Loris – Cumbia Rebajada

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If you’re new to the blog then a Cumbia Rebajada is basically slowing down the beat of a Cumbia and here’s an awesome new mix by one of my new fave selectors from Mexico, Loris who pays her dues to this style of Cumbia.


Cumbia sobre el mar – El Búho (Edit)
Quimey Neuquen (Chancha Via Circuito remix) – Jose Larralde
Caracol (Chancha Via Circuito remix) – Tremor
Captain Planet – S.S Esfahan (Thornato remix)
Tecolotin – El Búho
Cumbia Malandra – Cholofonics
Ch’uwa yaku kawsaypuni (Nicola Cruz Remix) – Luzmila Carpio
Yolanda (El Búho Remix) – Emir Buscon
La subienda (El Búho Remix) – Gabriel Ochoa
Luz de Cumbia (Loris Rebajado Edit) – Anibal Velasquez y Su Conjunto

Agradezco a Andrés Ramírez y David Echeverría por tanto conocimiento musical 🙂


gen bass selva post photo

A weird tropical incident has just occurred. There are cow bells ringing and guiros shaking. From the remotest confines of the jungle, La Selva is very proud to present the new version of Sexy Saturday Cumbia.

We are a collective from Uk / France, resident in Madrid. We listen to cumbia in all its shapes and sizes; from the most traditional on the American continent, to the most bass – face inducing, most space-travelling, to the smoothest, softest rhythms and guiros.

La Selva is three selectors, KayGee, The Silly Tang, and Coconutah. We started loving Cumbia through a variety of influences, the two most important being bass music and reggae, but we enjoy other styles of music too (rumours abound we like disco!).

One of the founding goals of La Selva was to use our various projects (La Selva Radioshow) to promote, and to provide exposure to, the least visible side of the tropical music scene. As well as enjoying more mainstream artists´ work in all its glory, we believe that many surprises lurk in the deep, dark outernational jungle.

It`s in this capacity that we are excited to now be presenting this blog once a month – we want to sow the cumbia seed further, we want it to grow, so that more people can eat its fruits and discover its tropical delights.

In contrast to many other genres of music, many of these delights are immediately available for free download, or via a small fee for a digital version (or amazing record), it`s an even greater pleasure to be spreading the love.

Part of the very nature of cumbiadelic existence is the discovery of an incredible amount of new cumbia – influenced sounds. So returning from the summer holidays has been accompanied by many new cheeky pleasures, including new albums/eps by some of our favourite producers of the moment.

All three members of La Selva will submit selections every month. So here it goes, some new tunes and some of our favourites from over the summer.



COCONUTAH selected:


Rolando Bruno – a 5 años de aca (bigote rebajadito remix)

If you heard and liked the old-school psychedelic original from Rolando Bruno last year, you will be grooving right into this deft little number, as it manages to maintain the catchy guitar melodies and themes of the original, while infusing it with tropical beats and bass. This is sure to please both more traditional cumbialists and chicha freaks, as well as those aiming for the dancefloor.


Bistech – KUMBALE EP

This freshly released EP is a must hear, with 3 very different vibes coming out of each tune. The first, Al grito de fiesta, is a grooving cumbia riddim with hypnotic synths, Munky bringing the party lyrics. The other two tunes are deeper, Pussy being a deep Cumbia bass with a reggae tang – really love this one – while Intraterrestre goes into the earth to a very deep place. Ride the cumbia waves.


La Sonora Dinamita – No Te Pongas Bravo (RCA edit)

RCA (Real Cumbia Activa) is back with another banging edit, here remixing a classic from La Sonora Dinamita. As is often the case in RCA´s tunes, it comes at you slowly with a rebajado vibe, but proceeds to pound you with relentless cumbia beats that any tropical fan will adore! Again, this is one with something for cumbia lovers of all types. We want more!


