedy, acting and music are populated by unsung heroes. They are not household names. But they are beloved by the people in their industries.

Such is the case with Mark Ramos Nishita, otherwise known as Money Mark.

In the 1990s, he helped to reshape the sound of hip-hop when he started collaborating with the Beastie Boys on their landmark record "Check Your Head."

The distinctive organ on “So Wat'cha Want” is just one example of Mark's impact on the group. Their collaborations would continue on “Ill Communication” and “Hello Nasty.”

He co-wrote several Beastie Boy songs and, to many, Mark was known as the fourth Beastie Boy.

“There’s a bunch of fourth Beasties," said Mark. "Rick Rubin. DJ Hurricane. Mario C. Dust Brothers. But I’m in that group. So I’m proud.”

Mark continued to work with the Beasties up until the death of Adam Yauch, otherwise known as MCA, in 2012. In the interim, Mark never stopped making his own critically acclaimed records.

He went on to become a highly respected session player and producer. Based in Los Angeles, Mark has been a part of several soundtracks. He's also toured the world and recorded with everyone from the Jack Johnson to Sean Lennon. Most recently he was playing alongside David Byrne of the Talking Heads in a project called the Atomic Bomb Band.

Last month, he was in Mexico City taping an MTV Unplugged with Molotov.

And next week, Mark will be performing in Ciudad Juarez as part of an annual fundraiser called Concierto 321.

“So we also raising money for this great cause but it’s going to be a really fun Cinco de Mayo fiesta," said Jenny Dowdy, a spokeswoman with the local non profit Progress 321.

The third-annual concert will raise money for the FEMAP Foundation, a nonprofit that works to improve access to healthcare for those living in poverty along the border.

“So the money from this event will go towards helping the FEMAP Foundation open a women’s clinic in Juarez," said Dowdy. "Obviously a very needed service to help with screening, diagnostics a lot of things they are lacking over there.”

The concert next week will be on the rooftop patio of FEMAP's nursing school in Juarez. It's located right in downtown Juarez, across the Paso Del Norte bridge.

“It’s a really convenient seven-minute walk from the Santa Fe Bridge," Dowdy said. "We can go in a group. There’s always people who meet from our Progress321 committee and walk over together.”

Along with Money Mark, this year's lineup includes some local talent, including indie-pop band Great Shapes. The concert will also feature singer Amalia Mondragon, who earned a Latin Grammy nomination for her work with the group The Chamanas.

For his part, Mark is promising a fun show that he says will include funky covers and improvisational jams.

“Again it’s going to be really fun event," Dowdy said. "A Cinco de Mayo fiesta with food and drinks and great musicians.”

Concierto321 featuring Money Mark is happening next Saturday, May 5 at 6:30 pm. Tickets are $75 and they include food and an open bar.

For ticket information click here.

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