Category: cumbia

New Audio: Cuarto Mundo Shares a Woozy, Club Friendly Banger

Deriving their name from a phrase that translates into English as “Fourth World,” an outdated term coined to describe the various groups of the planet’s indigenous people, French electronic duo Cuarto Mundo features:

  • Thomas Lavernhe, a French-born and-based musician, who has a lengthy career playing in a number of different bands and solo projects.
  • Chilean-born, French-based DJ Cosmo Gonik, who once toured with acclaimed outfit Arcade Fire.

Cuarto Mundo sees Lavernhe and Gonik drawing from traditional sounds and styles across the world to shape a mind-bending journey to music’s mysterious — and perhaps mystical roots.

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past year or so, you may recall that I’ve written about two previously released Cuarto Mundo singles:

  • Sabi Lulu,” a slickly produced and mischievously anachronistic track that features electronic production centered around skittering beats and glistening synths paired with a traditional, percussive melody from West Java, Indonesia, written by Mang Koko. 
  • La Cumbia Del Tarot” is a slow-burning bit of psychedelic cumbia featuring traditional cumbia instrumentation, shuffling rhythms, wobbling and twinkling synth arpeggios. Written as a tribute to Alejandro Jodorowsky‘s The Holy Mountain, the track features a guest spot from the famed director’s son, Adan Jodorowsky, who contributes vocals. The end result is a meditative and trippy synthesis of the ancient and the modern.

The duo’s latest single “La Psycho Cumbia Del Tarot” is an expansive and woozy reworking (of sorts) of the aforementioned “La Cumbia Del Tarot” that retains elements of the original: shuffling rhythms, looping guitar lines thumping beats and twinkling synths in the song’s slow-burning intro and outro. The song’s middle section is club rocking and trippy bit of house centered around percussive polyrhythm, oscillating synths, sampled horn and skittering beats. All three parts are held together by Adan Jodorowsky’s sonorous baritone and cumbia rhythm. While continuing to be a synthesis of the folkloric and contemporary, “La Psycho Cumbia Del Tarot” may arguably be the most dance floor friendly song the French duo has released to date.

Live Footage: Javier Moreno and Los Amigos Perform “La Escalera” at Masterlink Studios

Javier Moreno is an emerging Barcelona-born and-based singer/songwriter and guitarist. Along with his backing band Los Amigos which features musicians from Spain, Cuba, Brazil and Peru, Moreno has spent the past 12 years touring extensively throughout London and the rest of the UK.

Although Moreno has returned to Barcelona to work on his forthcoming Joe Dworniak-produced third album, earlier this year, Moreno and his backing band recorded a live session at Masterlink Studios in Guildford, UK. The two song session features “Despedida” off last year’s Uno EP and “La Escalera” a shuffling groove-based cumbia that’s a feel good summer banger paired with an unfitting message.

The live footage of the band performing “La Escalera” was shot in a single take and captures their live energy and unbreakable simpatico.

New Audio: Cuarto Mundo Shares a Slow-Burning Psychedelic Cumbia

French electronic music duo Cuarto Mundo derives their name from a term that translates into English as “Fourth World” a term coined to describe the various groups of the planet’s indigenous peoples. The act features Thomas Lavernhe, who has played in a number of solo projects and bands and Chilean-born DJ Cosmo Gonik, who has toured with Arcade Fire. Interestingly, Lavernhe and Going’s work with Cuarto Mundo, sees them drawing inspiration from traditional sounds and styles across the world to shape a journey to music mysterious — and perhaps mystical — roots.

Late last year, I wrote about their debut single “Sabi Lulu,” a slickly produced and mischievously anachronistic track that features electronic production centered around skittering beats and glistening synths paired with a traditional, percussive melody from West Java, Indonesia, written by Mang Koko.

