Archive Page 3

Day 9: Cumbia con Arpa

In Colombia, Los Llanos (the plains) are the vast agricultural lands of savannah that stretch all the way to Venezuela. Both the vallenato and cumbia originated in the northern Caribbean coast – whereas a different type of music from the plain region developed around the instrument of the harp. Musica Llanera, or so it’s called, never really got the attention that other musical genres did of the day. However, Ernesto Torrealba seems to have melded the two genres together quite well.

Cumbia Sobre El Llano is a quasi-reflection of what typical Musica Llanera is about: music with a rhythmic drive and vocals that verge on over sentimentality. But what other instrument can actually sound like the wind hitting the brush and savannah like the harp can? Possibly a testament of how bounded a music is to its own environment. Enjoy!

1. Ernesto Torrealba y su Conjunto: Cumbia Sobre El Llano

Day 8: Two Covers From The Gas Label

The majority of the records and 45’s I own on the Gas label are really bad. It seems that they focused on smaller regional Mexican acts whose prerequisite for getting on the label was that the band had to be horrible. However, every now and again, the label seemed to be keen on allowing cover songs of really obscure US funk and soul music.

The early 70’s Mexican group La Sangre Caliente has had their seminal self titled Lp recently reissued and their rendition of La Culebra was a Vampi-Soul favorite for many years. I actually own their only album, but the dope cover Clarence Reid’s “Till I Get My Share” never made it on that record for some reason. The romantic balada group Revelacion 2000 even gets into the act with a cover of The Spinners “Just You And Me Baby” – they even do a version of “Killing Me Softly” but unfortunately I couldn’t find the 45.  

Anyway, sorry for the short post. I’ve been grasping for material lately. But hang in there, I just have to dig a bit deeper, I’m sure I have more surprises. Please please please Enjoy!!!

P.S. I told you the Packers would win.

1. La Sangre Caliente: No Me Ire De Aqui

2. Revelacion 2000: Tu Y Yo Nena

Day 7: Cumbia for Stoners

This 45 was given to me by my uncle in a bag along with some Michael Jackson records, a Los Destellos record, and another equally perplexing yet amazing 45 by a guy named Luis Bullion, which sounds like something Allan Vega would make if he was from Peru.

Anyways, I asked my uncle where he got this one but his memory was fuzzy. He seemed to have had it in his closet since the 70’s. I couldn’t find any info on the Centro Musical de San Jacinto other than the fact that San Jacinto is a town in the province of Ancash in northern Peru and that Oscar Araunjo was apparently the band leader. I love it because it has such a unique style, equal parts huayno, huaylash, cumbia, free jazz, and hard-core especially with the fuzzed out guitar/bass! I provided rebajada versions to for all you cumbia stoners. Provecho

– Dj Lenuga

1. Centro Musical de San Jacinto: Flor De Liz

2. Centro Musical de San Jacinto: Cumbia De Rosita

3. Centro Musical de San Jacinto: Flor De Liz REBAJADA

4. Centro Musical de San Jacinto: Cumbia De Rosita REBAJADA

Day 6: More Spanish Freakbeat

I kind of deviate from the whole subtext of my audioblog when I start putting up music from Spain. Even though some music from Latin America is intertwined with certain Spanish cultural traditions, it would be difficult for me to make that case about a musical act from Barcelona trying to copy a bunch of guys from Liverpool. With all that removed, I still think it sounds really cool. I’ve always had an interest in English cover songs done in the Spanish language (be it from Spain or Latin America). Perhaps its the correlation of both languages, the understanding of the idioms, or if the song gets completely lost in translation or not.

Nevertheless, I picked up these two 45’s when I was in Barcelona a few months back. If Los Salvajes were the Rolling Stones of Spain, then Los Mustang were the Beatles of the Iberian Peninsula. Hailing from the Poble Sec neighborhood of Barcelona, Los Mustang really cut out a niche for themselves copying Beatles songs. In fact, Submarino Amarillo (Yellow Submarine) was a huge hit for them in Spain. It appears that they tried to mount a comeback in the early 90’s, but judging them from how old they looked and how high they pulled their pants up, I think that endeavor wasn’t met with much success. Anyway, Dj Lengua article tomorrow. Packers to win the Super Bowl. Please enjoy!

