The Night I Really Learned to Dance Cumbia (Event Review + Cumbia Mega-Roundup)

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Artwork: Dancers of the folkloric dance crew Grupo Kaypacha

After being your cumbia selector for more than a year now, I’m still stuck with the awkward fact that, no matter how much I like the music, I actually don’t know how to dance cumbia that well. Sure, I did practice a bit with the tutorials I once gave you, but without more experienced people around and places where you can watch people do it in real life, you keep stuck into a kind of noobish cluelessness once the actual music drops and people start dancing in pairs. Cumbia is not like the shuffle.

Like myself, many Colombians in the Netherlands who go to Colombian parties have been adopted into a Dutch family since young age and it’s conventional wisdom that you can tell the adopted ones from the non-adopted ones by their (lack of) young-learned salsa skills. But for adopted and non-adopted alike, Colombia Cultural Festival, an initiative of Latin-event agency PaGoza has been the central meeting spot for the Colombian community since 2005. Last saturday was the 10th edition and since it was one of my first free weekends in ages, I headed to Amsterdam to experience it for the first time.

One of the things that always strike me about Colombian culture is how family life and partying seem to go hand in hand smoothly. From the youngest ones in strollers, kids running around, teens immersed into their cellphones to youngsters, adults and even elderly people who spend their time dancing and drinking, everybody seems to have an amazing time and the good vibes buzz around the place. That was exactly what this festival was like: a cocktail bar, stands with all kinds of Colombian products, a dancefloor and an inflatable bouncing castle. And of course a stage where a diverse number of live artists, delivered music vibes according to the well known formula at many Colombian parties these days: happy cumbia and vallenato during the day and moving towards passionate salsa after dinner, frequently alternated by sensual bachata. When the night set in and families with the youngest kids started heading home, bright lights were turned off and ever more people gathered on the dancefloor on the sounds of reggaeton, merengue and of course more salsa. And when the final DJ’s started switching between these latin vibes and house music, even some moombahton could be heard!

Cumbia and vallenato were delivered by Orlando Bedoya and his band Colombia Tropical, whom you can see here in action, recorded on this festival!

The Switzerland based salsa band Mercadonegro which performed later the night, led by Colombian singer Rodry-Go, is one of the most if not the single most prominent exponents of the new generation of Salsa. And their performance was indeed amazing, managing to bring their vibes so passionately that you often forgot that Holland was playing the third-place World Cup final against Brazil at the very same time, displayed on a big screen above the stage. Dancing salsa and watching football at the very same time was a pretty unique experience.

I also really digged the energetic performance of the upcoming reggaetonero JeyCon a.k.a. Drago, who got the crowd in motion with his catchy blend of reggaeton, salsaton, urban mambo and bachata. Fans of urban latin music should definitely keep an eye on him!

But when, with so many more people on the dancefloor, Mercadonegro decided to play Matilde Diaz & Lucho Bermudez’ informal national anthem ‘Colombia Tierra Querida’, I had no choice but to dance. There was a beautiful lady on the dancefloor with her little daughter, whom she tried to teach the basic steps and vibe of cumbia and I was so lucky that I could to join this private class. With the kid together, we danced to these amazing vintage cumbia vibes and enjoyed this intense moment moment of Colombian flavoured happiness.

Check out some impressions from the event’s Facebook page, made by photographer Rien de Jager..

Orlanda Bedoya and band playing the indispensable Colombian cumbia and vallenato classics!

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Great folkloric dance performance of Grupo Kaypacha, in traditional indigenous clothing!

GrupoKaypacha

JeyCon and stunning dancer bringing some massive reggaeton vibes!

JeyCon

Young and old dancing reggaeton..

YoungAndOld

Rodrigo and Mercadonegro heating up the dancefloor with their fantastic salsa performance!

Rodrigo

And yes, to the right, that’s me.. (if you’ve ever wondered what that dude behind these posts actually looks like.. there you go!)

