Published On: Mon, Jun 3rd, 2013

Telling The Untold Story: Masters At Work

lillouieEver get one of those calls? You know the one you cannot believe connects the dots in such a perfect way. Well just a few weeks back, I got that call (that was a follow up to an email) inviting me to tour the Red Bull Music Academy. As the conversation progresses about scheduling and what artists would be where at what time… she mentions Masters At Work.

I was like seriously? 

For those who do not know…

Masters at Work is the house music production and remix team of “Little” Louie Vega and Kenny “Dope” Gonzalez. This very prolific duo with more names than P. Diddy created most of the anthems back in my clubbing days (circa 1988-1995) and in my opinion are the ones that should be credited with inventing the remix years before Bad Boy took Hip Hop by storm.

So I attended the Red Bull Music Academy Lecture series (in my Lil Louie hat) to listen to the story of two legendary Latinos in the music business. I was taken back that despite being an active part of their community for many years, I never knew their story.  We all know their music as it is timeless but one thing that struck me was that Latinos do not know this story. Many of us do not know the influence these two had on the music industry. Some of the Latinos present did not know they worked with the likes of Michael Jackson and Madonna. For me, the most compelling parts of this lecture is how they learned the business without anyone to really guide them as most of what they were doing as pioneers was uncharted territory in the music industry.

These stories need to be heard so although I took many notes, I wanted you to experience this moment for yourself. The people at Red Bull Music Academy were kind enough to give me access to the full video for me to share. (FYI – check out my question about mentorship and continuity of their legacy at the 1 hour, 43 minute mark)

Nobody tells the story like the icons themselves… listen to how these two Latinos took their music from NYC to a global stage but remained relatively unknown within the United States. Check the full video here!

buen provecho!

Shout out to my friends at Majestic Relations for the invite!

About the Masters At Work Lecture Series 

Their name says it all: Masters at Work. ‘Little’ Louie Vega and Kenny ‘Dope’ Gonzalez are celebrating more than 20 years together, shepherding dance music down new paths with their inventive production style and imaginative feel for different musical forms. Synonymous with the rise and peak of NYC house music, Kenny Dope and Louie Vega met through their mutual friend Todd Terry, resulting in a fruitful production partnership full of timeless hits. With remixes being their specialty, the Masters at Work treatment has been given to a diverse roster of artists, from Madonna, Debbie Gibson, and Lisa Stansfield to Saint Etienne, Michael Jackson, Brand New Heavies, and about 800 other artists. They defiantly mix everything they can find—house, hip hop, funk, disco, Latin, African and jazz—into a universal groove. In doing so, MAW has become a cultural mélange unto itself, emblematic of the multicultural society in which we live. Watch their lecture from the 2013 Red Bull Music Academy in New York.

For more info and access to more great music content…


If the video does not work… check it out on Vimeo here

Lecture: Masters At Work (New York, 2013) from Red Bull Music Academy on Vimeo.

The Red Bull Music Academy is a world-travelling series of music workshops and festivals: a platform for those who make a difference in today’s musical landscape. 

Two groups of 30 selected participants – producers, vocalists, DJs, instrumentalists and all-round musical mavericks from around the world – come together in a new city each year for two weeks worth of recording sessions, lectures by musical luminaries, collaborations and performances in the city’s best clubs and music halls. If you can imagine a place that’s equal parts science lab, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon and Kraftwerk’s home studio, you’re halfway there.

The Academy began back in 1998, and has been traversing the globe since: from Berlin to Cape Town, São Paulo, Barcelona, London, Toronto, New York and beyond.

Interested? Applications for the 2014 Red Bull Music Academy open early next year. Watch this space for more information.
Learn about previous Academy editions >
Read our FAQ >



George Torres
The Urban Jibaro
Cultivando Cultura since 1997…
Social Media | Branding | Event Management
Follow me on Twitter… @UrbanJibaro 



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Telling The Untold Story: Masters At Work