Coconutah – Welcome to the Jungle

The newest offering from myself Coconutah, this tune takes you to the great outdoors, and will make you want to book a flight to the amazon jungle. Starting with a catchy vocal sample, it blends traditional instrumentation with bare, floor shaking bass and a hard cumbia beat, leading to total immersion into the wild.


Rafael Aragon – Meecztow Revolution (Turbo Cumbia Balkanica)

Our friend and cumbia killer Rafael Aragon returns with this remix out on VLAD. The tune takes a step towards faster, grittier Cumbia beats, and is certainly a proven killer on the dancefloor at 04:00 am. Blending a rapid, unremitting cumbia-techno drive with fresh and funky Balkan flavours, this will get anyone and everyone jumping around. Cumbia and Balkan have always gone hand in hand – here both combine their party elements to dancefloor perfection.


Lascivio Bohemia – La Danza del Cóndor

Lovely melodic cumbia from Lascivio bohemia, a tune dedicated to South America Pre Columbus 1492. Sharp synths mix with a steady cumbia swing to create a beautiful atmosphere. It makes you think of flying away like a condor.


KAYGEE selected:


El Búho – Cumbias de Oro

Released on one of the labels of the moment, Frente Bolivarista, this is a true journey through Latin America with El Búho’s amazing touch on each of the 14 tunes he chooses to remix. Each and every time, El Búho creates a chilled and floaty atmosphere whilst keeping in tune with the traditional roots of the original version. My personal favourite is his remix of Grupo Kual, although the whole album is definitely a must hear.


Dj Masaya – Arisco EP

I was really happy to hear news from DJ Masaya a few months ago that he was working on his first EP, and was glad to see it released 2 weeks ago. The first 4 tracks offer a great combination of marimbas, accordions, keyboards, and chants, fused with electronic sounds and basslines. The last 2 tracks are two cool remixes that also get a dancefloor moving. You can definitely feel that Dj Masaya’s latin background (he is from Guatemala) added to the new sounds he must be surrounded with now in Stockholm.


Barda – Gruta

This brand new release on Fertil Discos is amazing. Barda explores the deeper and more atmospheric sides of the scene, as potent drums and heavy basslines mix with organic sounds and beautiful vocals. At times minimalist, but always in an elegant manner, this is what you will find and enjoy once you press play. The label describes it as a “mental journey through argentine caves and scenery”. Light up and enjoy!


Derrok & Vruno – Gunnii EP


About a month ago, we had the pleasure of hearing this EP, released on Aires Music. I had always felt there were similarities between Derrok´s, Vruno´s and Rodrigo Gallardo’s releases, and so was really happy to hear this EP to discover their joint atmospheres. They bring a sound that is slightly more techno – influenced, fusing beautiful traditional melodies and sounds. I particularly enjoyed the use of the flute in Remisión Espontánea, and loved hearing Rodrigo Gallardo’s remix of it. Can’t wait to hear more from these guys!


Rodrigo Gallardo – Agua de la Tierra

Talking of Rodrigo Gallardo, producer and musician of Matanza, I had to mention the incredible release, which he dropped on the also incredible label QTZLCTL. We’ve moved a little further from cumbia to arrive to what they refer to as Andes Step. I think that’s a great definition. Hit play and enjoy his 2 tunes, as well as another beautiful remix from Nicola Cruz.

By the way, look out for new Nicola Cruz album dropping soon. Been waiting for this one for the past year, enjoying beautiful pre-releases like Colibria, for which they have actually just done a new video clip:

And talking about new video clips, please take a look at our good friend DJ Caution’s new video clip for his great tune Cholula; video and drawing by Leandro Mosco:



THE SILLY TANG selected:


Drake & Dinamarca – 10 elasticos

N.A.F.F.I is a brand new collective from Mexico, coming up with some of the newest, most experimental, and exiting new sounds in the American continent. This particular track is very dark and very much reminds me of a lot of the early dubstep by of the hands of Pinch, Loefah etc…

On a dancefloor level, I think it creates a very personal vibe for all dancers, and just about settles that time where the party goes to the next level.