MeColombiaCultural

But with the memories of last week still lingering in my mind, we continue to the roundup of this week.

Mixtapes:

El Gayo Negro is back with his fifth mixtape edition for the Swiss alternative radio station GDS.FM! Deep-dub flavoured cumbia grooves for your lazy sunday afternoon pleasure!

If you’re looking for something more energetic, Arturo Herrera‘s new mixtape involves some more serious bass work, combined with bouncing hiphop and pumping moombahton grooves, but is nonetheless explicitly meant for the Sundays!

https://soundcloud.com/arturoherrera/set-dominguero-003

Tropical Patrulla is a newly established collective of tropicalists in the Basque country, which just released its first fruits this week: the first edition of a mixtape series, which shows almost every side of latin bass, from cumbia-trap to moombahton to rasterinha and 3ball!

https://soundcloud.com/tropical-patrulla/tropical-patrulla-mixtape1-by-atodamadre

EP’s/Albums/Compilations:

Since my Argentina-post couldn’t cover everything, I’m a bit behind on cumbia and I haven’t been able to share some important albums and EP’s yet that have come out last month.

First of all the tropi-futurist duo Frikstailers, one of the leading digital cumbia acts whose every track deserves a prominent place in your music collection, released a new EP last month which I haven’t been able to share yet. If you missed out on this one, be ready for an uplifting trip of deep space-time vibrations, stardust-shakers and galactic marimba’s, spiced up with delicious retro acid synths. Check it out and grab it here!

The alround tropical bass label El Flying Monkey Records also released important stuff lately, which you’ve probably seen around and downloaded already but for everyone who hasn’t yet: the summer of 2014 without these two EP’s isn’t as vibrant and beautiful  as with them..

Two weeks ago, the Venezuelan experimental latin bass duo El $abor, released this spectacular EP, with guest appearances of TropikoreAKA LAKRA and Francisco Torrealba. The EP is a tribute to the ‘sabrosura’ (‘tastiness’) vibe: a latin umbrella term for afrocaribbean flavours ranging from cumbia and salsa to orisha and sangeo. In the preparation phase Boonk asked me if I were familiar with this term and whether you have it in Holland. Since there is a considerable afrocaribbean and latin community here, I suppose it must exist here, but I didn’t manage to find out about it.. But never mind, here four powerful examples of sabrosura inspired latin bass, with flavours varying between trap-bubbling, cumbia, lento and groovy latin tech!

Somewhat earlier, Tropikore released this EP based on his summery, salsa-dancehall-bass tune ‘Chevere Cambur’, with equally hot remixes of El $aborToro! and DartZero75!

Whenever the Colombian deep-cumbia master Dany F releases new music, I am excited to hear it. Since I’m behind on cumbia, I just found out that his new EP has been out for two weeks already, as the 65th release of Cabeza Netlabel.. Check out the one absolutely marvellous track they put online as a teaser.. the rest is still a surprise but you can grab it here for free!

Single Releases:

More delicious deep cumbia this week is heading to your speakers directly from Lima, Peru, delivered by Tribilínsound! Here his rework of Frikstailers’ track ‘Kepler’, from the ‘Crop Circles’ EP shared above..

..and here another deep-flavoured rework of La Yegros‘ song ‘Viene de Mi

Yelram Selectah‘s unique style is usually less deep but equally futuristic and always with a crazy edge. His newest track is an electrifying shower of magnetic, extraterrestrial bass sounds and downtempo cumbia madness!

https://soundcloud.com/yelramselectah/yelram-selectah-cumbass

..also check out his […] remix of Die Antwoord‘s new hit ‘Pitbull Terrier‘! I already loved the original song because it has such a massive dark-cyber-industrial-aggrotech kinda sound to it which I would love to see grow bigger and fuse with other genres. And now Yelram cumbiafied it in an epic way!

https://soundcloud.com/yelramselectah/die-antwoord-pitbull-terrier

Erick Jaimez announced a while ago that he does not have enough time any more to focus on music as much as he used to do. But now he has completed some tracks that were still in the making and made me and released them all this week!