1. Los Mustang: Sargento Peppers

2. Los Mustang: No Vendras


Day 5: Niko Estrada y su Sonora: Se Traba (MaG)

I originally picked up this single by Peru’s Niko Estrada because I wanted the A-side, a cover of Willie Colon and Hector Lavoe’s big hit, “La Murga.” However, when I flipped it around, I realized that Estrada wasn’t content with just one cover of a New York salsa dura smash, he decided to make it twice as nice by covering “Se Traba.”

“Se Traba” is both the first song and first single from Ray Barretto’s 1972 album, The Message, his first LP that finally leaves behind his Latin soul years and drives hard into salsa, full force. One of the things that strikes you about Barretto’s “Se Traba” is how slick and smooth it is; the production, mixing, mastering, all create a very well-balanced, polished sound.

Part of what I love about Estrada’s version is that, even though it’s obviously the same song (and close to the same arrangement), it sounds grimy as fuck. Not quite “garage band” but you imagine that wherever they taped this, the floor was cracked, there was only a handful of cheap mics and Irving Greenbaum wasn’t at the boards. Start with just the opening piano – on Barretto’s original, it comes lightly dancing in. On Estrada’s cover, it sounds like an excitable pianist, hammering away on a slightly out-of-tune piano. Estrada’s horns are also dirty as hell, adding even more to the lo-fi fury of this version.

Both songs share something else in common – the use of repeated phrasings that, first time I heard the song, made me think “oh snap, this is skipping!”. This is most obvious at 2:30, especially since the repetition feels just oh-so-slightly off-tempo, which makes you quickly run to the turntable and squint your eyes to see if the stylus is jumping back.

I’m not that familiar with Estrada’s other recordings but I hope to god he’s got a whole bank of these – scuffed up covers of NY salsa classics. Bring the motherfucking ruckus.

– O-Dub

1. Niko Estrada y su Sonora: Se Traba

O-dub from Soul-Sides never lets us down – the guy has always showed us love here at Super Sonido.  Thanks a ton for this wonderful post and amazing song!!!

– Franko

Day 4: Mexo-Electro Pop

To be quite honest with you, during the 80’s, I was never really a big fan of pop music. It never spoke to me. But my music preferences have evolved and still do to this day. And with the passage of time, now that my music tastes have matured, I can say that I still do not like this type of music.

What I don’t understand  is that this sound is making a bit of a comeback. Remove the whole hipster neon-generation ironic thing and you are still left with music that is hit or miss. But with all negativity removed, maybe I should just take it for what it is – its ok…I suppose? I have friends from Mexico City and Tijuana who usually tend to go ape shit over this kinda stuff. So the nostalgia factor is something that I totally understand – but it’s not for me.

Besides Leo Dan, most these acts hail from Mexico, trying to cash in on some sort of new-wave music hysteria that captured the US in the mid to late 80’s. Byanka probably had the most success with her Madonna cover. It’s interesting to see that Grupo Latino even pooped out the Italo Disco favorite from La Bionda. But probably my favorite cut out of all of these 45’s is Morgan’s Que Bonita Baila (how beautiful you dance) – nice break on that. Anyway, like I said, hit or miss. Enjoy!

P.S. = Tomorrow O-Dub from Soul Sides is dropping an article. Stay tuned – the music is very very nice.

P.S.S. = For Erika

1. Byanka: Chica Material

2. Morgan: Que Bonita Baila

3. Grupo Latino: No Tengo Dinero

4. Naomi: Tocamela

5. Leo Dan: Leo Rap

Day 3: Chicano Funk with Musica Del Alma

Welcome to the world’s best Latin Funk 45 (half joking). This Enrique Olivarez y Los Vampiros record is right from my backyard in Stockton, CA, so naturally I tried to contact the band and get as much info as I could.  The devastating funk track “Al’s Place” is named after the band’s guitarist, Al Olivarez, a tall guy known for jumping right off the band stand during shows and socking dudes in the face who looked at him wrong!  If it weren’t for this guy, Los Vampiros wouldn’t have made nearly as many funk songs.  He wrote the majority of their Latin Funk and Rock output as it turns out.  The band garnered regional popularity not from these funk tracks, however, but for their Rancheras and Corridos.  They even got marginal commercial success in Mexico with their “Hay Amor” hit balada on 45 (also on their Vol 2 LP), written by bandleader Enrique (Henry) Olivarez. 

“Al’s Place” is the obvious winner here, but I also really dig “El Coqueton” for the horn solos and Al’s epic fuzz guitar noodling.  You will only be able to find this second tune on Super Sonido!

