Even though the whole neo-cumbia thing is more of a DJ thing, there are a few artists of the hybrid new sub-genre that are a lot more interesting live than in record. Fauna is one of them. Not that their album is bad, but after I saw them live the night before (wow!), listening to the CD in the morning was a little disappointing.
Originally from a small town in Mendoza, in the Argentinean Andes (for those who thought neo-cumbia was only a cosmopolitan city thing) these two guys produce their tracks and then rap (or shall I say toast?) on top of them. Their approach to cumbia comes from a dancehall perspective but they don't sound Jamaican at all, and that's a compliment. They descend from at least two generations of Latin American artists that incorporated the characteristic Jamaican style of flow that they used to call raggamuffin long before the reggaetón phenomenon hit the fan. So their toasting is more influenced by the likes of Mano Negra, Todos Tus Muertos (maybe even El Gran Silencio) than say Capleton or Buju Banton.
The lyrics aren't bad either, they are mostly funny, playful, horny adolescent rhymes with plenty of witty moments. And the beats, oh the beats are the shit! If M.I.A. was more into cumbia and less into Favela Funk, she would probably sound kinda like this.
The only problem is that they have just one gimmick and they repeat it all across the eleven tracks of the CD and I was probably expecting some surprises or unexpected turns. All the songs sound very much alike and from a DJ perspective, I need more distinction if they expect me to include more than just one in my set. So far I've been playing "Canibal," which I love (it was included in the Cumbia Digital compilation, recently published in vinyl too!) now I'm more into "Gauchito Gil". Besides those two, the rest, like I said, it's more of the same. Buy it here.