Archive for the 'Events' Category

Ayacucho in Japan

Opening Scene Japan meets Peru from SONIDO LENGUA on Vimeo.

Mauka Zapato from SONIDO LENGUA on Vimeo.

This is a video of my uncle Glenn Ore de la Fuente playing his guitar in Japan. He is playing the style of music I did a post on earlier called “Guitarra Ayacuchana”. The lyrics he sings in are a mixture of Quechua (indigenous language of Peru) and Spanish. The story goes that he married a Peruvian woman of Japanese decent and they moved to Japan. When my dad got this DVD from Glenn he thought it was a CD of his music, not realizing it was this amazing video of him playing musica Ayacuchana in Japan of all places. We haven’t heard anything about Glenn for a while and my dad has been trying to find out his whereabouts. I looked up this statue and it seems to be called Ushiku Daibustu, in Ibaraki Prefecture. From what I saw online it was one of the areas hit hard by the tsunami/earthquake. I hope there is an end in sight to the suffering they are experiencing right now and that Glenn and his family are safe. Big love to our Japanese Super Sonido readers!


Digging In Barcelona

Sorry for not getting a post out before I went on my much needed vacation, but I thought I’d write a few articles for you people while I’m nursing this New Years day hangover.

If you ever end up in Barcelona Spain, there are a few record shops that you need to check out. Much has changed in the six years since I’ve last been here, and it was obvious that Barcelona wasn’t immune to the dramatic decline in independent records stores – as most cities have been experiencing in the last 2 years or so. Nevertheless, I was surprised at the weird Latin American selections I turned up with. From South American labels I’ve never heard of, to common labels whose release I’ve never seen before. I had to dig deep, but it was worth the effort. Ill post some music up when I get back. On a side note, I noticed a lot of Italian Disco too – something I know nothing about. But if that’s your thing, I’m sure some of these stores will have something you will like.

Anyway, if you happen to be meandering through the decorative streets of Barcelona, you may want to check out the two following stores:

Disco Edison Riera Baixa 9 &10 – If I ever lived in Barcelona, this would probably be my favorite shop. A large selection and odd mix of used Latin American vinyl. It’s a shame though, looks as if the owner is retiring and trying to sell the store.

Revolver Records 11 Carrer De Tallers – this place had piles of 45’s and I totally came up in this joint. It mostly has a heavy metal and indie rock feel to it, but the used vinyl selection was good and reasonably priced. There are also some decks, so you can try before you buy.

Beats With Heat

I got some press – so I thought I’d throw this up. I’ve been traveling a lot lately and I plan to be in Europe for a month. If anyone wants to do a guest article in my absence, they are more than welcome too. I can moderate it while on vacation. Email me @ > In the meantime, I’ll try to toss-up a few articles before I go. I want to wish everyone a great Holiday Season!!! Enjoy!!!

Sonido Franko

Written by Daniela Garcia @

It’s a humid summer evening as Colombian quintet Bomba Estereo takes the stage in Millennium Park, just one of the many acts playing throughout July as part of Chicago’s monthlong Colombian Music Festival. Scattered across the Great Lawn are music fans sitting on blankets, enjoying the free show. The sounds drifting from the stage draw the attention of a curious passer-by or two. Closer to the stage, a small, energetic group of fans bounces and dances to the infectious beat, a new mixture of sound known as digital cumbia.

Colombian-American Julian Castro, who recently became a fan of the subgenre, was up front, taking in the new and old sounds from his homeland. “I think what also is exciting is seeing bands coming out of South America that feel free to incorporate their own indigenous rhythms and native customs into their music,” Castro says. “A lot of times, bands feel like they have to fit into more of a North American context in order to make it. It’s really refreshing to hear a band [like Bomba Estereo] that is kind of doing something a little different.”

It’s a musical revolution known by a variety of names: la cumbia nueva, electro-cumbia, digital cumbia. Yet no matter what you call it, they all describe a product of the fusion of traditional Colombian beats and electronica.
Traditional cumbia can be traced back to the colonial period, mainly along Colombia’s Caribbean coast. The beat originally began as a courtship dance between the indigenous people and those of African descent. The original instruments included wooden flutes known as gaitas, drums and other forms of percussion.

As the genre’s popularity spread across the country, cumbia was adapted to appeal to different social classes and began to include new elements, like horns, piano and bass. By the 1950s, cumbia had become widely recognized and enjoyed throughout South and Central America and Mexico, who made this Colombian rhythm its own. Musicians now sample older songs and put their own spin on them or, at times, add modern instrumentation to the various styles of cumbia.

Digital cumbia’s origins are difficult to pinpoint, but its popularity in the past few years can be traced to Argentina thanks to the work of the collective known as the Zizek Urban Beats Club.

Tango is often the form of dance and music that is commonly associated with that country. Like cumbia, tango was originally popular in working-class slums and has since found its way to a younger mainstream audience in the form of tango nuevo. Now, digital cumbia is following quickly in its footsteps.

