Bottom left: Tico Sandoval, S x m b r a (Generation Bass), DJ The Teacher (Kuddedieren), DJ John Tinnick (Safari); Top left: SSDSS (Kumbale), MC Gene Power (Kuddedieren), Samira (Kuddedieren), Zoë (Kuddedieren), DJ Addik (Kuddedieren)
I believe I’ve never sweated and danced so much in one weekend as the weekend before, with the only exception probably being the previous Rimboe Riddim party, organised by the Dutch dancehall crew Kuddedieren, where I had the chance to meet Brazilian legend Omulu, chill with an old friend of Munchi’s and lost myself dancing ecstatically in a small, sweaty tourist club in Amsterdam where groups of British girls and French guys made the show. This time Kuddedieren performed in my very own hometown for Tropicale BassClub, in the same venue where once the 108 Moombahton parties marked the beginning of my music journey, and I was there to report.
Almost the entire scene was there. The tropicalistas from Safari were on the line-up together with Utrecht’s homegrown cumbia hero Café de Calaveras and the Gouda based upcoming tropical bass excitement Cookachoo. But the biggest surprise were visitors from Germany: KUMBALE‘s head honcho Rene a.k.a. Sonidero Sin Dinero Sound System and Mexico’s no.1 percussion virtuoso Tico Sandoval! The Kuddedieren crew knows them from their gig at the KUMBALE curated Esperanza Latin party in Berlin, which we at Generation Bass helped to develop, and booked Tico to enrich their music with live drums.
Tropicale Bassclub is the result of booking agencies Topbillin Netherlands and Mother Music to showcase the most promising Dutch tropical bass mainstage acts in such as Cookachoo, Zanillya, RBBP, Kuddedieren and Capadose, together on a club night, touring the country’s major cities. The format and sound of these artists all seem to have been shaped in some or other way by examples like Major Lazer or Buraka Som Sistema: an energetic blend of dancehall, kuduro, EDM-trap/twerk and moombahton, without the grotesqueness of their Mad Decent counterparts.
One thing that stood out last time and now again was the great diversity of music styles, even though dancehall was definitely the central flavour. Café de Calaveras opened the night with a hot set of familiar reggaeton, dancehall and afrobeats and many references to hiphop and RnB, while the Safari soundsystem moved deep into Andean electrofolklore, cumbia, kuduro and DnB, evoking a majestic dance battle on the dancefloor! Being a live-only act, Cookachoo performed a set of own tracks in their characteristic, theatresque style that resonated well with the audience.
After Haarlem, Leiden and Zwolle Utrecht was the third city to host Tropicale BassClub and the turnout was definitely satisfying for a first night in a new city. But after Cookachoo’s gig, when Kuddedieren themselves ascended the stage for their traditional closing act, many people had already left because they thought they’d seen it all by now. Nothing could have been further from the truth. Even though their format may superficially look like Major Lazer or Buraka, the crew of DJ’s Addik & The Teacher, Singer/MC/Dancer Zoë, dancer Siggy, dancer Samira and the freshest addition MC and dancer Gene Power, is of a different order. A live performance by Kuddedieren is unlike most things you will ever experience. In the whirlpool of energy you are drawn into, it no longer feels like watching a performance or listening to a DJ. They are having a party for and with you.
The crew: Zoë, MC Gene Power, The Teacher, Addik (seated), Siggy
Kuddedieren aren’t EDM DJ’s with an MC and mere entourage dancers, nor a band only playing self-made tracks, and not a traditional dancehall soundsystem either. The project was started a few years ago by Ruben (The Teacher) and Addik, who wanted to extend DJ’ing with more extensive live performance and made auditions for dancers. These eventually became Siggy, Zoë and Samira. It was hard to find people loyal to the project, especially for MCs since all the upcoming EDM acts were looking them, so it took a while until Gene was added to the group, making this dedicated team complete.
Eventually, the atmosphere was so easy-going that Zoë invited everybody left in the large hall to come on stage to finish the party cozily together. Girls from the crowd managed to get hold of the drumming sticks and examined their sense of rhythm while Tico joined the dancing madness. Unfortunately, the speakers blasted so many decibels that Tico wasn’t always audible that well, but the moments where his timbales and cowbells pierced through the thick wall of bass were moments of pure joy. And before finally calling turning the lights back on, the crowd could get free their last bits of dancing energy left in their bodies to a several minutes long solo of pure organic drums!
KUDDEDIEREN with the crowd on stage after the show
GB: Aren’t you guys way too unique for the name ‘Herd Animals’?
KD: We reflect daily needs (dancing, music, sexiness and entertainment) to the crowds we play for and make a decent mix between the well-known tracks and the new hot vibes. So the herd thing in the act is: we follow the crowd but we also make the crowd following us by hitting fresh tunes and hot elements in our performances as well as in our own tracks. What you give is what you get, that’s the whole point of the name ‘KUDDEDIEREN’.
With the radioshows and the Rimboe Riddim parties, we want to spread the electronic tropical vibe and be a platform for acts, music and everything around that. We support acts totally unknown in the Netherlands like Omulu as well as popular Dutch headliners such as DJ Dyna. They all do tropical music but in their own way.