The French duo’s latest single, “La Cumbia Del Tarot” is a slow-burning bit of psychedelic cumbia featuring traditional cumbia instrumentation, shuffling rhythms, wobbling and twinkling synth arpeggios. Written as a tribute to Alejandro Jodorowsky‘s The Holy Mountain, the track features a guest spot from the famed director’s son, Adan Jodorowsky, who contributes vocals. The end result is a meditative and trippy synthesis of the ancient and the modern.

New Audio: JOVM Mainstay El Dusty Teams Up with DJ Buddha and Hitz on a Club Banger

Over the past handful of years, Corpus Christi, TX-born and-based Latin Grammy-nominated producer, DJ, songwriter, arranger and electronic music artist and JOVM mainstay El Dusty has been simultaneously hailed as the inventor of cumbia electronica and a pioneer of nu-cumbia while establishing a swaggering, genre defying, club friendly sound with elements of hip-hop, drum ‘n’ bass, house music, trance, electronica and cumbia inspired by its mastermind’s experiences growing up near the US-Mexico border.

Since the release of the JOVM mainstay’s full-length debut, 2018’s Cumbia City, the Corpus Christi-born and-based producer and artist has been extremely busy: he’s the founder and head of his own label Americano Label — and through the label, he has produced and released new material, including his popular Americano Beat Tape Vol. 1 and a boatload of acclaimed one-off collaborations. 

It’s been close to a year since I’ve last written about the Corpus Christi-born and-based JOVM mainstay but he’s been continued upon a long-held reputation for being prolific: so far, he has released two new singles — and his latest single, a collaboration with DJ Buddha, and Hitz titled “Socumbia,” a club banging mix of cambia and soca rhythms, tweeter and woofer rocking beats and soca delivered lyrics that will make you want to wine down with that pretty young thing nearby.

New Video: Acclaimed Argentine Producer Lagartijeando Releases a Mischievous and Trippy Dia de Los Muertos-like Visual for “Sidreal Cumbia”

lobal electronic music circles as Lagartijeando. Zundel’s work has been deeply influenced by this travels throughout Latin America: his psychedelic dance tracks often feature traditional folk sounds from the Bolivian altiplano, shaman chants, charagano loops, Brazilian jungle beats centered around modern electronic production.

the forthcoming album’s latest single “Sideral Cumbia” is a sculptured soundscape centered around minimalist drums, a bouncing baseline, brief bursts of staccato guitar, delicate synth arpeggios, traditional Latin percussion and an enormous horn section that keeps the song tethered to the earth just before it’s about to float off into the stratosphere.

eputation for blurring the boundaries between Latin music, folk. funk and electronic music with a mischievous and trippy flare. 

Directed and edited by Lucía Cárdenas, the fittingly trippy and mischievous visual for “Sidreal Cumbia” is shot in a gorgeous and cinematic black and white and follows a trio of people wearing black robes performing mysterious rituals while skeleton wearing kids bop around. It’s dia de los muertos surreally thrown into every day life.

Mati Zundel is an acclaimed Argentine producer, musician and DJ best known worldwide as Lagartijeando. Throughout Zundel’s career, his work has been deeply influenced by his travels through Latin America: his psychedelic dance tracks often feature traditional folk sounds from the Bolivian altiplano, shaman chant and charango loops, Brazilian jungle beats and contemporary electronic production.

The Argentine producer, musician and DJ will be releasing a new album through Wonderwheel Recordings, which is slated for an October release Interestingly, the album’s latest single “Sideral Cumbia” is a sculptured soundscape centered around minimalist drums, a bouncing baseline, brief bursts of staccato guitar, delicate synth arpeggios, traditional Latin percussion and an enormous horn section that keeps the song tethered to the earth just before it’s about to float off into the stratosphere. The song will further cement the Argentine producer, musician and DJ’s reputation for blurring the boundaries between Latin music, folk. funk and electronic music with a mischievous flare.


