City of Sun

While most music released right now is heavily produced, some bands have headed in a different direction. Enter City of the Sun, a three-member band that has taken simple instruments and created something spectacularly original.

Guitarists John Pita (steel string), Avi Snow (classical), and percussionist Zach Para (Cajón) met while each of them was becoming acquainted with the New York City music scene. They were going to a lot of EDM shows at the time and they wanted to emulate its style using their acoustic instruments. They first gained recognition in 2011 while playing their raucous and lyricless music in the streets and in the subway.

City of the Sun’s time spent busking would eventually reward them with paying gigs and sellout shows. Through the years they have stayed true to their roots, kept their music raw with an uplifting spirit, and traveled to over 20 countries sharing their sound. Tomorrow, City of the Sun will headline its first show at the Belly Up. The band opened at the local venue once before for a G Love and Special Sauce show.

While City of the Sun has traveled extensively, the group wants to see more and continue expanding. City of the Sun released multiple EPs before recording its first album in a Brooklyn church in 2016. The album was put on tape in one day as the members played together and no one was more surprised than they when it debuted at No. 12 on the Billboard jazz chart.

The trio had always viewed its music as worldly, understanding it as a mix of Spanish, flamenco and jazz, but never thought that it was jazz enough to make the jazz charts.

“I think what we do comes from a melting pot of everything we do, everything we listen to everything we grew up on,” Pita told Riff Magazine. “Nothing we do is conscious, as in, ‘we want to sound like … jazz or like flamenco.’”

City of the Sun just finished recording its second album, which contains 12 songs. Instead of releasing all of the songs together, the band opted to release one song each month for a year to keep their fans intrigued with new material.

All of the material thus far was recorded without lyrics, but the band would like to change that on its next album. The group doesn’t necessarily want to add a singer to the band but has several people in mind with whom they would like to collaborate.

The most important thing to City of the Sun is staying true to its craft. They don’t want to overthink it and prefer to let come of it what comes. Their vibe was cultivated in the streets of New York City and the band misses those times, wishing they had the time to busk more.

City of the Sun is sure to have a long career, mostly on stages, but if you are lucky you might run into them someday in a subway or at a park. They are a young band that has played together for a long time, and they are sure to impress tomorrow at the Belly Up.

John Zelazny accidentally deleted the tag line he was going to use for this column. He appreciates your comments at