“Cumbia has always been great on the dance floor; it only needed the electronic ingredient to make it appeal to young people that usually doesn’t listen to it,” DJ Sylvestre Herrera says.  “I think there has been a rebirth of Latin American folklore in the past few years. It happened to tango, so it was just a matter of time before cumbia finally got its own facelift.”

The Zizek collective emerged in 2006, providing Buenos Aires with a new monthly dance party fueled by a unique, electronic beat. Grant Dull, an American expatriate and one of Zizek’s co-founders, explains that “at the time, [in Buenos Aires] there was an emerging scene of producers that were all experimenting with cumbia … it’s such an old, legendary, popular and amazing rhythm.

“And I think what we’re doing with it is taking it into the 21st century using modern tools and technology to just give it a reinterpretation for the digital, modern age.”


Zizek’s founders created ZZK Records, now home to some of South America’s most well-known digital cumbia acts. Their roster includes Tremor, the alter ego of producer Leonardo Martinelli, who uses a mixture of indigenous sounds and synthesizers, and El Remolon, a popular DJ who polishes and remixes traditional cumbia with sleek digital beats.

Dull, who also creates music under the DJ name El G, is a professed lover of both new and old cumbia. “It’s just really fun to be working with a group of producers and musicians that are respecting their roots but building on technology and just taking [cumbia] into a completely new territory,” he says.

The Binary Cumbia Orchestra, DJ Silvestre Herrera’s project, is also contributing to the digital cumbia scene on a smaller. Having tired of house and techno, Herrera began experimenting with cumbia and was encouraged to continue his work after receiving positive feedback for “Coomvee-ah!” – one of his first tracks – from Federico Randall, the beatmaker behind The Peronists. “What I like about [digital cumbia] is that there is room to explore new sounds,” he says. “It’s not a standardized genre.”

The Internet plays a vital role in digital cumbia’s expansion. Music blogs from both North and South America (and their readers) have taken notice and responded enthusiastically.

Joseph Franko, owner of the blog Super Sonido, began to notice digital cumbia’s rapid growth in popularity in the last three years. “One has to understand that cumbia is a pretty simple form of Latin American music,” he says. “So when it emerged from Colombia, other countries were able to incorporate their own regional sounds to that basic 4/4 cumbia beat. Countries like Mexico and Peru put their own stamp on the genre, very similar to what electronic musicians are doing today.”

Blanca Mendez, a contributor at Latin music blog Club Fonograma, agrees that interest has peaked among readers. “We do keep up with Zizek a lot because they really are at the forefront of all of this,” she says. “Really any artists under their label we keep a close eye on because they’re all doing really interesting things.”

Mendez, who is from the border town of Eagle Pass, Texas, grew up listening to cumbia mexicana at family gatherings and had never had much an opinion of it. With her musical preferences leaning heavily toward electronica, digital cumbia caters to both her taste and her roots. She became a full-fledged fan more than a year ago, when she first heard a cumbia-fied remix of Santogold’s “Shove It.”

“I was already a fan of the original song when I heard DJ Toy Selectah’s remixed version, and it was just astounding how well the combination worked,” she says. “I never would have expected it to work that well.”

It was only a matter of time before digital cumbia slowly made its way to North America. Dull says that around 2007, he met one of the organizers of South by Southwest, the Austin, Texas, festivals of film, music and interactive culture, and was encouraged to help bring digital cumbia across country lines. The feedback they received at SXSW was positive and motivated the Zizek crew to bring its music to the U.S. on a broader scale. By 2008, Dull and his fellow musicians embarked on Zizek’s first North American summer tour – now an annual event.

Dull says digital cumbia’s success is due to “its ability to speak to any kind of music lover – from a college kid that’s looking for something new and hip to somebody who’s into world music and wants to know what these [people] from Argentina are doing with cumbia, something that has such a rich history.”

Back in Chicago, Colombian-American fan Castro believes digital cumbia provides yet another way to embrace his dual identity. “A lot of us connect to our heritage through our parents’ generation and through our parents’ views, and since we’re growing up in the States, we don’t necessarily get a lot of interaction with people our age back home,” he says. “So it’s a way to kind of connect with youth that we don’t have access to because we’re growing up in a different [context].”

As digital cumbia slowly but firmly establishes itself in both the worlds of electronic and Latin American music, new subgenres will follow as other traditional rhythms find themselves merged with the likes of reggaeton, dancehall, and more. Thanks to online communities and a young, enthusiastic audience, the possibilities seem endless.

“In the past, the music business was tightly controlled by only a few media outlets. The availability of music online and social media outlets has really counteracted that,” says Franko of Super Sonido. “It gives a musician the opportunity to work more independently and expand his or her reach. It’s a boon for genres like digital cumbia or any other type of underground Latin music.

“So whether it’s a passing fad or not, I believe that the best has yet to come.”