Dancehall and reggae are always the basis, to show the mainstream audience what they can expect, but for the readers of Generation Bass: we also play zouk bass, afrohouse, trap/twerk music, a little EDM and also a bit of kuduro and drum ’n bass.
GB: That’s interesting, global/tropical bass as an extension to dancehall, rather than a form of EDM.. Where you the first in the Dutch dancehall scene to experiment with that?
KD: We haven’t really been part of the dancehall scene here to be honest. Dancehall is actually one of the most effective ways to make the girls dance and make a party going. That was the main reason for us to play a lot of it during our sets. About a year ago there was a guy and he told us that it was not really approriate for us to play those styles. He said: “it doesn’t fit you”. That was the reason for The Teacher and Addik to go to Jamaica, have some experiences over there, learn more about their culture and make some music. They made vlogs during their trip, you can see them here:
KUDDEDIEREN in Jamaica
Now, after the Jamaica trip, we learn more about Jamaican and caribbean music in Holland as well, but we are still more involved with the Jamaican dancehall scene then the Dutch dancehall scene.
GB: What does an average week look like for KUDDEDIEREN?
KD: Check out our vlogs, it’s all in there!
Freshest vlog, out since this morning (Featuring me.. a bit.. in your face)
GB: Any specific future plans you can already share with us?
KD: In the first place we have some fresh tracks with KUDDEDIEREN (almost ready) with a (big) Jamaican artist. We’re still looking for a good partner (label) to put it out with the right attention. Besides we are extending the tropical network in Europe right now. There is a really nice niche-market in Europe but we need to work together to let it grow and spread the virus. But we are working on it! That is also were Rimboe Riddim fits the plan at this moment.
GB: Where can Generation Bass readers see you live this fall?
After the party and next morning, I hang out with Tico and Rene ‘SSDSS’ who had to perform that next night at yet another party: Alta Cumbia Night, organised by the Amsterdam based cumbia band La Banda Fantástica who haven’t quit at all since the Fantástica parties came to an end a year ago. Not at all, the spacious venue (OT301: a vibrant alternative cultural centre) was completely packed. According to Facebook about 500 people showed up but I wouldn’t be surprised if there were even more.
The event combined a passionate cumbia party with a serious tone: the premiere presentation of “Ayotzinapa, crónica de un crimen de Estado”, a gripping documentary about the 43 Mexican students who vanished from the face of the earth by the hands of the country’s deeply rotten government, directed by Xavier Robles. Watch it here –>>
“Ayotzinapa, crónica de un crimen de Estado” (Ayotzinapa, chronicle of a state-crime)
From 22:00 onward the night changed into cumbia, starting with the vintage & classic latin rock DJ Larva and ‘Fantástica Un Cumbia Happening’ OG DJ Rengo Estar, both from Argentina. Unfortunately, I didn’t arrive early enough to see either the documentary or the beginning of the night. I arrived around midnight and was impressed by the venue’s hidden entrance, nice garden in front and especially its size. DJ Rengo Estar would tell me its fascinating history: squatted in the late 90s and now in the middle of an official legalisation process. On the wall in the long entrance hall was a big sheet with on it, in black and white, the faces of the 43 students from Ayotzinapa and their names: a commemoration that once again made me realise how intricately music is related to the social and political struggles of the people who create it.
I once theorised that one of the reasons why there is so little cumbia in the Netherlands is that the Mexican, Argentinian and Peruvian communities here are very small. Apart from their yearly Independence Day, Colombians in the Netherlands don’t seem to give an awful lot about it. But La Banda Fantástica single handedly managed to build a strong scene in Amsterdam, attracting a unique cocktail of young and older [email protected] (mostly but not exclusively Mexicans, Argentinians and Chileans), hippies, hipsters, ‘urban’ dressed kids, nu-punks, avant-garde fashionistas, glamourous Latin-night clubgirls and every possible overlapping combination between these categories. As I, reunited with the Rene and Tico and equipped with a beer, entered the main hall in the middle of La Banda Fantástica’s grand performance and saw this party happening in front of me, I realised that you can speak of an actual, full-blown cumbia SCENE in Amsterdam that goes way beyond DJs-producers exploring a mere gimmick.
La Banda Fantástica performing for a passionately dancing crowd
The band members with burlesque performer Nina
La Banda Fantástica played a diverse collection classics from Argentinian cumbia villera, Mexican cumbia sonidera, Andean chicha and the Colombian originals and also lots of catchy cumbia rock. Towards the end of their performance, we were surprised with a very nice tropical burlesque show by La Nina!
After the band performance, Rene and Tico ascended the stage, closing the night with the more electronic interpretation of cumbia. Everything that we’ve been blogging passionately for years, from cumbia-dub, cumbia trap, cumbiaton and 3ball, now blasted through the industrial hall in front of 500 people, accompanied by Tico’s energetic breaks and polyrhythmic insanity.
Tico jamming the congas!
Tico made a nice vlog of this intense and fun weekend that was just one long party and amazing scene-meetup from beginning to end!