Here’s a little backstory on how this record came to be reissued by the world famous funk reissue label, Jazzman from the UK (for the 3 people who care).  I spoke with DJ Shadow about this record and it turns out that he uncovered it in the mid 90s, and eventually hit up the Olivarez family through their now-closed furniture store in Stockton, which is something that happen often with the new furniture stores online always opening such as the Ivy and Wilde store.  He brought it over to the UK around ’97 and started playing it at funk nights, eventually catching the ear of Keb Darge who put it on a BBE comp.  It was so popular in funk collector circles that Jazzman eventually released two of their tracks on a 45 and later put one more funk instrumental on their latest California Funk compilation.

– Adam Dunbar

Los Vampiros: “Al’s Place” & “El Coqueton” (Discos Vampiros, 1971)

1. Los Vampiros: Al’s Place

2. Los Vampiros: Coqueton












Wow more amazing Latin-Funk from Adam who runs the Musica Del Alma blog. Adam thanks for the great post and gracing our ears with this gem. If you haven’t been to his site, I strongly recommend that you do – plus there is a great mix he just put up. Since Adam was throwing up some Rancheras gone Funk – I thought I’d take the opportunity to do the same. The only difference is that I know nothing about this group and I have nothing really more to say. Enjoy!

– Franko

3. La Plaga: Sere Feliz

Day 2: Big Band Cumbia with Rufo Garrido

Around the 50’s and 60’s saw the dawn of big band cumbia, working its way from the countryside of Colombia into the urban middle classes. With that came  a less rural, more textured sound, which was usually accompanied by the clarinet (swapping the flauto de millo). This new form of cumbia, for the most part, would stay true to the original spirit of the rural Cumbia. However, the big band sound would present different melodic arrangement that was reflected in other popular genres outside of Colombia in that era (Mambo, Cha Cha, Ect).

I suspect that Rufo Garrido’s musical style took on a similar metamorphosis. The first two songs I put up sound almost like Los Corraleros in their big orchestrated sound. Whereas the last, Negra Chunga, stays true to the more minimal folkloric sound that preceded the big band era.  Rufo  Garrido records are hard to find. He seemed to have been a session performer for Discos Fuentes and shows up on a lot Fuentes compilations. The 45’s I have are 70’s reissues from Mexico and  the last song is off an LP (sorry I didn’t put the image up – didn’t want to break from the “all 45” thing I got going). On a side note, about a year ago Rufo Garrido’s relative (his grandson I believe) wrote me asking if I could put up some of his songs. So this one is for you. Enjoy!

1. Rufo Garrido y su Orquesta: Se Baile Asi

2. Rufo Garrido y su Orquesta: La Paloma

3. Rufo Garrido y su Orquesta: Negra Chunga

Day 1: Fruko y sus Tesos

If there is a single act or person that is most associated with the Disco Fuentes label it would likely be Colombian Julio Ernesto Estrada – aka Fruko. Not only did he perform in the legendary Corraleros De Majagual to the Colombia All Stars, but he would also over-see production of Disco Fuentes’ groups/projects like Afrosound and The Latin Brothers. Known as the “God Father of Colombian Salsa” – it was Fruko, who crossed over from cumbia, who single-handedly introduced the salsa genre to the Colombian masses in the 70’s.

Not only is El Preso (the prisoner) a testament to this genre crossover, but it is an example of a harder form of salsa that would set itself apart from it’s New York and Puerto Rican counterparts. Songs like El Preso are a great example of this difference. From darker lyrics, heavier bass, and to a fondness of minor keys. Even the brass section sounds muted if you compare it to bright/loud wall of trombones that popular Willie Colón was doing at the time. The song itself is a lament to a prisoner who is serving time in jail. Fruko Lp’s are quite common and I recommend any music from him during the 70’s. The 45’s are actually harder to come by and tend to sell for more – the song is a salsa club favorite to this day. Enjoy!

1. Fruko y Sus Tesos: El Preso

Boogaloo Colombiano con Los 5 De Oro

So the lack of posts here at Super Sonido would probably lead one to believe that I am still on vacation. Rest assured I’ve been home for almost a month now, staring at the wall and still thinking about my vacation. December and January have always been the slowest months for me. Those are the months I usually take a vacation, escape, and wallow in some form of weird self-pity/deprecation. To make things up to you folks, to redeem myself in a fit way, I have only 4 words for you:

28 DAYS OF 45!!!

That’s right – starting February 1st I’ll do another round of a 45 a day. But I’m going to need your help this time, so if anyone out there wants a day to post your thing = it’s all yours! Email me at if you need more info/help.