Balkan Riddims – Sensimilia (Dj Inko Remix)

My good friend Dj Inko has done it again, with a fresh and summery tune that had us all grooving this summer. Whether on the beach in Croatia, in an intimate Madrid club, or in a hyped-up spot in London, this song has made the Cumbia charts this summer. Amazingly produced, and with a very down to earth touch, the vibe is guaranteed to get the party (or after party) rolling.


Lascivio Bohemia – Pachamama San Cumba

Once more, and again and again: following his earlier releases on Regional label, Lascivio Bohemia has hit us with this fresh and groovy track. Slightly more minimal than the normal cumbia I tend to play, the quality of the mix and the air in this track have made it one of my favourites to come out this summer. A perfect track for an intro or mid-set chiller. I deeply recommend that you check out all his works, as he always unleashes true passion and vibes.


Motin – Fauna

The last tune on this monthly review from myself is from the mighty Motin on Discos Peligros. A tune called Fauna which I´m sure can get all of us thinking of the new ClapClap sound! This whole Ep is so fresh and fruity, it will get you through the end of the summer thinking you are still sipping on a mojito! With each release, Motin´s production levels just keep getting higher, as his work finds its way to a maestro sound.


 We hope you´ve enjoyed our first selection for Sexy Saturday Cumbia, and rest assured we´re already selecting for our next one. Please send us any submissions / or feedback / or anything else you would like to throw at us straight to our facebook account, La Selva !

Something we would like to mention is our weekly radio show – every Tuesday, from 20:00 to 22:00 (GMT + 1) – on www.avalaf.co.uk. It always features an original tropical section where many of the tunes above will be played. Get locked in!!

This coming Tuesday 20/10, catch an exclusive set by DJ Nirso, all the way from Brazil, on la Selva radio.

Dj Nirso :: MDF en la selva

(click on image for more info)


A bailar !!!!!!

See you next month !

La Selva






Raúl Chacaltana, better known as DM∆TTH, is a young DJ from Lima Perú who has been involved in the Tropical Bass scene for some years now, and although he is architecture lover, he’s also a Bass Music lover!! And as a consequence of that he bring us this amazing EP called “MASHUP”.

And this is what it is, a serie of killer mashups from very different styles, all together!
Throughout the EP you’ll find tracks from big names like: Munchi, Buraka Som Sistema, Björk, Schlachthofbronx, Miss Bolivia, Quantic, Bigote, etc!


Schlachthofbronx x Quantic x Dengue Dengue Dengue! – Cumbia Riddim (DMTTH Refix)

Björk, Munchi & Dengue Dengue Dengue! – Sandungueo x Lilith (DMTTH UP)

DJ Neber x Miss Bolivia – Cumbia Warrior (DMTTH UP)

Buraka Som Sistema & Slick Shoota – Murda Tool x Sente (DMTTH UP)


Munchi – Guess Who’s Back x Fuck This (DMTTH UP)



Bonus Mashup: Mon Rivera & Su Orquesta x BIGOTE x Sara Hebe – Lluvia Con Nieve x Otra Vez (DMTTH UP)




Making a very VERY rare live appearance tonight at the LA GRAVIERE CLUB in Geneva is our cat SONIDO DEL PRINCIPE. representing the GENERATION BASS SOUNDSYSTEM, he’ll be spinning som serious GB vibes between 01:30 and 03:30 AM! Expect some heavy duty cumbia of course, but also some banging Tarraxo, Borneo Bass, Moombahton and all that good stuff inbetween…!

so if you are around, drop by and hang out! GENERATION BASS SOUNDSYSTEM will be joined by Schnautzi- Argent Sale-CH // Waterproof-Phono Mundial-FR // Mambo Chick et Jean Toussaint- Gravitation-CH and you can expect some all over the place stuff by them as well. Everything from Une grosse dose d’Afrique de l’Ouest (Highlife, Afro-Funk, Soukous), de musique tropicale (Cadence, Compas, Cumbia), lusophone (Cap vert, Angola) et de rock oriental (Psyché Turc, Libanais, Funk Iranien) qui croise la Disco de Bollywood et le Séga de l’Océan indien!!!

