November has arrived. Today and tomorrow, in Mexico, Central America and more places in the world, there will be festivities to honour the loved ones we’ve lost and mock the scaring side of death with music, food and dancing. This means: colourful decorations and costumes depicting skulls and skeletons in happy, mundane settings.
Since last week’s post, I’ve been thinking some more about the whole halloween vs. dia de los muertos thing, cultural mixing and how to judge traditions in general. It’s not an easy issue and it doesn’t only affect the Day of the Dead. Take the annual Black Pete controversy in my own country. Sinterklaas is synonymous with warm memories for generations of kids, but the blackface thing makes the festivity uneasy for the afrocaribbean community and more or less self-evidently unacceptable in the eyes of almost every sensible person outside Holland. The Dutch are agressively defensive about it because ‘tradition’ and ‘national identity’ are always a deep nerve.
The whole thing has also sparked interest in the roots of these European midwinter festivities, tracing back to pre-Christian religious rituals that have disappeared in most of Europe but survived in more isolated places such as the Alps.. In these versions, Saint Nicholas is accompanied by dark creatures that look like belonging to halloween rather than Christmas. Whereas halloween parades are the pinnacle of fashionable novelty in Amsterdam, ‘krampuslaufs’, featuring a friendly bearded bishop among the ghouls, are very ancient heritage in some Alpine towns.
But anyway, let’s move on to cumbia. No better way to connect back to the latin side of things. The transnational bass scene has shown love for the Day of the Dead for quite some years now, pushing the theme in a playful but respectful way with latin-bass and moombahton nights. And Generation Bass bloggers have also gone before me with exactly the same concept (the downloads from that post are still online!): ‘cumbia de los muertos’!
Let’s see if I can still be original about the theme, with a mega-post varying from the chill to the macabre… wepa!
I kinda like making my own traditions, so here’s this week’s mixtape. It’s from Winick, a member of the Russian transnational bass collective Midget Ninjas: an easy listening mix, exploring some nice transnationalistic cumbia mixed with other tropical genres.. ‘No Comprendo’!
The next item I want to bring under your attention is the new EP from Manduka: ‘Mi Pollito’. This EP is fantastic, it is all-cumbia but explores very different approaches to it. ‘Mi Perrito’ is sweaty and groovy with just the right use of traditional cumbia samples, whereas ‘El Luchador’ is downtempo and experimental. ‘Mi Tierra’ is deliciously deep and ‘La Sonora Palacio’ brings back the party-energy!
Another great new EP, from the Monterrey-based producer Henry Henry, was released this week on Caballito Netlabel. His experimental beats are a digital tribute to the Chilean folkloristic poet, musician and artist Violeta Parra. The tracks contain elements of cumbia, zouk-bass and moombahton.. I selected the most obviously cumbia ones:
It is actually the first time that I have the honour to blog a track from the Mexican experimental bass producer Siete Catorce! His creations have featured featured on Generation Bass, but the last time was right shortly before I joined the blog. Here are his new creations: a subtle minimal-cumbia-juke remix of Coki ft. Benga’s – ‘Night’..
…and a 3ballistic edit of Robot Koch’s ‘Gorom Sen’!
And also don’t forget to check out his new EP, which has no cumbia but does bring some nice moombahdeep, minimal techno and juke..!
I don’t know whether the Venezuelan electronic folklore project PachamamaSound has been blogged here before. I hope it has, because their music is awesome. This psychedelic cumbiaton tune was released this week:
.. .and I couldn’t resist blogging this acid-electro cumbia track as well, I must have overlooked it last month..
There can’t be a megapost without a selection from the newest urban cumbiaton. Here is the newest track from DJ Jess from the Oriente Music Crew, together with DJ Nenito Mix!
And, from Argentina DJ Tao again with his perreo inducing cumbification of Jadiel’s ‘Quien nos e Funa un Philly’!
What surprised me most when doing research for this post was that I couldn’t find any 3ball dedicated to the Day of the Dead.. not even ‘prehispanico’ stuff (or I just haven’t looked well enough..) For halloween, strangely enough, there were loads of tracks as well as mixtapes. I selected this massive ‘Zombie Attack’ from the 3ball & cumbia dj-producer DJ Gecko!
However, the whole moombahton world has been crazy about Dia de los Muertos over the last week. We already blogged the compilation from Kingman Fire, but there is more! Even though it’s not cumbia in the strict sense, I couldn’t resist mentioning it..
Mexico City’s moombah pioneer Fake Moustache made this deliciously dark tune for halloween and dia de los muertos together.. this comes close to the definition of a latin death-rave!
The Dominican moombahtonista Mediopicky made this equally dark ‘Moombah of the Dead’ tune for Tropical Bass and Mal Dicen.. hereby, love from Generation Bass as well!
But the crown on the Dia de los Muertos moombah-tributes is this powerful banger from Oddzilla, released on Moombahton.net!
This massive dark madness reminded me of one of my favourite nu-cumbia tunes of all time, from the Mexican crew Malefics, who have dubbed their style of nu-cumbia ‘post-brutalism’.. I’m almost sure this track has been blogged on Generation Bass when it was newly released.. but I don’t care, in a post like this it should be present ! Also make sure you grab their newest tunes, most are still up for download ;-)..
Coming from these macabre vibes, I finish with something more emotional and joyful. Whoever says ‘cumbia’ and ‘Muertos’ in the same sentence, of course thinks about this legendary song from the Los Angeles latin rock-rap band Ozomatli. Canalh blogged the soundcloud record.. here is a life performance of this essential piece of cumbia-education!
Party night has started now.. be inspired by ancient traditions and their new expressions.. with respect !
Hasta la proxima !