I just got back from Sonar in Barcelona. It was mucho fun. My third visit to the festival. In between necking rioja and staggering around tapas bars I managed to see some music.
El Guincho's percussive thunderstorm sounded great in an afternoon alcoholic haze. Tropical FXs and infinite Canary Island psyche loops under the Spanish sun.
Highly recommended summer listening is his Fader mix.
(pic from Dani Melo flickr)
How did Diplo follow Madness's Baggy Trousered crowd pleasing antics. With Baile funk. Good. I had my first ever taste of funk four years ago at Sonar when DJ Marlboro kicked my ass. A small victory for the funk sound then - 4 years later its still alive for the Euro festival masses. Three tracks in a row, Gaiola do Popozudas, Sandrinho's Organ Donor remix and something else. Hearing funk on a massive soundsystem to thousands was amazing. Shame it was in a sterile aircraft hanger sized building, only for about 10 minutes. I wanted more though the following Crookers remix of Day 'n' Night was immense. Couldn't help feeling that it would have been a bit more forward thinking for Sonar to book some of the Nuevo Cumbia DJs rather than Justice or Soulwax or whatever. Maybe next year.
Buraka Som Sistema were an absolute power house of a shear kuduro assault. Full marks from Vamanos. A new girl replaced Petty whose name I missed. She was an awesome mc backed by double drumming from L'il John & DJ Riot. A new track Kalemba, listen here, was fierce. The sound of kuduro knocked at my door in a big way. And made me go deaf unfortunately. Literally. My hearing hasn't yet recovered. It was bloody good. Don't worry though, you can imagine you were there with this incredible phone pic I took. or not.
NEW BIT - Listen here
Saturday, 28 June 2008
Monday, 23 June 2008
(Photo from Carlos Restrepo's Flickr account)
All Cumbia heads and Colombiaphiles must watch the documentary EL Acordeón del Diablo.
A friend let me borrow the DVD the other day and now I can't get it out of my head. This is the beginning of it:
One of the styles that I've been hearing out of Panama that most catches my ear has been what I hear as a Vallenatoish Reggaeton hybrid.
I dig Cumbia, but always also really loved Vallenato sound.
In Panama, the acordeón songs are called Pindin, and the dance is Típico, but are probably very influenced by the people of the valley since they are so close, and since Panama was part of Colombia until about 100 years ago.
Check out these vids:
Aldo Ranks-Las Pompas
Eddy Lover-Ya tu no vales la pena
Jimmy Bad Boy-Bailando
This music is so interesting to me right now. I wonder if Aldo Rank's shout to Colombia is acknowledging the two countries shared history, or perhaps acknowledging a population of Colombians in Panama.
As before I'm still intrigued by the Panama-Mexico connection. Colombian music has been popular in Mexico for years. Now, Mexico seems to really be on to Panama music, and even becoming a sort of proving ground for wider international success.
Click here for an amazing resource on Latin American acordeón musics.
Panmanian Típicoton: Real Phantom - Resignate
Saturday, 14 June 2008
This round up we gwan mainstream cumbia-techno-rave-trance-synth-reggaeton.
Like I said before, my Nigga from Panama is featured on a ravy cumbiaton track of the new A.B. Quintanilla project, Kumbia All Stars.
The story of A.B.'s former group, Los Kumbia Kings, is one ripe for a telenovela with a bitter break-up, ensuing beef, and claims that payola is a big part of a rival's success.
As Puerto Rican reggaeton seems to be heading off into new territory, and Panamanians are reclaiming the roots of spanish reggae, nuevo cumbia, taking cues from both, is in the right place for a mainstream global taykeova in the "urban" latin listening audience (as already evidenced on this site and many others.) Perhaps in the minds of many Latinos, reggae and cumbia have always been related. My girlfriend said that when she was a youngster in Bolivia, they used to call El General cumbia, and when I listen to "Tu Pum Pum" today, I hear how they could feel the cumbia rhythm inside the reggae beat (as I hear reggae in the first cumbia songs I heard.)
Since the break up of Los Kumbia Kings, Cruz Martinez and A.B. Quintanilla started their own cumbia super groups, Los Super Reyes and Los Kumbia Allstars. (I like their naming strategy!) With two of the biggest hits on the radio here on La Kalle in San Francisco, there must have been some formula in their camp that works, but as any hip hop fan knows, a good beef and a little (un?) friendly competition can be quite beneficial for the listening audience. As different camps try to out do each other, creativity can come from just wanting to out-do their former homie.
Here is one track from Los Super Reyes, one from Los Kumbia Allstars, and one Cumbiaton track from a couple years ago, remixing another Panamanian reggae song by la Factoría.
Thursday, 12 June 2008
Wednesday, 11 June 2008
Grant from Zizek has sent me this hot new cumbia mixtape from El Hijo de la Cumbia featuring loads of fresh Argentinian psychedelic beats for lying in the park, sun in your eyes. Its very good. The album, Freestyle de Ritmos, is out soon.
Head to Buenos Aires for pics, talk and cumbia life.