How did that SONIDO guy sound again??????? something like thissssssss:

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Tremor – "Huella" New Video


One of our fave songs of recent years, the haunting and achingly beautiful “Huella” has been given a new lease of life with a live video performance to coincide with a Tremor Remix album that’ll be dropping soon.

Check this beauty:



Sarantis has been one of our favourite producers since we started this blog and we’re stoked that he decided to join our hallowed Artists Hall of Fame!

Sarantis is from Leeds has been making beats since 2002. He started with a grime release in 2005, featuring local talent Tauraus on vocals, establishing Senseless Records and following with a grimey dancehall /dubstep second release, these kind of mash ups would become a signature of trax to come by Sarantis, with mighty Warrior Queen on the vocals. More than money featuring Warrior Queen got a lot of support from djs such as Skream, Mary Anne Hobbes, Starkey, and Taso who put it in his Fabric set.

After a break for a couple of years Sarantis came back with a new sound but without forgetting his past making 160 bpm trax.

Releases on Senseless Records, Loose Squares, Modern Ruin, Booty Call followed based around the same Chicago influenced sound, but also grime and dancehall tracks came with it.

Still on the dancehall, grime and rap sound, there will be feature collaborations coming out with artists as Gala P, Crawler, and Dialect. Other vocalists Sarantis has worked with are Parly B, Dialect, Bunnington Judah, Bongo Chilli, and he has released on Black Acre, Terminal Dusk labels as well. He has support from a lot of DJs all over the world.





Sarantis – Karami EP Now Free [ARABIAN TRIBAL FOOTWORK]


You can now grab this brilliant EP for free!!!

4 years ago, we released our first Footwork EP called “Freaktion” by Middle Eastern artist Sabbo who used the American RnB scene as a major influence for the sounds on that EP.

4 years on, this time we take from Chicago, USA and go to the Middle East (via Greece & Leeds) with Sarantis for our next EP that features Footwork with some Trap, Dubstep and Grime thrown in for good measure. This new EP soaks in flavours from the Middle East region for a mind-blowing and ground-breaking collision of sounds.

It all started when Sarantis sent us a Syrian inspired Footwork track. We were mind-blown and so we asked for an EP. We shared some of our knowledge & tastes on the wealth of Middle Eastern music with him to provide some stimulation. He used some of that inspiration and came up with 3 additional tracks within 48 hours and so we now have this EP.

It’s an amazing feat considering the amount of time Sarantis spent on it and the results are simply sublime and mind-shattering. We’ve never quite heard anything like this ever before and we feel it might open up the floodgates for a Middle Eastern Footwork explosion.

The EP kicks off with “Harem”, the Syrian track that Sarantis originally came up with. It’s a brooding dark Grime/Dubstep/Footwork number that fires on all cylinders announcing the arrival of something new and sinister but totally captivating.

Next up is the title track “Karami” named after a certain Lebanese Pop Princess. Sarantis delves into Trap territory for this one, adding a certain Lebanese Pop Princess’ sampled vox and some darbuka to give it that extra oomph, whilst retaining that dark brooding mood of the EP opener!

We venture into North Africa for the next one with a Futuristic Rai number that will most surely cause an epic “Sandstorm” in the desert. The Queen of Algeria makes her graceful presence felt on this track as Sarantis weaves her call and response vocals on top of some crazy Tribal Footwork beats.

Finally, the EP closes with the funkiest track on the EP; “Leila’s Kiss” is firmly planted on your cheek. An uplifting Juke track where the worlds of Iran and Algeria collide with the West to create not war but exceptional cinematic beauty.