Anyway, some amazing infusion of Latin music from Colombia’s Los 5 De Oro. Not much was to be found about the group, but it appears that pianist Angel Macias had made a name and career for himself outside of his quintet. Nevertheless, this album is outstanding – and it really holds up to the Fania/Tico sound they were trying to capture. The B side was my favorite, which all the songs posted come from – along with a rendition of Jimmy  Sabater’s  “Alafia”  (Colombians can’t seem to put down the accordion). Strongly recommended album from beginning to end. Enjoy!

1. Los 5 De Oro: Cali Boogaloo

2. Los 5 De Oro: Soy Como Soy

3. Los 5 De Oro: Alafia

La Guitarra Ayacuchana

Here on Super Sonido we tend to focus on cumbia and the more costal/tropical sounds from Latin America but in this post I want to shine some light on music from the Andes of Peru, specifically the region my family is from, Ayacucho.

Located in the central province of Huamanga is the capital city of Ayacucho. The city is named after the historical Battle of Ayacucho, fought during the Peruvian war of independence from Spain. Upon seeing so many casualties on the battlefield, locals called the area Ayakuchu, aya meaning “dead” and kuchu meaning “corner” in the Quechua language. An appropriate moniker considering it later became the epicenter of the Maoist uprising in the 80’s, led by the rebel group Sendero Luminoso (The Shining Path), an organization that gripped the country for over 20 years.

Since the times of the Spanish conquest, death and sadness have been common themes in this region -and nothing reflects this more than the melancholic rythm of la guitarra Ayacuchana. A guitar style so unique, that it is rarely heard in other parts of Peru , much less outside of the country.

The history of music from Ayacucho would be difficult to cover in one single blog post. It would probably require it’s own separate blog entirely. However, I wanted the opportunity to post some of my own personal videos and tracks – something that I hope will give the listening audience some idea of how this style of music fits into the larger picture of Peruvian popular culture. Perhaps illustrating how prominent the guitar is in Peruvian music, as reflected later in musical genres like Chicha and Cumbia Peruana. In Ayacucho the guitar became the instrument that empitomized that region’s sound. It achieved classical status while reflecting it’s indigenous melodic roots, something that tends to allude other instruments and styles such as Chicha and Cumbia, which are commonly looked down on as low class music.

Included in this post are videos that I shot back in 2001 in Huancayo, Peru . They feature my friend and mentor Rudi Felices playing various compositions, one of which he composed. During the war in the 80’s, Rudi was lucky to escape from Ayacucho with his life, he was shot in the arm as he jumped from rooftop to rooftop, escaping the city in the middle of the night. He now lives in Huancayo and works as a math teacher. In the second video clip he goes into some of the history behind one of the classic Ayacuchano songs he refers to as Temple el Diablo, also known as Helme. I have also included an MP3 version* played by the undisputed king of the guitarra Ayacuchana Raul Garcia Zarate. As the story goes, the song was written by a guy named Helme, who after finding his woman with another man, killed them both in a fit of rage and ate their hearts. In his depression, he called upon a famous quenista (flute player) and asks him to teach him a type of playing called Manchay Puito, which is the saddest music known to man; Sadder even than another style called “Yaravi”. He then began to play this music as punishment for the crime he had committed. It’s widely believed that if you play this style of music long enough it will drive you to suicide. ENJOY!!!!

– Dj Lengua

1. Raul Garcia Zarate: Helme *

2. Lira Paucina: El Solitario

3. Florencio Coronado: Arascasca

Big Breaks from Los Relámpagos

My jet lag is kicking in – so before I pass out on my sofa I wanted to toss up something I found in Barcelona. Even though Los Relámpagos (the lightning) actually hail from Granada, this was probably my best find while I was in Spain. The group consists of  singer/composer Miguel Ríos who seems to have had a pretty successful career in the modern Spanish (Iberian) rock genre. Anyway, that’s all I can write for now without falling to the ground. Enjoy…….

1. Los Relámpagos: Bwana

Two From Dj Lengua

I wanted to start the New Year off right by throwing up some free downloads from Dj Lengua’s new 7 song EP release Cruzando. Usually I try not put up anything from my label (Unicornio), I like to keep it separate from my audioblog. But Eamon (Lengua), suggested that I  should offer a few tracts for free while I was out of the country  – so here we are. This is probably our best album/release to date. Juan Data from the Hard Data did a good article on Dj Lengua, you should check it out if you want more info on the record. Also, you can purchase the vinyl directly from our distributor or turntable lab if you wish. You can also email me at if you have questions about the record. Happy New Year everybody! Enjoy!

