Whether vintage or futuristic, tinged with rock, punk or electro, this music that mixes all South American cultures has brought the whole world to its heels. The proof by seven.
For ten years, we have heard only her: inscribed in the Afro-Hispano-indigenous DNA of the entire South American continent, the frenetic cumbia has spread all over the world and ended up making everyone agree , from the most advanced dancefloors to the pop scene – Shakira, Rosalia, Stromae, Bernard Lavilliers… Vintage or futuristic, rock fusion, punk or electro, there’s already something for everyone and counting. A select genre review of porous guinche music conducive to all changes.
1. “Cumbia Cienaguera”, by Alberto Pacheco
“The boys dance the cumbia because the cumbia excites / The cumbia Cienaguera which is danced with suavity”, sings the Colombian Alberto Pacheco. First recorded in the 1960s and often covered in Latin America, this Barranquilla song has traveled all the way to the West on digger compilations. We love its charm oldschool and its no-frills style: this binary rhythm that grabs your hips as soon as the “tchi-tchi-tchi-tchi” of the maracas begins, the frenetic drums, the nasal voice escorted by a saucy accordion… it’s all there!
2. “La Candela viva”, by Toto La Momposina
Toto La Momposina, sometimes nicknamed “queen of cumbia”, embodies its most rootsy, albeit enduring, tradition. Born on the banks of the Magdalena River, the 81-year-old Colombian diva has indeed remained faithful to the mixed-race folklore of her village on the Caribbean coast. His powerful and heady voice mingles with African drums, Andean flutes and the frenzied rhythms of merengue or chalupa. Her stage performances in swirling and colorful dresses are as much a dance of joy as a shamanic incantation.
3. “Sampuesana”, by Los Dinners
The Sampuesana, here taken over by Los Dinners in 1975, is one of the favorite cumbias of Mexican sonideros (DJs), who manipulate the tempo on their turntables to adapt to the guinche pitch in force in their sound systems. Emerged in Mexico City and Monterrey in the 1960s, this fashion for rebajada, “slowed down” cumbia, is today documented by a compilation at Analog – Saturno 2000. Languid synths, joyfully depressive accordions, ghostly voices… in slow motion, cumbia becomes an immersive experience, almost mystical in psychedelia.
4. “Balada borracha”, by DJ Quantic and Nidia Gangora
Moving to Cali, English musician, DJ and digger Will Holland, alias Quantic, is a fan of vintage cumbia sourced from local markets, but also a fusion producer keen on tropical groove and fuzz guitars. With Nidia Gangorra, an Afro-Colombian singer rooted in the traditions of the Pacific coast, he walks in the wavering footsteps of drunkards, for a Stroll Borracha baked in the sun and with a very seventies aesthetic.
5. “Cumbia del pichaman”, Meridian Brothers
Handyman of sensational collectives (Ondatropica, Los Pirañas, Frente Cumbiero), unique member and false brother of the Meridian Brothers, the producer from Bogota Eblis Alvarez is the brilliant professor Tournesol of nu-cumbia: a follower of technoid delusions, psychedelic bondieueries and bizarre sounds, prompt to the most whimsical experiments. On his latest album, Cumbia siglo XXI, he thus transforms the American standard Son of a Preacherman (Dusty Springfield, Aretha Franklin…) to meow the pleasures of the flesh in a profane effusion of kitsch synths and distorted harmonies.
6. “Chiquilin”, by La Cumbia chicharra
The ten French and Chilean musicians of La Cumbia Chicharra have germinated in Marseille a cumbia in Mediterranean fusion whose luxuriance has nothing to envy to its tropical cousin. Armed with brass and synths, a güiro scraper and an accordion, they pave their urban jungle with cosmopolitan vibrations and moist reverb that invite you to wet your shirt. And again prove that the graft can take in an exogenous environment.
7. “Acidosa”, by Prince of Queens
From the tropicalist house of acidosis to the Afro-Caribbean techno haunted by its Cumbia by los sombras (“cumbia for shadows”, with Hellotones & Sonidera Blues), the young New York producer Felipe Quiroz, aka Prince of Queens, is also moving the lines. With drummer Dilemastronauta and singer Carolina Oliveros, he composed the soundtrack for a rave party in the Amazon, in tune with the trance of the roots.
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Playlist: seven Cumbia tracks to ignite the dancefloor
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