DOWNLOAD it for free in glorious WAV format from BANDCAMP:



Fall Sessions #1 – Cumbia (Mega Roundup)


This may have been the longest time ever I’ve left you without cumbia. I didn’t count but I think it’s been more than a month. So how else could I start my new Fall Sessons series, a continuation of my (End of) Summer series, than with a cumbia edition?

All the great stuff that has been released since last time is simply too much to jam into one post.. But everything that you really have to check out is here!


If you’re directly involved in the cumbia scene you’ve probably see this buzzing around already:  a new cumbia/latin bass channel has been launched this month. In his interview, Makina talks about his German friends. These certainly include the two german tropicalists, René Gamez a.k.a.  Skrupersounds a.k.a Sonidero Sin Dinero Sound System and Pocho Gonzalez a.k.a. Dj Gonzalez, who now  joined forces to create a platform that supports upcoming producers from Latin America. The goal is to establish a closer connection, an “underground runway”, as they call it, between the scene in the homelands and the German global bass community. This will not be limited to music only, but also other artforms are part of the long term planning. And we from Generation bass are enthusiastic to help them forward!

Kumbale, which combines the virtues of a label and a soundsystem, starts with an impressive list of releases from more and less familiar names, which include Exta Machine, El Catorce and El $abor. You will definitely hear more from them soon!


We´ve got a lot of everything and mixtapes are no exception. I just needed to share them all.

Let´s start with UMOJA, the Dutch duo, one half of which I just saw live at Fantástica. The other half was booked that same night at a tropical party in Portugal, organised by Musicbox Lisboa. Judged by this exclusive mixtape, that night must have been equally warm and joyful!


The Amsterdam based tropicalist El Búho, Spanish for ´The Owl´, is one of the most unique nu-cumbia producers worldwide. His downtempo, atmospheric blend of deep-dub sounds with organic percussion and bird sounds makes clouds of thick, Amazonian jungle haze and thin Andean high land air steam right out of your speakers. This delicious mixtape was recorded on Graefenthal IV Kloosterestival, a meditative electronic music festival in and around an old monastery, organised by event platform 12inchCity in collaboration with INI Movement!

Dash Slktr is a global bass alrounder from Cali, Colombia who loves pumping, sensual dancefloor beats. This month he featured in the new edition of Regional Label‘s legendary mixtape series with an energetic blend of cumbia, moombahton and zouk bass!

Pablo Borchi, owner of our great sister-blog Cassetteblog and one of the minds behind Mexico City’s most successful global bass party Day Off, was featured prominently in Noisey Mexico with an inverview and a mixtape session. If you read Spanish, check out the great interview with one of the most active pushers of the global bass movement in Mexico. If you don’t, you can continue directly to the music!

Pedrolito Radioglobal is back with a new session of cumbia mixed with other global bass flavours, this time recorded live from this summer’s Goulash Disko Festival in Croatia!


We´ve also got many albums and EP’s in store. Take some time to listen through them because they all deserve a special place in your sets and in the playlist on your phones.

Lima´s global bass nestor Tribilín Sound is one of those artists who really take the movement to a whole new level. Next to experimenting with different styles, he knows how to bring an idea to perfection, resulting in excellent quality music that keeps blowing my mind release after release. This 9 track album blends his deep, organic-futuristic style with a variety of mostly downtempo flavours!

Andrés Digital is another nestor in the scene. The German cumbiambero embarked on an extensive project, collaborating with a wide array of artists. First of all vocalists from different corners of the global bass world: the Colombian digital cumbia alrounder Masilva, the German dancehall Mc Longfingah, the German afro-Latin band Mama Limón and the Peruvian singer Inti Irie. Besides, the original tracks have remixes by names such as LATA, chong-x, Dany F and Yelram Selectah.

The album, named ‘Andrés Digital y su Conjunto Extraterrestrial’, was published two weeks ago by the Mexico-City based netlabel Tropic-All

That same week, he also published an equally great EP, ‘Racordando’, on the Venezuelan-Peruvian netlabel El Flying Monkey Records!