1. Dj Lengua: La Jungla

2. Dj Lengua: Frontera

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.”


Anibal Velasquez Revisited

Be sure to check out my earlier post about Anibal Velasquez along with the PR kit from Analog-Africa’s release. So I’m really not going to get into much detail this time around. I just picked up this album recently and I couldn’t resist putting it up. I’ve had the song Mira Como Es on a CD for quite some time now, but I’ve been looking for the vinyl forever. The only problem is that my CD version is a slowed down Rebajada Mexican flea market mix. Although awesome, the quality isn’t the best. I posted the songs I liked the most and I intentionally slowed down the track Sabor A Costa for all my Mexico City sonidero fans. Gozalo Gueyes!!!

1. Anibal Velasquez: Mira Como Es

2. Anibal Velasquez: Sabor A Costa

3. Anibal Velasquez: La Carcajada

4. Anibal Velasquez: Sabor A Costa (Estilo Rebajada)  

Moog Montuno con Juancho Vargas

It’s quite common to find compilation records in Latin America that started out as a corporate marketing strategy. I have a few LP’s from a natural gas company in Venezuela – which are pretty good. However, I’m not sure if Goodyear Tires had a successful branding campaign when they dropped this collection. The mixture of salsa, pop, cumbia, and Henri Mancini soundtrack music is just downright weird. Most of the songs aren’t that great and there doesn’t seem to be any method to the triple album’s selections.

However, all this is soon forgotten with the inclusion of just one song: the synth monster Montuniando by Colombian pianist Juancho Vargas. The track reminded me of the music Cuban Juan Pablo Torres was doing in the 70’s than anything else, peep the post I wrote about him a while back. Juancho Vargas is probably better known for his big band style cumbia/jazz and not so much this experimental style of salsa/son montuno. One a side note, the album was produced by the Colombian label Sonolux. There are references to a FM radio station in the Colombian town of Sogamoso and a reference to possibly some tire service chain. Perhaps they handed these out to their customers. Anyway….Enjoy!

1. Juancho Vargas: Montuniando

Tin Marin ala Johnny “Chano” Martinez

Great cover song of Ricardo Ray and Bobby Cruz’s Tin Marin” by Puerto Rican salsero Chano Martinez. There wasn’t much information about him out there, although this track does appear on his LP Salsa Revolution (some guy wanted 600 Euros for the whole record – good luck with that). From the reviews I read about the album, the song I put up is the standout track on the full length. So I reckon you people owe me like 40 to 50 Euros. I kid.

What is known about bass player Johnny “Chano” Martinez, is that he began his musical career in the early 50’s and ended up becoming a staple for the Los Angeles/Southern California salsa scene from the 70’s onwards. “Tin Marin” is like a Latin American made-up word game and/or tongue twister. I think it is pretty universal throughout Latin America, even my cousins from Nicaragua used to say it. Tin, marin de dos pingue, cucara macara, titere fue….or something like that. ¡Báilalo!

1. Johnny “Chano” Martinez: Tin Marin

Perez Prado: Mi Cerebro

Who the hell sings about their brain?

Perez Prado does…

1. Perez Prado: Mi Cerebro

La Guarapera

Guarapo is a common Latin American iced drink made from cane sugar (jugo de caña). Although it can be found from South America to Mexico, the name is actually West African in origin: meaning “fermented drink”. The beverage is very popular in Cuba and Brazil. La Guarapera is the person/mobile vendor who makes the guarapo, usually from extracting the juice from an old hand press. That’s pretty much all you need to know. Delicioso!

1. Pepe Molina y Conjunto: La Guarapera

2. Los Demonios De Corocochay: La Guarapera


Balada Fuzz con Rodolfo

I’m not sure if these 45’s belong to Colombian crooner Rodolfo Aicardi or if there is some other ballad singer on the Discos Fuentes label solely named Rodolfo. If I had to put some money on it, I’d go with the former guess rather than the latter.