El Hijo de la Cumbia - La Ventana Esta Abierta Mixtape (direct download)
03_Cambie la Historia_ElHijodelaCumbia
04_Como te Voy a olvidar_Angeles Azules_vs_ElHijodelaCumbia
05_Viento_Aron y su Grupo ilusion_vs_ElHijodelaCumbia
06_Homeja Al Dj Taz_ElHijodelaCumbia _Mix
El Hijo has a blog
And here is a video from Mexican band, Viento Calido, who I posted a track by here. I think they're kind of a boy band but whatever, check out the stomping!
Buy the album
Saturday, 7 June 2008
A few months ago a friend emailed me pointing out the name of the popular latin artist Nigga. After doing some poking around on the net I discovered that Nigga is Panamanian and got his name because someone said he sings like a Jamaican. Probably in a move not un-similar to the Nas album name decision, his name was changed to DJ Flex, for the U.S. market, in fear of offending the United Stateseans (and not Jamaicans?!)
I've been hearing a lot of DJ Flex on the radio, with his hit "Te Quiero" and his collaboration with Los Kumbia Allstars "Por Ti Baby" (which is a quite ravey-sounding Cumbia that I'll post later.) Plus, whenever I hear "Panama!" or someone sing "Panama Music" my ears perk up, so I've been watching for this dude.
Panama music is on the rise in the US mainstream. Mach & Daddy, El Roockie, Factoria, Eddy Lover, DJ Flex, and Macano all have hits on my local radio that compete with the Puerto Rican mainstays. They're names aren't so familiar to the English market yet, like Daddy Yankee but people are speculating that they will be soon.
International Superstars Mach & Daddy
My love for Panamanian music is in its fusions, a result of the country's mixed cultural identity and history. The style that crooners such as Eddy Lover, DJ Flex, and Macano do is refered to as Reggae Romantic Style a la perhaps what is known in the UK and Jamaican circles as Lover's Rock. Mach & Daddy and La Factoria have blasted into the international market with high energy Reggae-Soca hybrids, and folks like Aldo Ranks and el Principal are probably not far behind. Plus, you can't forget the hardcore dancehall from the likes of Kafu Banton, or Japanese, or the classic early Spanish Reggae from the likes of El General.
Check out this great round up (with sound clips!) of current Plena in Panama from Larnies Bowen who is a fulbright scholar from the U.S., sent in collaboration with MTV to do some studying on the Afro-Antillean community in Panama and the wonderful music called Reggae!
More on this coming soon...
Wednesday, 4 June 2008
Always a good day when the cumbias are flow into the inbox courtesy of the good people at Bersa Discos. Their second cumbia battle weapon comes to you direct from Buenos Aries via Bay Area.
Bersa Discos #2 brings yet more heavily innovative cumbia gone trance/bass/crunk/something else amazing.
Argentina's DJ Negro ways in with this hammer featuring Tego & B-Real.
DJ Negro - Mundo Querido
and the ever excellent cumbionic talents of label co-boss, Oro 11 with Lemonade.
Oro 11 - Pibes Walk It Out
Limited edition vinyl available at Turntable lab
If you are in the San Francisco area, go to the release party with a first ever SF appearance by South Rakkas Crew. That line up alone makes me want to leave the UK joining Brian McBride (you served us proudly) and leave these shores for a new US home.
Tuesday, 3 June 2008
DJ Speedhy is an excellent congolese Coup Decale beatmaker from Lyon and makes bangers. Lots more tracks to download on his Skyrock blog. Please enjoy this mammoth freestyling style over fifty. As Speedhy says himself KONGOSTYLE.
DJ SPEEDHY - AFROTEKNOLOGY FEAT. 50 CENT 2008
Sunday, 1 June 2008
The other night I was driving home late after a gig and on the radio they were playing un anuncio sobre la llegada del Grupo Kazzabe y los Silver Star to the Bay Area. The fast Punta tracks took me by surprise and I almost drove off the road!
Punta music is something that I find people sometimes love or hate. Andy Palacio, the Garifuna cultural ambassador that passed away earlier this year was a former Punta star and I read in a write up about his concert that I attended last summer, that he had moved from "poppy" and "less refined" Punta to Garifuna folk. Which is cool, but it seemed like they were implying that Punta, a more globalized-hybrid form of music, was in some way inferior. (Article spotted via W&W.)
That said there are nuff Hondureños y Belizanos, en la Bahia y California, and as Andy said, Garifuna all over the states. I asked one of my students, that had tagged "H Town" on the side of the center where I work (making sure for our collective safety,) if it was a gang related tag. He laughed and said, "no man, Honduras." I then (with a sometimes too eager desire for a chance at cultural solidarity) replied, "oh, so you listen to Punta?" He looked at me funny and said with his best deep South U.S. Drawl, "whatchu you know bout Punta?"
Free Shyne! (A Belizean, Garifuna!)
Perhaps this is an instance of the type of Globalization Andy Palacio, Grupo Wama, and Kwame Anthony Appiah are talking about. Individual people make decisions in their lives that effect the cultural richness and diversity of the world. We want to be modern but at the same time acknowledge our historical cultural richness. This is a struggle I can strongly relate to.
Here are a couple Punta tracks to bang out at whatever place you like to play music.
No Olvidemos lo Nusetro-by Grupo Wama (zshare)
Nasagura-by the Punta Rebels (zshare)
Buy Punta Music:
Los Silver Star
Buy Andy Palacio Music