So the year’s end is upon us so we’ve put our heads together to come up with a little review of some of the tracks and releases that kept our ear drums busy these past twelve months. The year again brought us a wealth of releases from all the corners of the globe, bringing us a nice batch of “new” music in the forms of reissues along with some fresh new names both reinterpreting and producing several new and interesting twists on traditional music as well. So let’s start things out with a little sampling from of some reissues that made some vintage music “new” to our ears in 2010.
Black Rio 2 Original Samba Soul 1968*1981 (strut records)
The London-based producer DJ Cliffy,brings some awesome brazilian tracks to us in this wax reissue feat. tons of heavy jazzy-funky-soul music. Black Rio 2 provides an excellent extension to these examples, showcasing music from 1970’s Rio de Janeiro that was influenced by U.S. soul and funk. Here’s one of the 18 tracks on this record: Zeca de Roberto & Roberto Sax-Coluna de meio, a killer samba rock for the dance floor.
Sensasional Soul Vol.2 (Vampi Soul)(Spain)
Another great compilation under the Spanish based label VampiSoul. This 2LP set is loaded with 32 Spanish soul and funk tracks from 1965 to 1972.The selection of tracks features tracks in spanish/english with a wicked assortment of furious drums, gritty, punchy horns, some with fuzzed out guitar, and organ grooves that give some of the cuts more of a garage/r&b style. As soon as this record was in stores, Sr.Eddie and myself were fighting to buy this limited edition for the U.S. market. Last time I check Light in the Attic still had some copies left so don’t snooze on this one.
Anibal Velaquez y su Conjunto:Mambo Loco (Analog Africa)
Samy Ben Redjeb, founder of Analog Africa, took a break away from his already awesome comps. of West African funkiness, to focus his ears on some sweet Afro-latin madness from one of Colombia’s most prolific musicians, accordionist Anibal Velasquez. With a 30 year career under his belt the comp probably just is a tasting of the man’s output which numbers over 300 productions, but what we get on this little compilation is more than enough to please anyone’s taste for hot latin rhythms. From smokin’ Colombian guarachas to bittersweet cumbia, there’s something on this one for every taste. Take the comp’s title track a twisted mambo interpreted as only Anibal could feat. a devilish laugh that interjects between a barrage of percussion. One of my favorites in my set’s was “Mi Sobreron” which had a sweet whistling chorus that closes the song out.
Palenque Palenque:Champeta Criolla & Afro Roots in Colombia 1975-91 (Soundway Records)
Another killer compilation and refreshing musical discovery was this little package from UK’s Soundway Records; this time digging deeper into Colombia’s already rich musical heritage to shed some light on the sounds of champeta culture and the pico sound systems that emerged in the coastal regions of Colombia. The confluence of Colombian music and African influences from afro-beat, highlife, and soukous rhythms created a rich output of unique fusions that produce some wicked dancefloor shakers along with some sweet melodic tendancies as well. Take the sweet highlife guitar accompanied with the driving rhythm of “Burumburumbum” by the group Cassimbas Negras.
Quantic pres. Tropical Funk Experience (Nascente)
Will Holland, aka Quantic, has in recent years also been bitten by the tropical music bug, so much so that he even moved to Cali, Colombia to both produce his studio projects and of course collect more tasty bits of vinyl. This compilation, his most recent, compiles a sweet batch of grooves giving us some Panamanian soul sides to Afro-latin rhyhtms from Colombia coastal regions. I think what was liked most about the comp. is that it avoid the literal “funk” inclination to include another JB sounding cover and instead simply takes the funk title and gives us a nice batch of heavy rhythmic and percussive goodies and in doing so helps exand the definition of global “funk” to more 21st century reading of FUNK music beyond it being simply an American import in foreign hands. Checkout this little number “La Danza de la Tanga” which takes echos of the pachanga and injects it with a heavy 70’s groove and some a little snaking organ, performed by one Jose Maria’s “Fruko” Estrada’s side projects Pianonegro. It’s a CD only release but for the 10 dollar price tag its a pretty sweet deal.