According to a few biographies I’ve read, Aicardi has been associated with various musical genres within his 40+ singing career: from Cumbia, Cumbión, Merengue, Paseo, Balada, Balada-Rock, Balada-Ranchera, Plena, Funk, Jala Jala, Paseaito, Bolero, Saltarín, Guajira, Porro, Salsa, Porro, Zamba, Ranchera, Cumbia Andina, Maestranza, Puya, Guaracha, Tamborera – to name a few.

The irony was that these songs presented below were probably his least popular songs in South America. Like the Peruvian band Las Pasteles Verdes or Argentinian singer Leo Dan – Rodolfo found a much larger audience for his over-the-top fuzzed out lyrical romanticism in Mexico of all places.

At any rate, some truly incredible songs. Almost has that now-sound/James Bond thing going on – especially with the song Incertidumbre (uncertainty), which is a cover song of a much older bolero standard. Great stuff for the beat heads. Enjoy!

1. Rodolfo: Incertidumbre

2. Rodolfo: Voy A Hablarte Francamente

3. Rodolfo: Has Regresado Viejo Amigo

4. Rodolfo: Buscando Amor

Chicha 45

I got hit listening to a bunch of Peruvian reissue records lately, which in turn made me want to post a few of my own Chicha gems. If I had to explain this new renaissance in Cumbia music though, in its most simplistic way, is that all this popularity is not without merit. The music is great and I am happy to see interest in this genre of Latin music. I myself have to tip my hat to Eamon Ore-Giron (Dj Lengua) – if  he hadn’t had all his aunts and uncles running around Lima Peru buying records for him, I would have never really been in tune to this genre 10 years ago. So in whatever form it comes in, it is all warranted.

All in all, some pretty awesome songs in this bunch. If you note, I started with the more popular groups to the more obscure one’s. Los Mirlos are the godfathers of Amazonian Cumbia and they really do justice to Hugo Blanco’s “Cumbia Con Arpa”. The only song that isn’t from Peru is from Los Dinamicos Del Ritmo (Mexico maybe), yet they have that tripped out guitar sound down pretty well.  Not sure if Los Vagos De Paramonga are any relation to Los Orientales, but they rip-off their song “Lobos Al Escape” in some new direction. Lastly, cumbia that seems politically topical is also quite common in this genre. Take the song Vietnam on the Do Re Mi label (Huayño acts tend to show up on this one). Although there is no real indication of why Los Pankis would have used that name for the song, I get a feeling that it’s possibly a Huayño view of the outside world –  sympathetic view of the downtrodden? or something that might sell a record? Who knows? Asi, asi, asi!!!

1. Los Mirlos: Cumbia y Guitarra

2. Juaneco y Su Conjunto: La Cumbia De Los Cuervos

3. Manzanita y Su Conjunto: Asi Asi Asi

4. Los Sander’s: Si Ya Te Vas

5. Los Vagos De Paramonga: La Muerte Del Lobo

6. Los Pankis: Vietnam

7. Los Dinamicos Del Ritmo: El Platanito

juaneco 0002

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.

ritmo + sabor = manteca

Just returned from out of town and found this album in my mailbox. I’ve been looking for this LP for ages (I’ve been outbid on ebay numerous times for this one). Also, you may have noticed already that it’s been heavily written about and reissued a few times, yet I still wanted to share it. This album is massive. Really nice b-boy style Afro-Latin funk from Manteca. Reminds me a bit of the Understanding Latin Rhythms song Masacote I wrote about earlier. It should too, since it also has Carlos “Patato” Valdes playing on it. I also read somewhere that Cachao may be playing electric bass on this? What the hell?

Anyway, I’ve been super busy re-working my entire life and it seems to be paying off. Change or whither away. I would really like to get more posts on this site, which is my next goal – and I also wanted to remind anyone out there that they are welcome to do a guest post anytime (unless I really don’t like what you have to offer – but that doesn’t seem to have ever been the case so far). Eamon Ore-Giron & Marcos Juarez please do a guest post, I thought you guys were my friends?

Took this off the Orgy In Rhythm audioblog – I really liked what Bacoso had to say, plus he has a full rapidshare of the entire album. I selected my 3 favortite songs, but the whole entire record is amazing. Enjoy Enjoy Enjoy!