Featuring an accomplished array of players including former and current members of Antibalas, The Easy Star All-Stars, The Skatalies, Charles Bradley and His Extraordinaries, The Far East and others, the New York-based collective Combo Lulo initially was conceived a studio project that convened to record a handful of cuts for New York-based label Names You Can Trust (NYCT), including their debut single, released in May 2018. That single, which featured a hybrid of cumbia and reggae helped to quickly establish their sound — a sound that effortlessly draws from and bounces around the Caribbean, finding common threads between cumbia, rocksteady and dub.

Their debut single sold out in a few months, through good, old-fashioned word-of-mouth. Adding to the growing buzz surrounding the collective, the B-Side single “Canto Del Sol” was featured on NPR’s Marketplace in 2019. 2019 also saw the release of their second single, “The Sieve & The Sand,” which found the members of Combo Lulo incorporating elements of Ethiojazz and Afrobeat while maintaining a spacey, Roots Radics sort of groove.

The collective then teamed up with Panamanian soul singer Ralph Weeks for rocksteady ballad-like re-work of his 1969 slow jam “Algo Muy Profundo/Something Deep Inside” to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the original’s release. Much like their debut single, their collaboration with Ralph Weeks quickly sold out — while becoming a stable of DJ sets in clubs across Paris, Mexico City, and Los Angeles.

Building upon their rapidly growing profile, Combo Lulo will be releasing their highly-anticipated full-length debut Neotropic Dream on May 8, 2021. The forthcoming album’s latest single “Culebra Mentirosa” features a collaboration with Alba and The Mighty Lions’ Alba Ponce De Leon is a slick and soulful synthesis of dub, dancehall and cumbia centered around infectious and shuffling riddims.

“‘Culebra Menitrosa’ came about because we’re huge fans of Alba Ponce De Leon and her group, the Mighty Lions (also on NYCT),” Combo Lulo bandleader Michael Sarason says in press notes.”She’s got such a classy and nuanced sound as a singer, I thought it would work really well with our music. We invited her to come to the studio and after listening through some tracks, we spoke about the idea of writing a song in the form of a parable and using the animal kingdom as a device to tell that story. The concept came together quickly and Alba developed her lyrics and melodies on the spot. When we were mixing it, we tried to imagine what it might sound like if the classic Colombian Cumbia singer Leonor Gonzalez Mina had flown to Jamaican to have King Tubby mix her album. As I listen back now, I can hear all of that in the final version.

New Video: World Circuit Records Reissues a Classic Cumbia Compilation

Acclaimed label World Circuit Records are reissuing trio essential records from their celebrated catalog: Cumbia Cumbia 1 & 2. a compilation curated by the label’s Nick Gold, which will be released on March 26, 2021 and Ali Farka Touré’s breakthrough album Red, available on vinyl for the first time since its original release in 1984 on May 7, 2021.

Cumbia as a musical genre and a dance can trace its origins back to roughly the 17th century — and since then Colombians across the globe have proudly considered cumbia their birthright and badge of identity. Over the past couple of decades, cumbia has seen a resurgence with the genre currently winning over new generations of fans on dance floors everywhere. Interestingly, Cumbia Cumbia 1&2 features some of the greatest — and most beloved — recordings made and released by legendary Colombian record label Discos Fuentes between 1954 and 1988.

Founded in Cartagena, Colombia in 1934 by visionary musician, arranger and producer Antonio Lopez Fuentes, Discos Fuentes was the first important record label in the country, responsible for thousands of hits performed by scores of legendary singers and musicians over the course of 60 years. Fuentes hand-picked his musicians and singers, then meticulously arranged, produced and recorded the music in-house.

Cumbia Cumbia 1 & 2 features 30 of Discos Fuentes’ releases, showcasing a diverse and eclectic gamut of styles that make up the distinct and imitable cumbia sound; a sound generally typified by a loping 2/4 gait, a pulsating rocksteady-like baseline, polyrhythmic percussion, brass, accordion, clarinet, electric guitar and vocals. Disc one features a broad range of cumbia styles with recordings made and released from 1960 through 1988 while disc two presents the cumbia classics, exclusively focusing on recordings made and released during the 1950s and 1960s. Originally released as two separate albums, the reissue puts everything as one comprehensive release.

