Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Digging: Even more cumbia 45's for y'all!

Here's another bunch of 45 rips I just did, specially to share with you my digging readers. Following the cumbia diaspora, this time away from Colombia and into Mexico and El Salvador, with plenty of classics and standards to play at your next quinceañera and maybe some rarities to sample and remix.

CONJUNTO AFRICA-La Cadenita/Lindo Veracruz (Peerless, 1979): I give eternal props to Conjunto Africa (even though they're Mexican, not African) because they are the authors of the classic masked-wrestling anthem "La Cumbia de los Luchadores." Here we have them doing a cover of a classic popularized by La Sonora Dinamita. "La Cadenita" is a Colombian "religious" cumbia (in their own definition) about a guy who loses a necklace with a Jesus Christ pendant. Now the poor guy is lamenting the lost of both the necklace and the girl, Carmen, who gave it to him. Needless to say, I hate religious cumbia because I hate religious everything, but this is a huge classic among old school cumbia fans and it even started some sort of a thematic sub-genre of lost and found religious paraphernalia.

LOS HERMANOS FLORES-La Medallita/El Carbón (Boni Discos, 1986): Remember that one guy who lost the necklace? Well, this cumbia is about a kid who said he found one while walking down the street. Coincidence? Not really, in this case the pendant has the Virgin Mary instead of Jesus. Another classic, this time covered by the biggest name in Salvadorean cumbia, or at least the only ones who managed to gain some international recognition. Last week, Chilean cumbia-punk icons Chico Trujillo performed here in San Francisco and did their version of this song and it was one of the wildest moments of the night. The b-side is another cover of a Colombian classic, "El Carbón" also known as "Leña para el Carbón" or "El Carbonero" depending on who you ask. I don't know who the original's from because these people were not very good at giving credit to the authors when they recorded versions.

LOS HERMANOS FLORES-La Medallita #2 (Boni Discos, date unknown): You thought the saga of the necklace was over? Think again! Apparently the Flores Bros did so good in El Salvador with their cover of "La Medallita" that, following the tradition of Hollywood studios, they soon came up with a sequel. This time around the alleged owner of the pendant tracked down the kid who found it and persuaded the kid's mother to give it back. Yes, this is like a The Lord of The Rings in telenovela version... only instead of the precious ring to rule them all it's a fucking piece of cheap metal shaped like a saint, or something. Can you believe people used to write songs about stupid shit like this and actually score hits? I wonder if there are more sequels, what if the guy after recovering his medallita lost it again on his way home when he picked up a hooker and took her to a motel room? What if he was mugged? I need to know. I'm hooked!

 LOS HERMANOS FLORES-La Turista En Apulo (Boni Discos, 1984): Ok, just one more by the Salvadorean Flores Bros. This one is also about finding stuff, but nothing sacred in this case. The singer says last night he went out dancing and found a female tourist who, to the singer's amazement, wanted to dance cumbia with him. After a whole night of dancing the woman with the strange accent asked him to spend the night together and he came up to the sudden realization that he was going to marry her! Now if I'm correct, in 1984 El Salvador was deep into their long civil war, right? And El Salvador is not necessarily a hot tourism destination, particularly not for single female travelers looking for random sexual encounters, those go to Brazil, Cuba, Jamaica, you know, Italy, definitely not El Salvador in the middle of a bloody guerrilla war. Hence I call bullshit on your story, Mr Flores! I wanna see some hard proof, the girl's panties, some Polaroids?

LUIS CARLOS MEYER/LUCHO BERMUDEZ-Cumbia Cienaguera (RCA, date unknown): This song right here is widely considered one of the main anthems of international cumbia. I'm not a historian in these matters, but according to Wikipedia, this was most probably the first cumbia ever, recorded by a Colombian artist in Mexico and kick-started, back in the '50s the cumbia diaspora throughout the Americas and later the world. There are probably hundreds of covers of this track, maybe the best known by those who entered the cumbia field in the last couple of years is Samim's "Heater." This one is part of a four song 7'' EP and even though the word cumbia is all prominent on the cover, only two of the songs could be actually labeled as such. I didn't include them all in the rips because the record had some scratches and too many pops.

CARMEN RIVERO-La Comezón (Discos Columbia, date unknown): Another pioneer of Mexican cumbia. Legend says that Mexicans were obsessed with Cuban music until this woman came out and started playing the cumbias she learned in Colombia, but to make them more accessible to the Mexican mainstream, her band played them with Cuban orchestra-style arrangements. This EP is probably from the 60's and includes two cumbias plus one chachacha and one guaracha, both Cuban genres. That's how cumbia started to permeate into Mexico, under the all-encompassing label of "tropical music." Even though it's her name on heading the band, there are two male singers in these tracks, one of those guys sings my personal favorite, "La Muerte" with it terrifying intro it's probably one of the earliest examples of another curious cumbia thematic sub-genre: the horror cumbia. More coming up soon.



guiljcon said...

The link is dead, would you mind reuploading it.

Juan Data said...

Of course it's dead. You got here two years too late. Sorry. You snooze you lose.