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.