Sunday, May 30, 2010

Digging: More 45 rips for y'all!

As I promised on this post, there were more vinyl rips coming up. Once again, the quality isn't the best and the song's are not all particularly great. They're just some stuff that I've been able to find and add to my ever expanding collection of cumbia 7''s (a format that, if you live in the United States, it's not the easiest to collect unless you're able to go shopping to Colombia or Peru or are willing to pay ridiculous shipping fees). Anyway, the previous selection of rips had so many downloads that I guess it was quite a success, so here, there's more love to share.

Los Curramberos de Guayabal-La Banda Está Borracha/La Calle Peligrosa (Miami Records, date unknown): "La Banda Está Borracha" is one of those classic cumbias (paseito to be specific) that has been covered many times, to the point that it's hard to guess who's the original author. Back in Argentina, where it was covered by Los Wawancó, this was one of the very first cumbia hits to be adopted as a soccer hooligan chant and a staple at wedding parties. I think that the most well known version of it is the one by Alfredo Gutierrez, but some people say the original was the one by Los Corralleros De Majagual (the name of this group is a clear rip off this other one). Anyway, this classic 60's song made it all the way to current neo-cumbia more than once. Una Mas Trio used its melody for "Balkumbia" and Palov & Mishkin sampled it (Gutierrez version) in "Et De Clarinete."

Los Mayorales De Adolfo Echeverria-Cumbia del Caimán/Cumbia En Llamas (Melody/Sonolux, date unknown): This one is an odd find. Both songs are rip-offs of other famous songs. "Cumbia del Caimán" is like an unofficial sequel to the classic "Se Va El Caimán," which by the way, is the very first cumbia I have recollection of singing along as a kid (thanks prima!). In "Se Va El Caimán" (once again I don't know the original author, but I know it was covered by El Cuarteto Imperial) they told us the story of an alligator that was leaving on his way to the city of Barranquilla, in Northern Colombia. Then they came out with this "Cumbia del Caimán" (probably to capitalize on how people called "Se Va El Caimán" when they asked for it in the record stores) where the alligator is returning from Barranquilla after getting married. Yeah, this people smoke a lot of pot when writing lyrics. Anyway, the track on the other side is even more curious, in this case instead of the lyrics main character they ripped off the whole melody (just changing the key) of another classic cumbia, probably one of the biggest classics of all time "La Pollera Colorá," one that's been covered ad infinitum (and also was adapted by early neo-cumbia in the cover by Gonzalo Martínez). Here the lyrics don't talk about any red skirt, but the song structure is exactly the same one, so if you don't understand Spanish, you might actually think you're listening to the same song.

Conjunto Africa-Cumbia de los Amantes (Pearless, 1980): I go by one basic rule when it comes to buying used records "buy anything that has the word Africa in it, unless it's Toto." These guys are not African at all, not even Afro-Colombian, I think they are Mexican, in fact they are very well known in Mexico for being the authors of "Los Luchadores" a cumbia about masked wrestling that I used as an intro for my Linyerismo Episode II megamix. This "cumbia of the lovers" is definitely not as cool (and bizarre) as the aforementioned, in fact, it's just a filler track, but it does have an pretty good loopable break. Side B was a bolero so I didn't waste my time ripping it.

Super Grupo "Colombia"-Amores de Mayo/Cumbia y Tambor (Discos Lalo, date unknown): Same thing here, I'm pretty sure these "super group" is not "Colombian" at all, in fact, they are 100% Mexican. But this is how confusing the world of cumbia recording is, people claim to be from places they are not, sing uncredited covers and rip-offs, records have very little or no information at all about the artists, not even recording date. These are two generic cumbias, one of them, "Cumbia y Tambor" has a great sampleable loop that I plan to use sometime soon, but there, I post it so you can use it before me.That's how generous I feel.

Grupo Marina Perla-Al Calor De la Cumbia (Gamma, 1976): I know nothing about these kats, so I'm not even going to pretend. I just bought it because it had the word cumbia in the title of one of the tracks. I also think they are Mexican but I'm not sure, at least that's were the record was pressed. The song is ok, but I just love the percussion intro, I listen to it again and again and it makes me wish I had two copies to do backspin... and the skills to do so right. Highly sampleable. There's another decent track on side B but it came defective, it snaps twice while playing, so I didn't rip it. That's it for now. I'll be back with more soon.