The Argentinian producer Chancha Via Circuito is known for his mesmerising organic-chill style. Now he is back with a fresh and absolutely impressive 11-track album that mixes dreamy, organic Andes sounds with stunningly deep electronic vibes. Although most of the tracks are solo productions, guest appearances are made by the Canadian-Colombian indie-Latin vocalist Lido Pimienta, the Argentinian ancestral-folk singer Miriam Garcia, the Argentinian rapper Sara Hebe, and the Argentinian electronic folklorists Barrio Lindo and SidiRum. Another nice thing, with two tracks taking the chacarera rhythm, this nice, downtempo Argentinian folk rhythm seems there to stay in global bass, let’s hope for more in the future!

Just 3 days ago, the official album saw the light, published by the Brooklyn based label WHONDERWEEL Recordings. Grab it on Bandcamp, and don’t forget to check out the two video’s there!

Orihuela M.S.S. is an experimental post-futurist who is equally inspired by glitch art and underground internet culture as by Mexican cumbia sonidera and ‘global bass’. That creates a unique combination of styles and vibes, perfectly displayed in this self-published 7-track album ‘Piñas_para_todos.rar’: a musical pineapple-stand on a hypnotising Mexican market in cyberspace.. Grab the album here on his website!


After a month without a cumbia roundup, there are of course many new artists I want to introduce. The first is CumbiAp, a dark-edged tropicalist from Peru, who released a great 2-track mini EP 2 weeks ago!

And just two days back, he uploaded two remixes of tracks from his previous EP that came out half a year ago .. But that EP is so good that I had to share the original here!

Single releases

Let’s move on quickly to the single releases now!

Qechuaboi is back! While much of his recent work explores other styles, here some amazing experimental cumbia-dub-ton!

Rafael Aragon cumbiafied this absolute banger by the French dancehall-reggae artist Taiwan Mc , for his new remixes EP ‘Heavy This Year’, which you can grab here!

Erick Jaimez is also back with many new tunes! I selected two but make sure you check the others out as well!



Then now my absolute favourite treasure-find: deep vapor-trap cumbia from the Mexican channel Snu Music!

The Granada based tropical futurist Bigote is the man behind one of out favourite latin-tronic channels: Caballito Netlabel! He cumbiafied a trap banger by XVII. The original has just been released as an EDM.com exclusive!

Panikooo unleashes halloween with this deliciously dark tune that came out already last month!

LaEpidemiaDeLaCumbia remixed an amazing chill ambient-folk tune by the multi-talented Turkish composed and musician Omar Faruk Tekbilek!

Dj-negro-dub throws some heavy, energetic bass sounds into his cumbia groove!

Sumo hair blends cumbia with deep wobbly grime, a perfect combination that never gets old!


Qapac is an experimentalist from Peru whom I’ve blogged, I believe only once before. His new lush, soulful and slightly melancholic track delivers the perfect Sunday afternoon chill-sound!


And here some nice latin-psychedelism from El Teclado de Eliazz!

DjGeomix is a 3ball producer who makes some excursions into cumbia once in a while, often choosing remixes of reggaeton. Check out this cumbification of Jean Paul ft. Farruko‘s summer hit of this year, ‘Passion Whine‘!


Let’s also share another huge reggaeton connection here.. If you’re into reggaeton, you must have seen already that the Puerto Rican duo Plan B released a bass-inspired cumbiaton banger this month: ‘Mi Vecinita‘!

DJ TAO is back with many new cumbiaton vocal edits, I selected this one as my favourite!

As usual, I’ll close with some happy, accessible feelgood-tunes!

Fede Flores made a remix of Vatos Regios‘ ‘El Solterito‘ sunny, tropical grooves for all!

CumbiaDrive produced a happy retro game-flavoured 808-cumbia tune!

