In this episode, we find out how cumbia left Colombia in the ‘60s and ‘70s and traveled to other countries. Everywhere it went, it transformed itself, adapting to its new environment. In Peru, it mixed with psychedelic guitar effects and Andean sounds to become chicha. In Argentina, it became the expression of a new generation of restless youth in the burgeoning slums of Buenos Aires. And in Mexico, it became so instilled in the local culture that some have forgotten that it came from Colombia in the first place.
Produced by Marlon Bishop
TITLE: “The Cumbia Diaspora: From Colombia to the World”
GEORGES: (mimes cumbia beat) OH - HEY, THIS IS GEORGES COLLINET WITH YOU ON AFROPOP WORLDWIDE FROM PRI, AND ON TODAY’S PROGRAMPROGRAM, WE’RE HERE TO TALK ABOUT: CUMBIA.
WINDOW: - Cumbia con Marimba - Baranquillerita [0:07] (idea: cumbia IS? Montage?)
GEORGES: CUMBIA IS A MUSIC STYLE THAT BEGAN IN COASTAL COLOMBIA AND HAS SINCE BECOME THE MOST WIDESPREAD MUSIC IN LATIN AMERICA. IT’S PLAYED FROM THE TEXAS BORDERLANDS, DOWN THROUGH THE ANDES ALL THE WAY TO THE TIP OF PATAGONIA. CUMBIA IS EVERYWHERE, AND TODAY, WE TRACE IT’S PATH AS IT WEAVES ITS WAY THROUGH HISTORY AND POPULAR CULTURE.
WINDOW: Celso Pina, “Cumbia Poder”
GEORGE: COMING UP, WE LEARN ABOUT THE PSYCHEDELIC CUMBIAS OF 1960s PERU.
ACTY: Olivier - Noe Facin said he wrote all of his songs under the influence of ayhuasca…. Wrote good songs too!
GEORGE: THEN, WE DELVE INTO THE SHANTY-TOWN CUMBIA THAT TURNED ARGENTINA UPSIDE DOWN IN 2001
ACTY: Hector - For the first time ever, Argentines have to consume, deal with something from a portion of the reality that they don’t want to deal with, the poor slums around Buenos Aires.
GEORGE: AND, WE VISIT A MEXICAN SONIDERA PARTY IN NEW YORK’S OUTER BOROUGHS.
ACTY: Candela – Voice.wav
GEORGES: ALL THAT AHEAD ON OUR SPECIAL HIP-DEEP EDITION: “THE CUMBIA DIASPORA: FROM COLOMBIA TO THE WORLD.” BUT FIRST, SOME MUSIC. STRAIGHT FROM MONTERREY, MEXICO, THIS IS SENOR CELSO PINA, WITH CUMBIA PODER[SELL-soh PEEN-ya]
MUSIC: Celso Pina y su Ronda Bogota – “Cumbia Poder” – [emerge at vocal 0:42, out 2:55] (Tabaco y Ron)
GEORGES: THAT WAS “CUMBIA PODER” FROM MEXICAN CUMBIA LEGEND CELSO PINA. I’M GEORGES COLLINET WITH A SPECIAL HIP DEEP EDITION: “THE CUMBIA DIASPORA: FROM COLOMBIA TO THE WORLD,” ON AFROPOP WORLDWIDE. MAJOR SUPPORT FOR AFROPOP WORLDWIDE COMES FROM THE NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE HUMANITIES AND THE NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE ARTS.
WINDOW: “Cumbia Tucumana”, Axel Krygier
GEORGES: TO START US OFF, WE’RE GOING TO TALK TO THIS GUY
ACTY: Jace – Hi, I’m Jace Clayton.
GEORGES: JACE – AKA DJ RUPTURE - IS A WRITER AND DJ WHO SPECIALIZES IN GLOBAL MUSICA. A FEW YEARS AGO, HE BECAME VERY INTERESTED IN CUMBIA.
ACTY: Jace - The Story of Cumbia - And the more I started digging and learning about this music, the more fascinated I became because it localizes so interestingly everywhere it goes. You know so it started in Colombia, but it was doing amazing things in Peru in the 70s. You know, it’s doing fascinating things in Dallas, Texas in the starts of the 2000s. (brief window) So the Story of cumbia is the story of regional adaptations of cumbia – people taking the sound, and then tweaking it to whatever it is they like and sort of integrating it.
GEORGES: AND THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT OUR PROGRAM TODAY IS ALL ABOUT. HOW AND WHY DID THIS ONE GENRE SPLINTER INTO SO MANY FORMS, AND END UP TAKING OVER A CONTINENT? TO HELP US ANSWER THAT QUESTION, WE’VE ENLISTED AN EXPERT.