Grab a bag of goodies here.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Cumbia Beat Volume 1 (Vampi Soul, 2010)

Perú has always been a land of musical mystery for those of us who grew up in other countries. Lots of amazing cool music keeps coming out nowadays from the land of the Incas that historically only exported those Andean folk pan-flute bands that play on the sidewalks of every touristic downtown, worldwide.
I mean, outside from that and some Afro-Peruvian artists like Susana Baca and more recently Novalima, the only other Peruvian musician I've ever known (and take in consideration I grew up in a neighbor country) was this seven year old girl who became an internet sensation thanks to her ultra-mega-bizarre songs about titties and booze.
But then, a couple of years ago, out of nowhere this New York-based label, Barbés Records, came out with a compilation of something called "chicha," a guitar-driven psychedelic version of cumbia that was developed in the second half of the sixties and throughout the seventies in remote hills far from Lima, way into the Peruvian Amazonia. That was the bomb, it unleashed a worldwide chicha fever (right around the same time cumbia was gaining recognition among the non-Hispanics thanks to the remixing work of Mexican and Argentine DJ's). As a result of that, other compilations came out, the amazing work of artists like Juaneco & Su Combo and Los Destellos, that were widely marginalized even in their homeland, was finally being released abroad for the very first time... four decades after it was recorded. Then the guys at Barbés took things one step further and started their own chicha band, in New York; Chicha Libre plays covers of classic chicha songs of the likes of Los Mirlos, along their own compositions sung in a rudimentary Spanish with funny accent but with impressive musicianship (watch out because there's even a Chicha Libre 7'' split out there).
Now the next step in the chicha fever has arrived with this incredible compilation by Spain-based reissues label VampiSoul. If you've never listened to any chicha in your life, this is the perfect entrance to that bizarre world of psychedelic sounds were the classic güiro-based percussion collides with surf guitar resulting in a largely instrumental accordion-free type of cumbia that could perfectly fit the score of a Tarantino flick.
I just downloaded this comp a couple of hours ago and I listened to the whole thing (there are 25 tracks!!!) and it's all pure amazingness, the sound quality is great and guess what, it's released in vinyl too, in Europe at least. But the main reason I loved it so much is the gorgeous cover art. Myself being a huge fan of comic book art applied to record covers (duh! look at all my mixtapes!) I have to declare that this is, so far, the best cover for a cumbia record I've ever seen and if I could I'd buy the vinyl only to frame it and hang it on my wall.

Available on emusic, junodownload, amazon and all other regular digital music outlets.

Friday, May 28, 2010

GOTAN PROJECT-Tango 3.0 (Ya Basta-2010)

On this blog's first post, when I reviewed Bajofondo's "Mar Dulce" I bluntly declared that the whole electronic tango fad was over. It's been over two years since that statement and I stick with it. Not that I dislike it, or anything, and yes, I think there's still a lot to be explored in tango music; it's just that it lost its novelty factor and the whole let's-grab-an-old-third-world-music-genre-let's-sample-it-and-add-some-downtempo-electronic-breaks-to-it is just too 2001.
I admit it, back then I was the first one to jump in excitement every time a new electro-bossa nova, electro-flamenco, electro-bhangra, electro-whatever came out; and being Argentinean, when I first heard Gotan Project's La Revancha Del Tango it totally blew my mind and it became my favorite album for a couple of years (I even bought it twice, in CD and vinyl, and I can count with the fingers of one hand the albums that deserved such a privilege). Then in 2006 they returned with Lunático where I was actually indirectly involved because I personally hooked them up with the rappers from Koxmoz for that amazing collaboration that became the album's second single. I loved it. But right at the same time Lunático was coming out, the market was getting flooded with an infinite avalanche of clones, many of them wack. Soon it was saturated and I said it, this is over.
Honestly, if you asked me back in 2008 I would've bet that Gotan Project was never gonna come back for a third album. The last time I talked to Gotan's Eduardo Makaroff while having sushi in Downtown SF during their tour he even wasn't sure of the future of the group. I left thinking about the stagnation of tango's evolution, the attack of the clones and the wishes of Gotan members I assume would have to break off the formula and experiment beyond the restrictions imposed by the group's name. I thought that with Lunático they had reached a peak and from there on it'd definitely be downhill, it'd be better to call the quits before that, before they became another clone... of themselves.
But Gotan Project is back, they decided to give it a third try and got me totally by surprise with another impecable opus with the great quality they got us used to, but at the same time, repeating pretty much a lot of the stuff they have already done before. Don't get me wrong, I still love them, and I really enjoyed listening to this, but does it add anything to the evolution of new tango that they unleashed with La Revancha? Not really. In fact, I even think Lunático was more progressive. This new 3.0 sounds to me more like 1.0 because it goes back to many of the formulas used in their debut, that since then had turned into genre cliches.
I get it that tango is in essence a nostalgic music style. But is it right that this gives me the feeling of nostalgia for 2001?