– Sonido Franko

Super heavyweight percussion/descarga session from Pla, plus Patato Valdes and Nelson “Flaco”Padron (Cachao on Bass???). If you liked Puente in Percussion this will blow you away. Just check out the ridiculous breaks on “Afro Funky” and “Cosas De Manteca” to get a flavour of how good this is. Percussionists who were lucky enough to witness Manteca play the bongos with this group, relate tales of an enormous man who could ignite a near riot by simply coming forward from the rhythm section to the front of the stage playing wild rhythms that became more and more complex as the audience cheered him on. Lazaro Pla, known as Manteca, was a master “bongosero” who first rose to fame in 1940s Cuba when he was a featured attraction with the great pianist and composer Ernesto Lecouna and the renowned Cuban Boys, a leading exponent of the Cuban musical wave who gained international recognition and subsequently toured the globe. Although Manteca is found on many recordings originating from Cuba, only a very small amount of material exists of him as a featured soloist or as the leader of a small combo. These famed sessions took place in the United States – Miami to be exact, sometime in the early 1970s. This was a very unique session indeed as two other Cuban expatriates join Manteca in the studio – two of his early admirers who grew up listening to his rhythms: master percussionists Carlos “Patato” Valdes and the amazing Nelson “Flaco” Padron producing these two of the finest examples of incendiary Cuban percussion ever recorded. The remainder of this session’s musicians are unquoted. (I’ve heard it suggested that the legendary Cachao could be on bass but this remains unconfirmed).

– Bacoso

1. Manteca: Afro Funky

2. Manteca: Son Montuno

3. Manteca: Cosas De Manteca

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!

Los Gaiteros De Funk

It’s in the Caribbean coastal region of Colombia where the origins of the cumbia ensemble or the conjunto de gaitas began. However, unlike most popular Latin American music – the gaita was not just the amalgamation of African (drums) and European (lyrics) traditions – but it also fused an Amerindian ( flute) element as well.

Folkloric groups from the Atlantic region of Colombia still perform this early genre of cumbia to this day. Consisting of a very deep sounding drum choir – the bombo, the tambor macho, and the tambor hembra.  Accompanied by some wild sounding flutes: flauto de millogaita macho, and the gaita hembra. It’s this Amerindian sound that the big band style cumbia seems to have removed later on, replacing these folk clarinets (fashioned from cane) with brass ensembles. I partially don’t blame them in trying to modernize the sound, sometimes this form of gaita music can be almost too idiosyncratic to listen to.

With that, I went a step further and included some tracks in this post that blend this traditional form of Colombian music with a more contemporary sound. The results are pretty amazing. From big band cumbia, to funk, to a cover of Rod Stewart’s “Do You Think I’m Sexy”. I can contest, with heavy rotation, that most these songs have been pretty effective on the dance floor. It keeps the people moving and I’m always constantly being asked where this music is from. Anyway, sorry for the lack of posts lately, I’ve been super busy. I’ll try to get some more good music out this month. Like always…Enjoy!         

1. Los Gaiteros De San Jacinto: Magdalena Ruiz

2. Cumbia Siglo XX: Los Esqueletos

3. Pedro Beltrán: Puyalo Ahi

4. Rafael Machuca: La Batalla De Flores

5. La Cumbia Moderna De Soledad: Cres Que Soy Sexy

Ritmo Loco: O-dub & Groove Merchant Records

I had the opportunity this Friday to meet Oliver Wang from the audioblog Soul-Sides. I’ve been a huge fan of his website for years and I am happy to admit that it has been a huge influence to my site as well. Now we’ve collaborated together in the past, but I’ve never met O-dub face to face. And I couldn’t think of a better place to geek out with him than at Groove Merchant Records in San Francisco. Not only that, but it just so happened that I had met store owner Chris Veltri in the past – I just forgot. Anyway, two chance meetings with two really cool individuals. This post goes out to you guys.

Also, if you’re in the SF Bay Area, go check out Chris’ store. It felt great being in an all vinyl record store again, on account of my shameful ass always buying on ebay. It felt reassuring. Plus, Groove Merchant actually has an amazing selection of Latin Records, I strongly recommend checking them out if you live in the area. I picked up a Haitian record and an obscure record of Mexican mambos, a song from which I tossed up below. Enjoy!

1. Los Chucos y Chu Chu Jimenez: Mambo De Cienpie

Neo Boogaloo with Spanglish Fly

I have to admit that when I got the PR kit from a band called Spanglish Fly, I wasn’t to enthusiastic. Maybe I was just turned off by the name or maybe I’m just leery of anything with words that contain latin, soul or bugalu – in a contemporary context that is. Anyway, I’m a horrible man who has the fucked up penchant to judge a book by its cover…and I am sorry for that.

