Tag: Combo Chimbita Abya Yala

New Video: Combo Chimbita Release a Gorgeous Visual for Meditative “Todos Santos”

Acclaimed Latinx group Combo Chimbita — — Carolina Oliveros (vocals), Prince of Queens (synths, bass), Niño Lento (guitar) and Dilemastronauta — features members of New York-based Colombian folk collective Bulla en el Barrio and is a sort of related side project. Interestingly, the members of Combo Chimbita can trace the origins of their genre-mashing sound, which feature elements of cumbia, electro pop and Afro-futurism, to their experiments with different traditional music styles during their late night residencies at Park Slope, Brooklyn-based club Barbes. Most of that experimentation included explorations between visual identity and improvisational long-form trips that would eventually lead to their self-recorded, 2016 full-length debut El Corridor del Jaguar.

Unsurprisingly, the members of Combo Chimbita have cited Sun Ra’s Afro-futurism as a deep influence on their work and overall aesthetic — with the New York-based Latinx group crafting their own take, one, which they’ve dubbed Tropical Futurism. “The idea that the future doesn’t necessarily have to be this super white Western high-tech Star Wars stuff; that the indigenous ideas and culture of people of color, people of Latin America, can also represent a magical and substantial future,” Combo Chimbita explain. “It’s a vision that maybe a lot of people don’t necessarily think about often. The old and deep knowledge that indigenous people have of the land has been neglected for many years as part of capitalism and colonization.”

2016’s Lily Wen-produced sophomore album Abya Yala found the band further establishing their Afro-futurism-inspired take on cumbia and other traditional Colombian folk styles. Shortly after the release of Abya Yala, the members of Combo Chimbita began to receive attention locally and elsewhere for their live show, led by Oliveros’ powerhouse vocals and commanding stage presence. Eventually, the acclaimed Latinx group caught the attention of ANTI- Records, who signed the band to the label and released their third album 2019’s Ahomale.

Much like countless others, the pandemic wound up putting the act’s plans on an indefinite pause — but they used the time to write a batch of singles, including their latest, the slow-burning “Todos Santos.” Featuring atmospheric synths, skittering beats, a sinuous bass line, hypnotic four-on-the-floor-like drumming, expressive guitars, Afro-Colombian percussion and Oliveros’ yearning vocals, “Todos Santos” finds the act continuing to effortlessly and seamlessly mesh the ancient with the hyper contemporary.

e Mother of all Orishas in Yoruban tradition — and guardian of the ocean, representing home, creation and love. “Todos Santos gave us an opportunity to situate our instruments in such a special place, out in the open near the ocean, with no people around, just listening to the wind and watching the birds,” the band’s Prince of Queens recalls. ““It generated a peaceful & tranquil energy, which reflects our capacity to heal and to forgive, something we often lose sight of through the hustle of day-to-day life.” Dilemastronauta adds “The track’s hypnotic drumming was done in collaboration with Grammy-nominated percussionist Philbert Armenteros, a Cuban-born Babalawo and dear friend to Combo Chimbita who helped us perform this special homage to Yemaya.”

Directed by Iván Vernaza, the recently released video for “Todos Santos,” is the second of a series of visuals accompanying news Combo Chimbita material that follows the journey of Colombian sisters in a non-linear storyline that began with
“Mujer Jaguar” The videos were filmed and produced in Cali, Colombia at the beginning of a national uprising that has seen the government respond with violent repression against its citizens. “Mujer Jaguar” followed a young woman, whose fiery presence was connected to the current resistance across Abya Yala. “Todos Santos” is a gorgeously shot, nostalgia-fueled fever dream centered around an interconnected community of women, who guide and love the video’s roaring and passionate protagonist.

e surrounding mountains, we knew this song would be healing, purifying, and hopeful. Those maternal characteristics are something we wanted to evoke through the single and its video, recognizing that the young girl who roared in ‘Mujer Jaguar,’ had a process of learning and unlearning, of guidance and autonomy, which she uses to confront life,” Carolina Oliveros explains in press notes.