GOTAN PROJECT - La Gloria from Ya Basta records on Vimeo.

Thursday, May 27, 2010


If you like break-beat-based music with Latin flavor, and you  know I do, you're gonna love this shit. There's not enough good quality music in this style released nowadays, so whenever I discover new (at least for me) stuff like this, it gets me all excited.
You know, I would thrive in a world where there were more clones of Quantic than Pitbull... and where that was the Latin music of choice by the Latino club scene. But the reality is that I live in a world were most people love dancing to mainstream crap as long as they can sing-along to a chorus they listen on the radio and unfortunately I have little chance to spin cool stuff like this. Don't get me wrong, I'll still do it, but maybe not in the peak of the night with the dance-floor packed, especially if it's packed by Spanish-speaking Latinos who no doubt, regard this type of music as "Latin music for gringos" (as they told me once when I was playing a Quantic track).
Anyway, I keep bringing Quantic's name up, because he's my main reference when it comes to DJ-oriented music made of funky break beats with Latin old school diggable samples. And because, to be honest, I'm not familiar with any of the artists involved in this EP that's actually a collection of remixes of tracks put out during the past three years in single format (you mean there're 7'' records of this out there? Where? I want! I want!) by this New York based record label aptly named Names You Can Trust. I don't know them, but after listening to their catalog, I know I can trust them and I'll be looking forward for more releases like this, so keep the coming!
Listen to it and buy it here.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Digging: Malón-Juan Carlos Cáceres (Philips, 1968)

I bought this one recently at an auction on ebay and it instantly became one of the most precious pieces of my vinyl collection. Being a very hard-to-find album, as far as I know never released in CD, I had it for a while as a bootleg MP3 and I loved it, as I love almost all Cáceres discography, but this was one that I needed to have in vinyl.
Juan Carlos Cáceres is a mythological figure in Argentine music, but one that's almost completely unknown. In the 60's he was part of the first wave of rock en español, but left the country without leaving behind any recording (that I know of) and in May 1968 (quite significant date) he moved to Paris, France. There he started this project called Malón (not related to the heavy metal band that used the same name in the 90's) with some French musicians and another Argie expat, Miguel Abuelo (known amongst Latin American rock fans as the leader of Los Abuelos De La Nada, during the 80's).
But Malón had very little to do with rock and that's why I find this project so interesting. Malón was about experimenting with the African roots in Latin music, something that has been a constant during Cáceres extensive career. Like I said my previous post, Argentinians are not very comfortable with the African connection that has been consistently officially denied but it's quite palpable in many aspects of their culture. This has been intriguing Cáceres for a while and Malón's debut album is the first of his explorations into that vastly uncharted territory.
Compared to his later work, maybe this first step of his exploration didn't go very deep into history, but is still quite interesting. Especially from a DJ point of view because the dominant sound of this album could be labeled as Latin Soul, in the sense of contemporary works like Ray Barreto's Acid, but with connections to South American Afro rhythms like candombe. I know there are tons of DJ's, sampling artists and record collectors, avid readers of Waxpoetics, out there who go nuts for this kind of music and would love to give this record a spin. There's also a 7 inch single available somewhere with the two singles, "El Camino" and "Dale Negro," and man, if I had the money to throw away, I'd buy too.
After a couple of albums with Malón, Cáceres abandoned Latin Soul to do what's the most profitable for all Argentine musicians living in France: play tango. But during his tango journey he also started digging into the very much unknown Afro-Argentine roots of tango (before it was whitened for European consumption). As a result of this, in recent years Cáceres became known as something like an ambassador of tango's blackness. Mostly thanks to his latest two impeccable albums Murga Argentina and Utopía, where he explores the connection between murga (more on this in my previous post) and tango.
Cáceres recent work is available online (itunes, emusic, amazon...) released by Mañana Music, the record label of an other Argie expat living in France, Eduardo Makaroff of Gotan Project. But like I said before, his early work with Malón is unfortunately unavailable, except for bootlegged versions posted by fellow bloggers. I'd rip it into MP3 myself to share it with you but it's too much work and I don't trust the sound quality of my rips would make justice to this great record, so you can google it yourself. Here's a sample of its sound.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Digging: 45 Rips For Y'all!

