Friday, November 11, 2011

Juan Lennon Presents: 213 Cumbia Vol. 1 (Triumphant Records, 2011)

When I think of Los Angeles a nightmare of traffic jams and extensive parking lots is the first thing that comes to mind. For others, however, Los Angeles means many different things and for some it means cumbia. 
The Southern California megalopolis is home to a large underground scene of cumbia artists and DJs; diverse people from diverse backgrounds that approach cumbia from all sorts of angles. In 213 Cumbia Volume 1, compiler Juan Lennon tries to encompass all these variety of cumbia-related expressions in a collection that aims to define the LA sound of cumbia, if there's such a thing.
Some of the artists included are very well known by the global fans of the ñu-cumbia movement, starting with my buddies DJ Lengua and Mexican Dubwiser on the edgier side of the comp. But there's also examples of people who fall more into the revisionist, rootsy approach like Buyepongo and Chicano Batman. And a lot of new names, new for me at least, with interesting proposals worth checking out (Black Guiro comes to mind).
I have no fucking idea who this Juan Lennon mythical figure is and how he managed to conjure all these cumbia lovers in a city where meeting with people is so hard because most of the times you're stuck on traffic. But he did a pretty good job, if you are willing to disregard the ghettoness/amateurism of the cover art. The comp is only released on CD, so far, no digital downloads but I've been told they'll be pressing a limited run in red vinyl. If this prophecy materializes this instantly will become one of my favorite records of the year, but note, some of the tracks on this comp are already available on vinyl on Unicornio Records (DJ Lengua and Chicano Batman, both reviewed on this blog before). 

Listen/Purchase here.


tezro said...

How can you make a Los Angeles cumbia compilation and not include Very Be Careful on it?? Those guys have been on that whole old school vallenato/cumbia vibe before it was cool.
Also, you are right about that terrible album cover. It's not even funny in an ironic kitschy type of way.

Juan Data said...

You have a point there, I forgot about Very Be Careful, maybe they forgot about them too...