ACTY: Hector - My name is Hector Fernandez L'Hoeste and I teach Latin American Cultural Studies at the University of Georgia.
GEORGES: HECTOR IS GOING TO HELP US FIGURE OUT HOW CUMBIA BECAME THIS:
WINDOW: “Cumbia Tucumana”, Axel Krygier [a few seconds]
GEORGES: FROM THIS.
SFX: Long rewind sound interrupts song and gives us.
WINDOW: Afroyou, “Track 02” [0:20] [traditional cumbia]
GEORGES: ORIGINALLY, CUMBIA WAS ONE OF MANY RHYTHMS PLAYED IN COLONIAL COLOMBIA BY AFRO-COLOMBIANS ON THE CARIBBEAN COAST. (window) (BY THE WAY, WE HAVE A WHOLE PROGRAM ALL ABOUT MUSICA TROPICAL IN COLOMBIA THAT YOU CAN STREAM ON OUR WEBSITE IF YOU WANT TO FIND OUT MORE. THAT’S AFROPOP DOT ORG SLASH HIP DEEP.) OK FAST FORWARD.
SFX: fast-forward sounds
WINDOW: Shakira – “Waka Waka” (or other.)
GEORGES: OOPS, TOO FAR.
SFX: rewind sound.
WINDOW: “Pajaro Macua” – Adolfo Pacheco [0:09]
GEORGES: IN THE EARLY 20th CENTURY, CUMBIA WAS PLAYED BY ACCORION-LED GROUPS LED BY ACCORDIONS.
WINDOW: “Pajaro Macua” – Adolfo Pacheco
ACTY: Hector - As American culture started influencing the Caribbean scene in Columbia, the a series musicians decided to adopt the big band model and they developed stylized forms of cumbia, which they sold throughout the nation.
WINDOW: “Chipi Chipi” - Los Melodicos [frop top, backtime]
ACTY: Hector - In a way it was a measure to have other audiences, that is larger cities inland with a very different sensibility. So here we have a cumbia with big bands, big orchestras.
GEORGES: FOR EXAMPLE, HERE’S “CHIPI CHIPI,” A 50s-ERA BIG BAND CUMBIA BY LOS MELODICOS.
MUSIC: xfade into Chipi Chipi [0:09] “Chipi Chipi” – Los Melodicos [until 155]
GEORGES: THAT WAS LOS MELODICOS, FROM VENEZUELA, ONE OF THE FIRST COUNTRIES TO CATCH THE CUMBIA CRAZE. THE COLOMBIAN BIG BANDS OF THE TIME TOURED ABROAD, BUT A REAL INTERNATIONAL IMPACT WASN’T MADE UNTIL CUMBIA’S NEXT STAGE.
SFX: short fast-forward.
WINDOW: Gabriel Romero y Su Orquesta – “La Subienda” (not completely right)
GEORGES: IN 1954, LEGENDARY CUMBIA RECORD LABEL DISCOS FUENTES MOVED FROM THE COAST TO MEDELLIN, IN THE INTERIOR, THE NEW CAPITAL OF THE MUSIC INDUSTRY. AS CUMBIA MOVED AWAY FROM THE COAST, IT’S RHYTHM BECAME SIMPLIFIED. IN THE 60s NEW, SMALLER COMBOS DEVELOPED A STYLE THAT WAS SOMETIMES CALLED “CHUCO-CHUCO.” HERE’S WHY.
ACTY: Hector - Chuco chuco.wav - Chucu chucu, that’s the way it sounded. [sings rhythm] That would be it. It was pretty much the sound created by an instrument called the Guacharaca, which is a long tube that basically you scratch. The end result was a very simple rhythm.
WINDOW: El Aguardientaski,” Los Graduados. [play 1:00 or so]
GEORGES: ONE SO CALLED CHUCO-CHUCO BAND WAS LOS GRADUADOS. THIS IS THEIR CLASSIC “AGUARDIENTASKI,” SUNG IN RUSSIFIED SPANISH.
MUSIC: “El Aguardientaski,” Los Graduados. [play 1:00 or so] (ConSider other)
GEORGES: THAT WAS LOS GRADUADOS, PLAYING THE SIMPLIFIED CUMBIA CALLED “CHUCO CHUCO.” HECTOR FERNANDEZ L’HOESTE [Loh-EST-tay]
ACTY: Hector - Packaged .wav - This cumbia is easily packaged and sold abroad. It’s a simple package that almost anyone without a formal schooling can embrace, and immediately you know, can start playing. And that’s a huge appeal.
WINDOW: new chuco chuco song – maybe Sonora Dinamita?
GEORGES: IN THE LATE 60s CUMBIA STARTS TO REALLY TRAVEL.
