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Sexxy Saturday Cumbia : Roots, Fusion and the Future

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After the energetic entry of Filipe Ribeiro on the Generation Bass stage yesterday, I am the second new face to introduce myself.

Last week, El Guero Unico, one of the blog’s heavyweights, announced to bid farewell. At that moment I didn’t even remotely realise yet that, a week later, I would be writing the article you are now reading. A captive follower of this blog for about a year and a half now, applying here was the equivalent of a boy’s dream: tantalising but probably the chasing of a pie in the sky. But, surprisingly, DJ Umb has confidence in me and, with equally shaking hands I now take over the baton.

My name is Victor Evink. Followers of global bass blogs have probably noticed the flaming eyes adorning many soundcloud tracks, changing them into aggressively staring monsters. Well folks, that’s me: Ojo Torrado – still going by that name in absence of a better option. I’m an adopted Colombian kid, grown up the Netherlands, and I will keep you updated about cumbia.

My passion for that music genre goes deep. As I told Umb, the intensely happy sound with an ever melancholic twist already sounded through the house as I was a child and my parents put on what went under the heading of ‘Colombian music’, which was a mixture of serene Andes-music and the more warm blooded styles with the tamboras and and the shakers. Back in the early 2000s, meetings of adopted Colombian youths were called ‘cumbias’ and as a 16 year old hip-hop kid I frequently explored the internet for artists who mixed cumbia with rap.

Last week we’ve seen great cumbia. An inspiring doc has shown us its Amerindian and African roots in the history of Colombia, Sonido del Principe has given us a foretaste of the cumbia that our great-grandchildren on Mars will be raving on, and El Guero Unico’s mammoth post has shown us how diverse the genre has become today. Now it’s my turn. I have often been amazed how traces of cumbia have found their way into different music scenes and countries. Finding cumbia in an unexpected way or at an unexpected place makes me smile from ear to ear. Let me try to show you exactly how that feels. Forgive me for posting some older tracks here though. They just deserved to be blogged by somebody one day.

The first example comes from the cradle of the cumbia, Colombia, where the rappers of the duo Flaco Flow y Melanina draw from their pacific roots, combining cumbia with reggae and rap. The song about a year old now but only a couple of months ago, the music video was released. Enjoy!

The following tune shows you how much cumbia has been integrated into other global bass genres. The Argentinean electronic percussion artist mixes cumbia with dembow and zouk-bass.

The Dallas-based Mexican producer Erick Jaimez, who smoothly turns all sorts of tropical rhytms into groovy house music presents: cumbia-house!

The creative producer from Tijuana, Yelram Selectah, frequently featured on this blog, draws inspiration from the newest craze: twerk music!

The following tracks are a further exploration into Mexico, one of the most important home bases of the cumbia scene these days. Readers of this blog will know that Mexico has seen the birth of a new music scene: 3ball guarachero, which is heavily influenced by cumbia (sometimes even regarded as a subgenre of cumbia) and is nowadays absorbing a lot of influences from global bass genres as moombahton and trap. The styles keep fusing, evolving and are often supported by the same people. A couple of months ago, Vice magazine featured a documentary about a Mexico-City based collective of DJs who have become local superstars by fusing reggaeton with cumbia: cumbiaton!

One of the rising names in the Mexico-City cumbiaton scene is DjBekman, who has also, for example embraced moombahton. Make sure to check out the rest of his tunes as well!

Moving from Mexico City to Oaxaca, you’ll find another innovative producer you should keep an eye on: djGiovanniRios. He has created his own 3ball-bass genre: Tribal Evolution and here he does a 3ball-cumbia remix of one of the all-time moombahton anthems!


More 3ball-cumbia comes from another quite unknown producer I wanted to blog. The Mzk Dj Producer fuses 3ball and cumbia with sounds from the Andes.

From Mexico, I take a leap to my own country, the Netherlands. One of the most important figureheads of cumbia here is Dj producer Café de Calaveras, whose reggae-cumbia EP was featured on this blog. Here he makes one of the Dutch hiphop scene’s Nestors, Brainpower, sound as if he performed on the White Beach of Cartagena.

A Dutch rapper of the current generation is Fresku. Although a conscious, socially critical rapper in real life, he has a satirical alter ego, Gino Pietermaai. Gino is a caricature of every negative aspect of stereotypes around Fresku’s own Dutch-Caribbean origins and a mocking imitation of some aspects of hip-hop culture today. The cool thing about Gino is that he resides for longer periods on Curacao from time to time, taking its musical melting pot of tropical beats with him back to Holland. This is Gino, full swag on, spitting obscenities over a cumbia-bubbling beat as only he can do. Complete with a vid that looks like a parody of ostentation funk.

I round of with one of the blog’s household artists, the French cumbiambero Captain Cumbia, who did this redix of Funkdoobiest’s 1993 classic with B-real just two days ago. Bounce and dance that cumbia sabrosa…

I’d say… wepa!!

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