To build up buzz for the reissue, World Circuit released the first single off the re-issue, the lushly arranged, big band-like “Cumbia del Monte,” by Pedro Laza y sus Pelayeros, featuring a gorgeous and expressive clarinet solo, the familiar loping gait, shuffling polyrhythm and call-and-response vocals. Interestingly, the song manages to possess an old world elegance with a dance floor friendliness. World Circuit also released a playful and brightly colored, collage art-based visual for “Cumbia del Monte,” full of tropical imagery.

New Audio: Cumbiasound Teams Up with Lis Flores Varela and Boogie Castillo on a Globalist and Funky Take on Cumbia

Daniell Fridell is a multi-instrumentalist and producer with a deep background in jazz, funk, soul and Balkan music. Throughout his lengthy professional career, Fridell has played and produced material for albums, commercials, TV and theater while residing in Denmark and Sweden. As a result of his work, the currently Sweden-based Fridell has toured across the European Union, Africa and the US.

Fridell’s latest project Cumbiasound draws from Colombian cumbia and Peruvian chic with elements of reggae, Balkan folk, Afrobeat, sou and jazz added to the mix. Cumbiasound can trace its origins back to 2010 when Fridell was first introduced to cumbia. “2010 I heard cumbia the first time while standing outside of a supermarket eating ice cream,” Fridell explains in press notes. “It was blazing hot and all of a sudden this music came out of the speakers. ‘What’s that?’ I asked and the rest is history. A true love affair.”

Earlier this year, Fridell released his Cumbiasound debut, Vol. 1: Instrumentales, a critically applauded effort that found the Swedish-based multi-instrumentalist and producer collaborating with Erik Axelsson (trombone, euphonium) that received attention across the blogosphere for being a blissful bit of escapism — and for being an oddity in our increasingly globalized world. South American cumbia convincingly done by Swedes and other Scandinavians? Uh, why not?

Fridell caps off a successful year with his sophomore Cumbiasound EP, Cosas del Universo. The EP, which sees Fridell collaborating with vocalists Boogie Castillo, Lis Flores Varela and José Pereelanga and frequent collaborator Erik Axellsson continues where its predecessor started off — but while digging deeper into several different styles of cumbia paired with 70s Palenque rhythms.

Interestingly, many of the collaborations on the five song EP can be traced back a couple of decades before: Fridell first met Chilean-born, Swedish-based emcee and vocalist Boogie Castillo in the mid-90s, when Castillo was a member of Helsingborg, Sweden-based hip-hop act DOSS. They managed to meet again in 2012 and they collaborated on a couple of early Cumbiasound tracks, including Fridell’s Cumbiasound debut “Calzones Largos,” which was released on the net label Caballito. Considering it a great time to get together to finish old ideas and create new music, Fridelll and Castillo wanted some additional flavor on the EP, so they recruited Lis Flores Varela to contribute her vocals.

Simultaneously, Fridell had been working with Congolese vocalist José Pereelanga on a number of different occasions and invited the Congolese vocalist to broaden the effort’s overall sound. Fridell and his collaborators are hoping that with Cosas del Universo, they have crafted material that can appeal to a broad audience — while adding a Scandinavian twist.

“Maz Paz,” Cosas del Universo’s first single is a breezy yet dance floor friendly anthem centered around shuffling, Latin polyrhythms, a looping and fluttering flute line, an Afrobeat-inspired guitar line, a sinuous bass line and an infectious hook. Boogie Castillo and Lis Flores Varela contribute impressive and inspired turns rhyming and singing to the mix. “Maz Paz” finds the act crafting an infectious and funky bit of cumbia with a globalist and genre-defying bent.