Wednesday, September 28, 2011

CHRIS READ-Ritmos Colombianos/Disco Cumbia (Breakin Bread, 2011)

Sometimes it seems to me like the whole ñu-cumbia thing has been winding down lately, especially considering that a label like ZZK records hadn't release a thing since 2010 (OK, Chancha's vinyl came out in 2011 but it was digitally released in late 2010).
But while the output in Latin American digital cumbia and the interest in it by hipster blogs may have decreased this year, there was a notorious increase in releases (many of them fortunately in vinyl and particularly in 7'' format) sampling cumbia by DJ's and record labels from New York and Europe that were not particularly interested in Latin music just a couple of years ago.
It's a very interesting phenomenon and I'm happily welcoming it. DJ and producers from the break-beats/hip-hop camps, like the british Chris Read here, getting introduced late to cumbia and remixing it from their funky sensibility, making it b-boy friendly.
Some may argue that he basically just sampled the same traditional cumbia song on both sides of the single and that said song, "La Cumbia Cienaguera," is like the basic of the basics of the genre, the very first cumbia that pops up when you search for cumbia and that it has been already sampled and remixed  hundreds of times before. But, while all that is true, I don't think that takes any value away from these two magnificent mixes, which I'll be spinning, for sure, in my sets starting tomorrow.
Other more politicized critics will read this phenomenon as another sign of global Anglo cultural imperialism, and complain about how these white Anglosaxon artists are profiting of this Latin American music style while the many talented DJ's and producers who pioneered the genre in Latin America rarely get this exposure and treatment. And sure, that might be true to a certain extent, but also, as I pointed out many times on this blog, ñu-cumbia would've never picked up in Latin America and become a successful global scene if it wasn't for the work done by gringos visiting or living down there (Señor Coconut, Richard Blair, Up Bustle & Out, El G, Quantic, Oro11) which encouraged local artist to follow suit.
And to be honest, I could never honestly support that line of thinking because, even though I'm from Latin America, I'm almost as foreign to the cumbia culture as the next British guy, because I grew up listening almost exclusively to American hip-hop and England's acid house and while cumbia was crossing over and becoming commercially successful back in my hometown I was way to obsessed with The KLF to pay any genuine attention to it. So I could never take that stand and complain about these gringos getting in the band-wagon of ñu-cumbia, especially not when they do it so much better than us, proof of it is this amazing couple of tracks in this must-have single. So, keep them comming!

Get it here.


tezro said...

2012 will see new releases from the likes of Bomba Estéreo, Super Guachin (ZZK) and quite possibly Uproot Andy's debut LP.
Frente Cumbiero's collaboration with Mad Professor is finally being released later this month after a three year wait. Frente's Mario Galeano has announced that they are now collaborating with Quantic on a record which will be recorded at Discos Fuentes studio in Medellin. This new project will attempt to capture the old school analog sound that gained Fuentes their reputation in the 60's and 70's. Some of the invited musicians include: Fruko, Michi Sarmiento and Anibal Velasquez. Not exactly what you would call "ñu cumbia" but it should be an interesting release nonetheless.

There's also a bunch of promising new acts popping up on Soundcloud which lead me to believe that there will be ñu cumbia for at least another year ;)

Juan Data said...

I just came in my pants imagining what can come out from that studio session in Medellin.