SFX: Car engine, as if driving across the country.
GEORGES: BANDS LIKE LOS GRADUADOS AND LA SONORA DINAMITA BECAME VERY POPULAR AROUND LATIN AMERICA. HECTOR SAYS CUMBIA WAS ALLOWED TO PENETRATE BECAUSE IT WAS NEVER STRONGLY IDENTIFIED WITH COLOMBIAN NATIONALISM, AND WASN’T SEEN AS THREATENING.
ACTY: Hector – Tropical.wav - It’s origin was was irrelevant. What was relevant was that it conveyed this idea of the tropic, and that idea of the tropics could be consumed and it could be adapted to a local context.
WINDOW: Rigo Tovar – “La Sirenita” [From top, backtime]
GEORGES: THE FIRST PLACE IT TAKES OFF IS MEXICO. BY THE 70s, CUMBIA HAS INVADED THE REPERTOIRES OF BIG POP SINGERS LIKE RIGO TOVAR.
WINDOW: Rigo Tovar – “La Sirenita” [emerge on vocal at 0:16]
SFX: Song interrupted by breaking sound.
GEORGES: WE’LL GET TO MEXICO LATER. RIGHT NOW, WE’RE HEADING SOUTH, TO PERU. BUT FIRST A PIT STOP IN… BROOKLYN?
WINDOW: Bring up chica libre song (ride of the valykeries) [add sfx of glasses clinking]
GEORGES: HERE, AT HIP BAR CALLED “BARBES,” A BAND CALLED “CHICHA LIBRE” RECREATES CLASSIC PERUVIAN CUMBIA EVERY MONDAY NIGHT.
WE’RE HERE TO SPEAK WITH OLIVIER CONAN [oh-LIHV-ee-ay COH-nan], THE BANDLEADER AND BAR OWNER, ABOUT HOW HE FELL IN LOVE WITH THE SOUND KNOWN AS CHICHA.
ACTY: Olivier - I was traveling in Peru, really traveling, also looking for music that’s what I do when I travel a lot.
AMBI: Peruvian city market sounds.
ACTY: Olivier - I was buying bootleg records on the street and talking to this woman that said, oh you would probably like that they’re really, really old cumbias, uh she was pretty young, and she started playing me Los Mirlos, Juaneco y su Combo. And the classic Amazonian cumbia,
WINDOW: Los Mirlos - Sonido Amazonico [to 0:31, then down to bed], EQ ed as if coming out of a crappy radio.
ACTY: Olivier - and I was like yeah, I do like it, and I bought as many records as I could after that. (edit) So I was completely amazed by it.
GEORGES: OLIVIER EVENTUALLY PRODUCED A SERIES OF CHICHA COMPILATIONS, AND GOT DEEP INTO THE MUSIC’S HISTORY. AS THE STORY GOES, CUMBIA REALLY TOOK OFF PERU IN 1967, [AROUND THE TIME OF ITS SPREAD ALL AROUND LATIN AMERICA.]
WINDOW: Los Saicos, “Intensamente”
GEORGES: AT THE SAME TIME, ROCK AND ROLL WAS EXPLODING AROUND THE WORLD, AND KIDS IN LIMA WERE LISTENING TO LOCAL ROCK BANDS LIKE LOS SAICOS. (little window) BEFORE LONG, THE SOUNDS COLLIDE, AND CUMBIA TAKES ON THE INSTRUMENTATION OF A ROCK BAND.
WINDOW: Los Destellos – Elsa
ACTY: Olivier - They started using electric guitars – [Enrique Delgado from the band Los Destellos were the first ones to do that in nineteen-sixty-eight.] They just replaced all the melodic lines that were played by accordion by the electric guitar and just that change that gave it a very distinctive sound.
GEORGES: NOT ONLY ARE THEY USING GUITARS AND ORGANS – THEY’RE USING LOTS OF EFFECTS PEDALS TO GET ALL SORTS OF PSYCHEDELIC SOUNDS. LET’S HEAR A TRACK FROM LOS DESTELLOS, THE FIRST MAJOR PERUVIAN CUMBIA BAND. HERE’S “ELSA”
MUSIC: Los Destellos, “Elsa” [emerge on vocal at 0:30 or so; fade down around 3:00]
GEORGES: THAT WAS “ELSA,” PERUVIAN CUMBIA FROM LOS DESTELLOS. ROCK, CUMBIA, BRAZILIAN AND CUBAN SOUNDS MUSIC – IT’S WAS ALL MASHED UP IN THE NEW SOUND.
WINDOW: “Muchachita del Oriente” from top. [0:08]
GEORGES: LOS DESTELLOS WERE IN LIMA, BUT THERE WAS ALSO A BIG CUMBIA MOVEMENT HAPPENING IN OIL-BOOM CITIES OF THE PERUVIAN AMAZON.