The Mexican formation Friccardos cumbiafied Magic!‘s hit ‘Rude‘!


And, under his on name, Fricci (1/3 of Friccardos) turned Kelis‘ classic hit ‘Trick Me‘ into tasty cumbiaton!


Fantástica: the end of an era.. but finally, I was there! (event review + interview)


Last summer was the first time I found out about Fantástica: Un Cumbia Happening. When I wrote that post, with only for a couple of weeks of blogging experience, I had been looking forward to go there all summer. I couldn’t have imagined that it would take another full year before I would finally head to Amsterdam to be there. It turned out to be the last chance I’d ever be able to have…

To get to the venue, I had to take one of the rusty ferries that move back and forth across the bay towards the northern side of Amsterdam. An old industrial area where apparently, cultural and nightlife activities have mushroomed over the recent years, drawing plenty of young folks away from, rather than into the city centre on a regular Saturday night. The girl who explained it to me had been living in Berlin for a while and it is this almost Berlinesque dynamism, which you won’t find much outside Amsterdam, that sets this city apart from much of the country.

She was a fan of Analog Africa and since the moment I told her about cumbia, Fantástica and Generation Bass, we lit up the night with sparks of music talk. “Are you sure you don’t want to join?” I asked, as the ferry approached the quay. The venue was already in sight and the sparkling lights, reflected by the rippling water, radiated warm vibes into the dark, cold night. “If I wouldn’t be on the brink of collapse out of tiredness, I definitely would,” she answered.

I’ve said it before, Fantástica is the best cumbia party on the European continent since 1969 and all of this has been created by just one man: the Amsterdam based Argentinian tropicalist Hernán Ambrogi, a.k.a. Makina, a guitar-player-producer-dj who performs with a velvet tiger on his head. In the early days of the ‘cumbia happenings’, it started as a jam-session, where people would get their instruments together and improvise around the classic themes of Colombian traditional cumbia, chicha, sonidera and villera. This developed into La Banda Fantástica, a cumbia band whose live performance has remained the main act of the night ever since.

The jam-atmosphere has never left the band. When they’re playing, happiness and fun buzz around the place and once in a while the crowd bursts out, loudly singing along one of the all-time classic themes.. “Nunca, pero nunca, me abandones cariñito!”

The terrace outside had a magnificent view on Amsterdam’s nocturnal skyline. After the performance, chilling there with one of the band members, talking about the current state of the cumbia scene in Western Europe, I heard that Hernan will so0n move back to Argentina, and that this edition of Fantástica was sort of his goodbye party. I realised that an era of cumbia in Amsterdam had come to an end and that I was, at least, lucky enough to attend its apotheosis.

I decided to use this final chance to put Hernan in the spotlights of Generation Bass.

GB: For the readers who don’t know you yet, could you first introduce yourself? Who is this tiger called Makina?

H: Hey hi! Makina is a producer and Dj who makes electronic music and who also happens to play guitar in a cumbia band. I also work as a producer for other artists, but I do that work under my real name, Hernán Alejandro Ambrogi.

GB: You’re a very versatile musician. You play the guitar, you dj, you produce different kinds of music, you organise events. Is there any ‘common denominator’ in what you do, a main passion that comes back in your different activities?

H: I’ll try not to be corny, but yes, the passion for music, hehehe.

I do indeed do lots of different things connected with music and they all demand different processes. Some of them I enjoy more than others… Like I have started organizing parties so I could play, but it is something that takes a lot of energy and time. And sending emails it’s definitely not my passion! I love playing guitar and ‘singing’ with ‘La Banda Fantástica’, because it is a very straight forward activity. I plug the guitar, check the mic is working, and play for hours …

The work I do in the studio is completely different.  It’s more about the ‘sound’ and not so much about live performance. I am usually alone and completely sober hehehe. I also produce other people, which is something I like to do very much. I am currently finishing an album with Fusée Dorée, really cool deep down tempo songs.