New Audio: Combo Chimbita’s Propulsive and Psychedelic New Single

Throughout JOVM’s eight-plus year history, I’ve covered Association of Performing Arts Presenters (APAP)’s annual conference in some fashion or another. As a national service, advocacy and membership organization for those within the performing arts — particularly within dance and theater, APAP over the years has developed a reputation for their role in assisting musicians and groups, who specialize in “world music.” Along with the annual conference, which features discussion panels, lectures, networking sessions and the like for artists producing, recording and creating artwork in our extremely complicated and confusing political landscape, there are a number of carefully curated showcases hosted and/or sponsored by this city’s best known “world music” venues.  Now, as you may recall, the Lower East Side world music venue DROM hosts Barbes’ and Electric Cowbell’s annual Secret Planet APAP showcase — and earlier this year, their wildly eclectic showcase featured the New York-based Colombian folk collective Bulla en el Barrio; the Brooklyn-based act Drunken Foreigner, which specializes in a sprawling, psych rock-like iteration of the Akha and Lam Lao musics of Thailand and Laos; the Cleveland, OH-based Afro-futuristic soul act Mourning [A] BLKSTAR; the New York-based Afro-futuristic-inspired, psychedelic cumbia act Combo Chimbita; the New York-based Ethiopian funk and jazz-inspired septet Anabessa Orchestra; and the New York-based act Hearing Things which specializes in a sound that draws from Middle Eastern music, surf rock, and 60s soul and R&B.

Featuring Bulla en el Barrio’s Carolina Oliveros (vocals) along with Prince of Queens (synths and bass), Niño Lento (guitar) and Dilemastronauta (drums), Combo Chimbita began experimenting with different traditional music styles during their late night residencies at Barbes — much of this experimentation included explorations between visual identity and improvisational long-form trips that eventually lead to their thunderous 2016 self-recorded debut, El Corridor del Jaguar. Interestingly, much like Mourning [A] BLKSTR, the New York-based act is deeply inspired by Sun Ra’s Afro-futurism — while championing their own take on it, which they’ve dubbed Tropical Futurism. As the band says “the idea that the future doesn’t necessarily have to be this super white Western high-tech Star Wars stuff; that the indigenous ideas and culture of people of color, people of Latin America, can also represent a magical and substantial future. It’s a vision that maybe a lot of people don’t necessarily think about often. The old and deep knowledge that indigenous people have of the land has been neglected for many years as part of capitalism and colonization.”

Their Lily Wen-produced sophomore full-length album Abya Yala was released through Figure & Ground Records was released back in 2016, and the album further established the band’s unique futuristic take on cumbia. And along with an incredible live show, led by Oliveros powerhouse vocals and commanding stage presence, the New York-based act has begun to receive quite a bit of buzz. In fact, renowned Los Angeles-based label ANTI- Records, a label known for having a roster of wildly eclectic array of artists that includes the legendary Mavis Staples, recently signed the band. As the band’s Prince of Queens says in press notes, “ANTI- is a special label. It is crazy to be part of such a diverse pool of artists, feels extra special being an immigrant band singing in Spanish. I grew up in Bogota listening to a lot of bands on Epitaph and not understanding a word they were singing but it made me want to be in a band and learn music. It feels like full circle working with [Epitaph’s sister label] ANTI-.”

The members of Combo Chimbita will be closing out a big year with a series of live shows the include sets at Lincoln Center and Philadelphia’s PhilaMOCA before joining Parquet Courts for the Midwestern leg of the indie rock’s current tour. You can check out the tour dates below. But before that, the band has released a trippy new single “Testigo,” a track centered by a looping Afro pop-like guitar line, shimmering and arpeggiated synths, rolling and propulsive percussion, a sinuous bass line and Oliveros’ powerhouse vocals. Sonically speaking, their sound serves as a power reminder of how much contemporary music — particularly Latin American music — draws from Africa, as much as it does from their own native traditions, and they do so in a wildly anachronistic yet dance floor friendly fashion.