I've been doing quite a lot of digging lately, but I haven't posted a digging story on this blog in a long time. Today, I had some spare time and I decided to rip all my 7'' Latin records to digital and then I said, since I have them, why not share them with my readers? So here's the first batch of MP3 ripped from  seven inch vinyls, some of them are wack, maybe most are, but I love digging and collecting garbage, so if you're like that too, I know you'll enjoy this.
PS: More to come!

Los Diplomáticos - Navidad En Puerto Rico, Vol II (Discos Fuentes, date unknown): I found this one yesterday, in the first rack I checked, at a store where the owner warned me in advance "we don't carry Latin music." I hate Christmas music even more than any other type of religious music but I just bought it because it was from Fuentes. Three of the tracks are horrible xmas songs, the fourth one is a lovely instrumental cumbia that I can't stop listening (I didn't rip the other three, of course). Now, as far as I know Los Diplomáticos are from Colombia and according to the envelope that's where this was recorded, so why Puerto Rico? I have no idea.

Calixto Ochoa y su Conjunto - La Ombligona/Josefina (Discos Fuentes, date unknown): One of the legends of old school Colombian cumbia during the golden age of Discos Fuentes. Here are two up-beat party tracks with ridiculous lyrics. One of them talks about a black woman who has a huge belly button. Then the guy says he doesn't want to dance with her again because the last time he did she tried to kill him with her belly button. Go figure! Is that a metaphor for something in Colombian folk talk? Once again, I have no idea.

 2+2 de Colombia - Fiesta Disco Cumbias (Orfeon Records, 1979): During disco music's peak somebody had the great idea of combining a bunch of classic pop cumbia songs into two megamixes  with some cheap laser FXs and sell it as cumbia disco (similar to what Two Man Sound did with a bunch of sambas in their classic "Disco Samba"). But the staple four-to-the-floor beat that distinguishes disco music is nowhere to be found. Honestly, these are very bad chunks of versions of otherwise good cumbia songs like "La Pollera Colorada", "Se Va El Caimán" and my favorite "La Cosecha de Mujeres" which sung by women changes its meaning completely. How fun! Even though the "group" claims to be from Colombia in their name, I'm pretty sure they are from Mexico.

Los Corraleros De Majagual - Pajarito Platanero/El Viejo Baúl (Discos Fuentes, date unknown): One of the greatest and most influential Colombian cumbia bands of all times, with two tracks (one cumbia, one up-beat paseaito) that are pretty good but definitely not their best.

Bovea y Sus Vallenatos - Noche de Cumbia/Pajaro Amarillo (Miami Records, date unknown): I am not familiar at all with the artist but by the way it sounds I guess this is Colombian and from the 70's. Includes one traditional cumbia "Noche de Cumbia," pretty boring and slow and the other upbeat song, "Pajaro Amarillo" which I ripped it in two versions, the actual 45RPM and the "rebajada" at 33RPM because the instrumental part sounds a lot better like that, for possible sampling.  

Maura y Martha y Conjunto - Que se Hunda El Barco/No Me Caso Con Marinero (Dideca, date unknown): What women want? I don't think they can even answer that because they can't make up their minds. Look at these two broads, for example, on side A they sing about wanting to get married to a sailor, on side B they sing about not wanting to get married to a sailor. For reals! I have no fucking idea who they are or where they're from, but the record was pressed in Guatemala.

Ruperto y Los Miserables - Al Negro Le Gustan Todas (Orfeon Records, 1977): We may never find out what women want, but we do know what black men want, right? Yeah, they want to fuck all women, "blondes, fat, skinny, tall, married or single." At least that's what Ruperto says in this pre-political correctness song that starts with the guy yelling "Beware of the black guy."By today standards it'd be of course racist to sing a song with lyrics like that... unless you're a black commercial rapper in the US. (I did not rip the song on side B because it sucks).

Los Telefonistas -  Si Regresa La Paloma (Ramex Records 1983): This is just a piece of absolute trash. A horrible Tex-Mex cumbia with a ballad on the other side (not included in the rips), but I found it in the "free" pile of a record store and since it said "cumbia" on the label and "free" on the pile, I couldn't resist it.

Download all the rips on one folder from here. Enjoy and keep digging through the trash, keep vinyl alive!