Ranil y su Conjunto Tropical

I must be getting the same press kits as Oliver at Soul-Sides, some PR outfit sent me the Roots of Chicha 2 aswell. But be sure to check out Soul-Sides Cumbia article, O-dub kind of nails it – with respect to the resurgence/popularity of the cumbia genre. The one I really liked the best was Ranil’s Jungle Party. Pretty awesome Amazonian Cumbia from the people at Light In The Attic Records  –  they were nice enough to let me download the whole album. Thanks guys! I’ll pretty much let them do the talking.  I selected the song I liked the best from this really obscure artist. Highly recommended album. Enjoy!

1. Ranil y Su Conjunto Tropical: Cumbia Sin Nombre

More info for this record can be found here: Masstropicas

Deeply funky psychedelic-surf guitar jams from Ranil y Su Conjunto Tropical (Ranil and his Tropical Band). Ranil’s Jungle Party (re-released for the first time by folks at Masstropicas and limited to 1,000 copies) brings back from the past the much loved popular music of Peruvian cumbia.

For the uninitiated, Peruvian (or Amazonian) cumbia was to Peru as Tropicália was to Brazil—a 1960s – 1970s popular music style that mixed (often irreverently) traditional music with those of African and the West. Hailing from the Belen district of Iquitos, nestled within the heart of the Amazonian rainforest, Ranil and Co. were definitely digging on some Western Surf music while keeping alive the traditional highland “huayño” dance music.

On Ranil’s Jungle Party, Ranil and his Tropical Band keep things in a mellow, funky mood with some heavy psych-surf guitar workouts. The result is a style mash-up not unlike that of African “Juju” or “High-Life” music, popularized by the incendiary Stratocaster guitar playing of King Sunny Adé. In fact, think of Ranil’s Jungle Party as King Sunny Adé jamming with some Andes dudes while on vacation in Peru. Dig?

Stand out tracks include “Marlenita” with its highly melodic guitar riff and frenetic percussion and “Chinito rulo” which grooves in an Eastern drone / psych fashion and the beautifully melodic electric 12-string of “Tus cabellos”. It’s largely an instrumental affair but Ranil steps up to the mic for “Denuncia a tu Pátron”, “El manicero” and “Carbonero”.

Masstropicas worked with Ranil on this vinyl LP re-release (his records were originally produced and released by himself on his own label) and we look forward to more in the future.

A Media Noche Con El Dj Roger Mas

Just wanted to drop a dope mix by friend – Dj Roger Mas. All cover songs en Español – Really liking the James Brown cover by Manolo Munoz “Lo Mio”. I have to admit though, I don’t really care for David Lee Roth – in any language. Enjoy!

Version Especial en Español

Bert y Ernie – “Rubber Duckie”
David Lee Roth – “Yankee Rose”
Bow Wow Wow – “C30, C60, C90 Go!”
Blondie – “Llamame”
Abba – “Dame! Dame! Dame!”
Tag Team, MC Skeey – “Whomp! Si Lo Es”
Stevie Wonder – “Mi Querido Amor”
Manolo Munoz – “Lo Mio”
Los Rockin Devil’s – “Mi Carcacha”
Los Rockin Devil’s – “Lupe”
Camisas Negras – “Fiebre”
Santo y Johnny – “Luna Azul”
Punto Cuatro – “Muchachas Malas”
La Cumbia Moderna de Soledad -“Cres Que Soy Sexy”
Punto Cuatro – “Suena Mi Campana”
Memo Rios – “Muy Delgada”
Toni Basil – “Mickey (Version en Espanol)”

Also doing an event in San Francisco for Mexican independence day – hope to see you guys there!

Chicano Batman June 10th to the 12th

Ladies and Gentleman please join us Thursday night June 10th for a very special edition of Carne Tremula @ The Layover.

It is a complete honor and privilege for us to introduce Chicano Batman to their very first Northern California show.

If you live in the Oakland please come down and support them by dancing your nalgas off to the sounds of sweet Latin soul and psychedelic cumbia beats. Rigo Tovar never died! Try to arrive early because I think we are going to capacity on this one. The $5.00 cover is worth it, these guys are fucking amazing live. Hosted by the incredible Vivian Bovell & the infamous Sonido Franko.

Also, if you can’t catch them on Thursday or you want to see them again, be sure to check them out Saturday night June 12th at El Super Ritmo @ The Make Out Room in San Francisco. The cover charge is usually $5 to $7, but it is also well worth the admission. Homeboys El Dj Roger Mas y El Kool Kyle have been hosting this excellent cumbia dance party for the last 3 to 4 years. Should be a really awesome show.

There is even more! Listen to KALX from 12 to 3 pm on thursday for a live set of Chicano Batman. And if you miss that they’ll be performing live for Pirate Cat Radio  in San Francisco at 12 noon on Saturday. Lastly, we don’t have a show for them for Friday the 11th, if you have a venue or house party that needs an extra band……Chicano Batman will save the day.


Road to Los Angeles

Whenever I have doubts in life, I jump on a plane and fly to the Bob Hope International Airport of Burbank California.  I’ll be there to attend the record release party for Chicano Batman’s new LP. You should try to join us if you are in the area too. Word!