Along with these musical treasures getting unearthed, the year also produced a good amount of great music that we’ll definitely be watching closely in the months to come, here’s a little sampling…
Marcos Valle “Estatica” (Far Out Records)
This new studio recording explores a six decade career that has swung between Brazilian pop, bossa nova, delicate psychedelia, jazz, and funk, with glorious modern production and wide global influences. Responsible for the bossa classic ‘Summer Samba (So Nice)’ Valle returns with a Brazilian masterpiece full of complex harmonies and Brazilian bliss.
Frente Cumbiero meets Mad Professor
Frente Cumbiero “Pitchito” (Names you can Trust)
Colombia’s Mario Galeano Toro, front man for the project Frente Cumbiero, is a man serious about cumbia music and it’s influence and collective identity in 21st century Latin America. The year saw the cumbia boom expand even more and more to produce a landscape of cumbia-tinged beats which included a mixed bag of decent to horribly cheap mash-ups that attempted to lay the cumbia’s instantly recognizable “chh..chhh..cchh” over almost anything. Thankfully for us there were some exceptions of which Toro’s project’s really takes a fresh entry in the New Cumbia genre. The project manifests itself in some mutable forms, whether its Toro himself chopping and editing samples to produce original redits as he did on the bottom heavy banger “Pitchito” for Brooklyn’s Names You Can Trust, or in the studio with fellow musician freinds collaborating with the UK’s dub meaestro Mad Professor. Producing a fresh batch of music that merges the infectious cumbia rhythm and dub system stylings on a release we’re still waiting patiently to arrive to the states. For more info on Mario Galeano Toro & Frente Cumbiero, check this excellent interview on Bomb magazine here.
Chancha Via Circuito “Rio Arriba” (Zzk Records)
Chancha Vía Circuito is an alias of cumbia digital producer Pedro Canale, who is affiliated with the Argentine ZZK Records. Influenced by various styles of cumbia from Colombia,Mexico (cumbia sonidera), Argentine cumbia villera,as well as reggae and electronica, Chancha made his recording debut in 2007 with the self-released Kumbias Gauchito EP. In 2008 he released the Rodante EP and in 2010 his most new and fresh LP Rio Arriba. Here is an amazing deep New Folk track, a remix for Jose Larralde song called Quimey neuquen, an extraordinary tribute to the most respect Argentinian folk songwriter.
Maria y Jose “Kibose EP” (Coco Bass)
Antonio Jiménez behind this singular project from Tijuana, México that combines African rhythms, Banda, popular South American genres and Ruidosón. Probably one of the most popular new releases in 2010 on all the independents blogs around the globe. On his tracks you can find a array of sounds from tropicalismo, norteno, cumbia, technobanda and aesthetic with an out of tune voice with satanic and sarcastic lyrics. Maria and Jose could be the next generation of electronics musician?
Who knows? Check out this funny and candid interview of Maria y Jose by our friend in Tijuana, Mr. Ejival, head of Static Discos and contributor for RadioGlobal.
Dj Lengua “Cruzando” (Discos Unicornio)
Lastly we head a little north of Tijuana to LA, where Dj Lengua along with others like Dj Roger Mas have been releasing their own brand of new latin fusions, creating their own take on “New Cumbia” along with some more downtempo tunes (maybe there’s a little LA low-rider influence?) on indie label Discos Unicornio. Here’s a track from Lengua’s second release Cruzando, titled “Sampu”, it’s like a 8-bit take on the classic Colombian cumbia “La Sampuesana” with some sweet breakbeats to go with the groove.
Well that wraps up this little round up for 2010, thanks to everyone who came out and supported the Sonorama sound system and we hope to bring you more “Mas Exitos” this coming year and to see you at our next event. Happy New Year from Sonorama. EB & CG