If you grow up in the capital of the most euro-centric country in Latin America, you assimilate from a very young age this mainstream idea that all Latin folklore sucks, by definition, and you should exclusively listen to whatever is the current trend in the London and New York clubs. Traditional Latin sounds are for country hicks and immigrant maids.
At least that's how it used to be for my generation. Nowadays things are changing. Post-devaluation, young, hip Argentinians have learned to look inward, at least some of them, and rediscover the richness of the forgotten musical traditions of the past, reformulating them through the use of modern technologies. The guys of Doña María are a good example of this trend.
They share this serious, respectful, artsy, third-worldist approach to Latin folk sounds with artist like Axel Krygier, Gaby Kerpel, or -the recently reviewed in this blog- Lulacruza. And like them, they include classic Colombian cumbia as part of their repertoire, but don't focus exclusively in this genre. Hence, their version of neo-cumbia is quite different from what we're used to, because it's very irony-free; maybe a little too much.
I can totally understand their preference of Colombian "real" cumbia over its Argentinian bastard offspring. But being from Morón City (in the wild wild west of Buenos Aires), it's hard to imagine that somebody can be so immune to the influence of local cumbia and its inner tackiness and grittiness, which if you ask me, it's there all the fun resides.
Anyway, their cumbias might be a lil' too clean, but they are still very fun to listen and dance to. I particularly enjoyed the dubby cover of "Perdí Las Abarcas" and their version of "El Pescador" which reminds a lot me of Bomba Estéreo, and that's a compliment.
Doña María released their first self-produced album earlier this year and sold out so they're re-releasing it now with a couple of remixed bonus tracks and new artwork. Unfortunately you can only buy it in Argentina so far, but hopefully that will change soon.
Here you have a couple of free downloads:
Doña María - Malanga (Shino Remix)
Doña María - Doña María (Santi Capriglione remix)