After nearly 3 years in Colombia I decided to come back to France, I didn’t really want to, but I found some valuable reasons. I had a nice surprise: the scene is very active and very open. It’s not a hype movement, quite the opposite, it’s very alternative and very underground. So today I share music, infos and take you on a road trip from Medellin, Colombia to France with cumbia.
Medellin: It’s a conceptual mix: it’s not really mixed, San Juan con la 70 is just made to make you dance cumbia and feel my street: everything was taken from her: street vendors are recorded from my flat, to the photo is taken from my balcony and the Lp’s in the mix comes from the city center you can see on the photo. I hope you’ll enjoy it.
Toulouse: I still hadn’t rest from the flight, I had the chance to meet the Kalakuta Selectors and KALAKUTA Productions contacted me for a small gig and a radio show. The are mainly interested in live bands beeing Dj’s themselves. They are specialised in African sounds, funk, tropical, but they like cumbia (they programmed El Hijo de la Cumbia, Axel Kryger). I liked this “Devil’s hand” mix from one of the Kalakuta selectors. As live band we have La Tormenta.
South of Toulouse, nearly in the Pyreneans, you have Nixtamal working hard on edits and his Ableton live sessions, he has a great Live:
Paris: The underground scene is active through radios and specialised bars. G.Bass crew talked about the Cumbia rockers allstars, Cumbia Ya ! I recommend the crew Jacasserie radioglobal as well closed to Grandpamini aka Rumbass with his “Ghetto Tiers Monde” parties who all have a great opened crazy spirit. The bar where I could mix is his residence and it’s great: it’s called La lucha libre in Paris 5th and you mix in the middle of a lucha libre ring. Bbrave from Akwaaba had no problem to beat me severely there ! But let’s listen to Grandpamini.
In Paris if you dig a little you can encounter such things, from my man Medline (although radicated in Rennes now…), running the label Propaground plus beeing a talented musician, producer, poet and underground activist. He is more involved in jazz, hip hop and funk but having chilean roots (as the later Rumbass…) and a whole family of traditional musicians, he is a native cumbiambero and he composed “Infini” a nice limited audio book where you can get: Cumbia de los gatos mojados, the best “cumbia from France” track I have heard so far.
Lyon: Moy Sanchez aka Frijol Charro is the first one I heard talking to “unite the movement” of cumbia in France. He launched “la Caravane cumbia” with his Charro Culture collectif. He is a mexican artist living in France for years, he is on soundcloud, and has good connections in the city with cumbiamberos and knows about nightlike and gigs organization. Don’t mess with Le goûter, one of the first blog to support cumbia there. In Lyon, you have a crazy bunch of vinyle collectionists who teamed to create Palmwine records. Very active on radios, they are kind of the equivalent of Sofrito in France. But again, they are a bit more “Africa / funk” than “South America / salsa / cumbia”… All the crew has excellent mixes check them here and here. They are closed to Radio Grenouille from Marseille where you can hear cumbia with Monsieur Sy:
In Montpellier some cumbia parties are about to be organized in La pleine Lune and in Bordeaux there’s the label sabor discos which has some activities in this range and still there some cumbia lovers who know their classics. The movement is not only in the cities, I would even say it’s stronger outside city centers as I could verify it beeing invited in the Lot (Cahors) and in Gaillac d’Aveyron. Examples from remotes places such as remote Ardèche and Aveyron departement:
1. this marvelous mix from G.RabbitDirtyRedEyes. It’s a BOMB: you HAVE to give it “play”
2. Jah Kooperator from The Kookaboora sound system. The guy has extremely good mixing skills on top of beeing a dedicated musician, in the Aveyron department, with his collective they live an alternative life and they do art: scotch installations during the cumbia shows which turns up to be totally crazy sometimes.
3. While the south seems to be hooked by tradition, alternatives and vinyle, Britany and more largely the West, seems to represent the “locos”, “geeks” and “the future”: they doesn’t keep quiet, We have Mitémas in Orléans who begun a radio program on Radio Campus and a site: Soukouch ethnik and Anonimarc from Rennes who has a radio show and as well this crazy crazy mix La pompa Chalor vol 1; I love it: the objective was a research on the less obvious side of cumbia and tropical music as well as on the “clichés” and prejudices. Great work, great artwork (the man is a graphist and illustrator). DOWNLOAD IT / LISTEN – PLAYLIST HERE.
Just to give you an idea de how crazy they are just give a play to this breakcumbuacore of Kyjah one of the Mitémas members, that’s to say a mashup from sonido del principe vs istari lasterfahrer:
Well I am on my way to catch my bus to Barcelona, to meet my beloved FOLCORE COLLECTIVE. So, next saturday I plan to write a “cumbia over spain” with them. Let’s UNITE, let’s build a real nice cumbia/tropical scene and conquer EUROPE with CumbiAAAAAAAAA !