All in all is pretty much and I think I would like to start focusing on one or two activities… rather than doing 20 things at the same time. But I am not sure this will work, hehehe…

GB: There is a big Latino community in the Netherlands and there are many Latin parties, but there seems to be very little cumbia. Why is that? How would you describe the scene here?

H: I can’t talk about The Netherlands, because I actually never go out of Amsterdam hehe But I think there are some nice parties and Dj’s that are into cumbia over here. El Búho (who also organises the SubTropikal parties), Cafe de Calaveras, UMOJA, Seb from the Rebel Up! Soundclash crew, Dj Rengo Estar, Dj Rodrigo, Dj Larva… There are even free cumbia lessons at the OT301 on Sundays! It’s not like there is a huge scene, but they are all great Dj’s and we are also friends, which is also a nice thing.

I would really like to organize a cumbia festival someday and invite them all; and also to bring all our friends from Germany, Spain and Latin America. But Like I’ve said, I don’t enjoy sending emails that much so… Maybe one day!

GB: Would you say Fantástica has put cumbia on the map?

H: I don’t know, hahaha.

People come to dance, get drunk, try to find a boy or a girl, experience the live band, listen to lots of great Cumbia Dj form around the globe, eat some empanadas or bananas, drink some more, and when you want to realize what time it is, you are already been kicked away by the dutch closing time laws, hehe…

I’ve always tried to make a happening and not just another party with a guy behind a laptop playing .mp3’s. So from the cumbia jam sessions we organised in the begining, the band came up. Next to that we always have dancers, fruit, cocktails, dj’s, vj’s, jungle decoration…

GB: What kind of people are coming to Fantástica, is there any target group?

H: I am not a big fan of the term ‘latin’ so from the beginning we’ve always try to make it accessible for everyone. Anyone can dance cumbia and you don’t need to be dress in any specific fashion, so in the end everybody feels welcome.

I think that one of the nicest things at the Fantástica is that everybody is smiling, there is a really nice vibe each time and they all leave happy!

GB: Now you’re moving to Argentina permanently, can we expect any fresh Makina projects over there?

H: Well yes! I am now busy with my first album that I am going to release under the name ‘makina y orquesta’. It’s a conceptual album for electronics, bandoneón and guitarra criolla. The style could be described as deep-organic-argentinian-electronic-music (!!!!). I’ve been listening to lots of Atahualpa Yupanqui and Murcof. Together with Deep House I guess are the biggest influences on the album.

The idea is to perform it live with Lisandro Silva Echevarría on guitars and Patricio ‘Tripa’ Bonfiglio on bandoneón. They are really amazing musicians so I can’t wait to start jamming with them!


Meanwhile, one half of the Dutch tropical duo UMOJA (the other half had a booking in Portugal that same night) had settled behind the desks and heated up the dance floor with warm-blooded, nostalgic vintage Latin from original vinyl records. Think about Frente Cumbiero, Nacho Paredes Y Su Combo De OroAlejandro Duran, or Los Corraleros. And for the final hour before closing time, Makina himself climbed the dj booth for a fresh blend of some more nu-cumbia flavours.

The people I talked to were indeed a very diverse mix. Some were personal friends of the artists, others had roots in a cumbia-country and were happy an event like this existed in the Netherlands, again others had ended up at the place randomly and were amazed by all the warmth, happiness and delicious grooves.

“When I came here for the first time,” a Romanian girl told me, “I’d never heard of cumbia, but when I heard the rhythm I felt it right away, as if it’s in my blood!”

Another girl told me about her memories of Aruba. “On the island, you hear cumbia on the radio all year long. There’s no better music for me to bring that feeling back..”

A girl who danced like a true cumbia dance queen happened to be a Dutch girl from Amsterdam who was just freestyling.

An era of Fantástica: un cumbia happening in Amsterdam has come to an end. But I’m happy I’ve been able to experience it to the fullest. Let’s see what the future holds.