Friday, January 7, 2011

The Many, Many Cumbias

Later this month, on January 27, Afropop will air it’s first Hip Deep program of 2011. It’s called, “Three Cumbias: Norteño, Chicha, Villera and the Internationalization of Cumbia.” It’s about cumbia, that ever-present Pan-American groove. Through conversations with scholars, musicians, and other people who know things, we’ll try to figure out how and why one slinky Colombian rhythm has spread so far and wide to become the common musical denominator of the Americas, from Tejas straight down the spine of the Andes to Tierra del Feugo.

Then we’ll see how it took root in different countries in all these different shapes – from effect-laden, psychedelic cumbias in 1960s Peru to chopped-and-screwed cumbias in present-day Houston.

Shortly after, we’ll air a program about new youth music from Colombia, looking at bands that are drawing on Afro-Colombian roots as source material for all sorts of crazy modern-day pop music. At the same time, we’ll look at the phenomenon of digital cumbia and the recent vogue among DJs, bloggers and assorted cool people for all things cuuuumbia.

So far, we’ve spoken to a whole lot of highly interesting people: Colombian cumbia scholar Héctor Fernández L'Hoeste, Argentinean cumbia villera expert Pablo Vila, digital cumbia peddler Grant Dull, chicha enthusiast Olivier Conan, sonidero experta Cathy Ragland, the inimitable DJ Rupture. And lots more to come.

Here on the Afropop blog, I will be periodically dropping delicious cumbia bombs from around the internet, and posting updates as we get deeper into the research and production of the show.

To start things off - here is a YouTube crash course harvested from around the cumbiasphere:

From the father of modern Colombian cumbia, Lucho Bermudez:

Tripped-out Peruvian chica from Los Destellos:

Synth-laden cumbia villera (translates roughly as: slum cumbia) from Argentina, by Damis Gratis:

Monterrey master Celso Piña, playing a Mexicantake on Colombian cumbia:

 Systema Solar, one of the young Colombian groups making cumbia fusions today:

And last but not least, an example of some of the hip-hop/cumbia mashups littering the internet, this one from Kinky Electric Noise:

Ghostface Killah - Dime Luna (Kinky Electric Noise Cumbia Nativo Remix) by Kinky Electric Noise
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