After collecting dust in my office for the last month, I decided to set aside my one-sidedness and actually listen to the 45.  And with all fairness, I was pleasantly surprised. New York City’s Spanglish Fly really pulls off that Ray Barretto Hard Hands era groove that I love so much. You’d think someone would have done this already, right?  In fact, I can’t think of any other group that has tried to embrace that sound today – much like Sharon Jones did for neo soul/funk. So with that I give them credit where credit is due. I really like that they made the effort to press 45’s also – big fan of that. The track I put up is a really low quality MP3, but check out Spanglish Fly at their website and I think you’ll be able to buy their 45 at Dusty Groove soon. Enjoy…

1. Spanglish Fly: Let My People Bugalú

Gal Costa: Trem Das Onze

My first video upload on Super Sonido. There is actually a ton of great footage of Gal Costa on You Tube, but this performance I like the best. Trem Das Once (The 11 PM Train) is considered a real classic samba number. I just wanted to demonstrate Gal’s ability to take one of the most famous Brazilian songs ever and give it unbelievable value and depth. You’ll hear that the whole audience sings along mid way through the video. Given below are the English lyrics. Enjoy!

I can’t stay
Not even another minute with you
I am sorry, love
But it can not be

I live in Jaçanã
If I miss this train
That leaves now at 11 PM
Only tomorrow morning

And besides that, woman
There’s another thing
My mother doesn’t sleep
Until I get home
I’m an only child
I have my house to look after

Gal Costa: 1968 to 1974

The arrival of Tropicália on the Brazilian music scene began in 1968 with the seminal collaboration album Tropicália: ou Panis et Circencis. Although this new genre was also embraced by the visual arts community, it was largely seen as a musically driven movement. The key to the Tropicália manifesto was antropofagia, or the cultural cannibalism of all societies. Essentially it was the digestion of all other influences, from all other genres, in order to create something totally new.

Musically it consisted of a fusion between regional Brazilian and American/British psychedelic rock. Also, the experimentation with studio production was another key element . Take the first song Mamãe, Coragem, which I couldn’t record on its own. Most tracks on the Tropicália album segway directly into each other – the whole album is on some Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club trip.

Please know that Brazil was experiencing their third military dictatorship at the time, which lasted from 1964 to 1984. So a new musical movement that rejected most conventions could only be deemed as politically engaging or a form of activism, to say the least. And the Tropicalismo movement pretty much ended with founders Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil being forced into exile in 1971.

It is ironic to think that even though Gal Costa was a big part of the Tropicália movement, she never wrote any of her own songs. Most of her music was composed either by Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil, or both. While the two were in exile, it’s as if Gal became their default artist in their absence.  However, her strength really lies in the way she expressed herself through other composer’s music and lyrics. Gal has the ability to take any genre and turn it into her own. She really captured the movement’s dense lyricism with her voice. Her singing appears unorthodox at times, with unusual time structures, always creating a thin line between happiness and sadness. It’s in my opinion that she is probably has one of the most unusual, original and beautiful female singing voices I’ve ever heard.

Presented here are a few tracks from each album in chronological order. I tried to select songs from multiple genres as an example of what was going on with the movement at the time. I am missing a few of her late 70’s records, which I’ve partially heard and appear to be impressive as well. If you like what you hear, don’t hesitate to pick any album up for yourselves, most songs on the albums given are amazing from beginning to end.  On a side note, popular Forró musician/singer Dominguinhos plays accordion on a few of her records. Forró is a popular regional music from the Northeast of Brazil. It’s almost like Zydeco. I find it amazing that he played and toured with Gal for many years, really a reflection on the influence, longevity and all-inclusive nature of the Tropicalismo movement. Peep the funky track Relance. Enjoy!

1. Gal Costa: Mamãe Coragem + Gal/Caetano/Gil/Os Mutantes: Batmacumba

2. Gal Costa w/ Gilberto Gil: Sebastiana

3. Gal Costa: Vou Recomecar

4. Gal Costa: Tuareg

5. Gal Costa: Com Medo, Com Pedro

6. Gal Costa: Lingua Do P

7. Gal Costa: Acauã

8. Gal Costa: Fruta Gogóia

9. Gal Costa: Presente Cotidiano

10. Gal Costa: Relance

11. Gal Costa: Da Maior Importancia

12. Gal Costa: Pontos De Luz

13. Gal Costa: Barato Total

14. Lua, Lua, Lua, Lua

15. Gal Costa: Flor Do Cerrado