A groovy cumbia-house tune..

https://soundcloud.com/erickjaimez/erick-jaimez-amor-amor

Tracks with a ‘fuma marihuana’ vocal sample in it are one of the most effective tricks to make the crowd go crazy and this energetic cumbia-twerk banger will be an excellent example!

https://soundcloud.com/erickjaimez/erick-jaimez-fuma-maximum-marijuana

..here a Erick Jaimez-style cumbia crunk edit of Iggy Azalea‘s hit ‘Fancy‘!

..this mariachi flavoured crazy trap tune from a couple of weeks back is not exactly cumbia but it’s so epic that I couldn’t leave it out!

Turbo Sonidero Futurístico cumbiafied an instrumental ‘All My Loving’ cover by the Italo-American rock ‘n roll duo Santo & Johnny, from the 1950s!

S T Δ R K is a Chilean moombahtonista who has been releasing a lot of great moombahton lately. He makes his debut on Sexxy Saturday Lazy Sunday Cumbia with his subtle bass rework of the song ‘Padre Nuestro‘ by the Argentinian ska band Los Fabulosos Cadillacs!

https://soundcloud.com/s-t-ar-k/los-fabulosos-cadillacs-padre-nuestro-stark-edit

Then we’ve got a lot more debuts which, unlike Stark’s track, lean much more to the experimental-electronic side.

The Mexican experimentalist Sigsonbia, whom El Guëro has probably supported earlier back in the days, released a delicious space-flavoured deep-acid cumbia track this week!

Xalistech, also from Mexico made this absolutely genious blend of minimal techno with norteño music and cumbia.. ‘Frijoles & Ketchup’ (‘Mexican mashed beans with ketchup’)!

https://soundcloud.com/xalistech/frijoles-ketchup

Acapulco Zombie, from Monterrey, Mexico, has been producing experimental cumbia-bass and cumbia-hiphop since a year now.. It’s a downright shame that I discover and blog him so late. First listen and grab his fantastic dark-experimental cumbia track he released just yesterday.. but before you do anything else, check out the rest of his work on his Soundcloud page too!

DJ [email protected] is a new Argentinian producer whose first tracks on his list are from last week only. His cumbia and reggaeton productions and vocal remixes have a minimalistic style that reminds me a bit of Mexico City cumbiaton or Dj TAO’s tracks: urban-flavoured, and experimental-digital at the same time!

The Lima based Andes-digitalist UNQA we’ve seen before a couple of times, but his new release smoothly fits into this experimental series!

https://soundcloud.com/unqa/unqa-arpa-jueliz

As usual, I’ll end with some feelgood stuff!

First a remix of Missy Eliott ft. 702 & Magoo’s 1998 hit ‘Beep Me 911‘ by the Mexican latin bass alrounder Sonido Perdido!

https://soundcloud.com/sultana-sonidera/missy-elliot-ft-magoo-beep-me-cumbiaton-edit

Like Erick Jaimez, Fricci also decided to cumbiafy ‘Fancy’!

As part of his joint project Friccardos with Los Ricardos, he revived some sweet memories of the summer of 2005 with a catchy remix of Shakira ft. Alejandro Sanz’ hit ‘La Tortura‘!

https://soundcloud.com/friccardos/shakira-alejandro-sanz-la-tortura-los-friccardos-refix-sin-dither

And for anyone who hasn’t yet overcome the trauma of the last-minute penalty (which I, as a Dutch person, admit should NOT have been a penalty..) that eliminated Mexico from the World Cup, the best therapy is to dance it away.. Therefore a delicious editada, delivered by Dj Chuntarito!

https://soundcloud.com/chuntarito-dj/no-era-penal-cumbia-editada

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