ACTY: Olivier- So a few Amazonian bands start playing almost around the same as Los Destellos in Lima, the most famous and influential is Juaneco y su combo from the city of Pucallpa.
GEORGES: ON THE COVERS OF THEIR OLD L-Ps, “JUANECO Y SU COMBO” ARE DRESSED IN FULL AMAZONIAN INDIAN GARB AND HOLDING SHINY ELECTRIC GUITARS.
ACTY: Olivier – [The way they dress I don’t know how authentic it is. It does look a little bit like Native Americans from a nineteen-thirties movie.] There’s yet again a glorification of something exotic, magical, that would appeal to somebody who’s not from that culture specifically. However, Noe Fachin, from Juaneco, his nickname was El Brujo, the witch doctor, and he was very interested in the culture, and very interested in Ayhuasca.
WINDOW: Juaneco y su combo, “El Llanto De Ayaimama” [sitar “trippy sfx?]
GEORGES: THAT’S THE HALLUCEGENIC VINE FOUND IN THE AMAZON AND USED FOR RELIGIOUS RITUALS BY INDIGENOUS FOREST PEOPLE.
ACTY: Olivier -And Noe Facin said he wrote all of his songs under the influence of ayhuasca…. Wrote good songs too!
GEORGES: FROM TK YEAR, HERE’S JUANECO Y SU COMBO WITH “EL LLANTO DE AYAIMAMA,” [ay-AY-ma-MA]
MUSIC: El Llanto De Ayaimama – Juaneco y Su Combo [play till 2:30 maybe?]
GEORGES: (understated) THAT’S JUANECO Y SU COMBO, FROM THE PERUVIAN AMAZON. [fade out music]
WINDOW: “Cumbia del desierto” or “rito esclavo”
GEORGES: UP UNTIL ABOUT 1974, CUMBIA WAS MUSIC FOR ALL PARTS OF SOCIETY, BUT THAT QUICKLY CHANGED. LIMA URBANIZED VERY QUICKLY AS POOR MIGRANTS FROM THE HIGHLANDS STREAMED IN, MANY ESCAPING POLITICAL VIOLENCE IN THE INTERIOR. THE NEXT WAVE OF CUMBIA HAS STRONG ANDEAN MUSICAL INFLUENCES. IT WAS GEARED TOWARDS THE NEW MIGRANTS, AND HATED BY THE ELITES.
[Olivier: That’s when it loses its culture value in a way because nobody talks about it. It’s not in the newspapers. It’s not on TV. People like Chacalon can sell a million records, they’re invisible to the rest of Peru, the official Peru that runs the place really. So that’s really when it lost, when it became big which is kind of a paradox. (short window)]
GEORGES: THIS IS ALSO WHEN PERUVIAN CUMBIA BECOMES KNOWN AS “CHICHA,” NAMED AFTER A TRADITIONAL ALCOHOLIC DRINK FROM THE ANDES. IT WASN’T MEANT AS A COMPLIMENT.
ACTY: Olivier - In Peru when you say something is chicha, you mean it’s crass, it’s low class, and it’s you know thieves are chicha, our president is chicha, the yellow press is la prensa chicha.
GEORGES: THE FIRST CHICHA MEGA-STAR WAS A SINGER NAMED CHACALON. [WE CALLED UP SOMEONE WHO KNEW CHACALON VERY WELL.]
SFX: Phone ring interrupts music.
ACTY: Jose – [sings tunes ]
GEORGES: JOSE CARBALLO WAS CHACALON’S GUITARIST AND ARRANGER.
ACTY: Jose (in Spanish)
GEORGES: JOSE SAYS THE PERUVIAN PRESS CHARACTERIZED CHICHA AS MUSIC FOR THIEVES AND PROSTITUTES.
ACTY: Jose in Spanish
GEORGES: IN REALITY, HE SAYS, THESE WERE HARD WORKING PEOPLE WHO SUFFERED GREATLY. THEY WOKE UP AT FOUR IN THE MORNING EVERY DAY TO WORK AND GOT HOME LATE AT NIGHT. CHACLON AND THE BAND WROTE SONGS THAT SPOKE TO THAT SENSE OF SUFFERING.
ACTY: Tail end of Jose’s ACTY.
WINDOW: A Trabajar “Chacalon y la nueva crema”
GEORGES: HERE’S OLIVIER CONAN.
ACTY: Olivier - A lot of the lyrics they’re similar they talk about working hard literally, getting up and looking for work, working hard, being sad and drinking… The cliché is that the end of a chicha concert, if it’s really successful, you can slash your veins. I mean it’s that dramatic (I’ve never seen it in other concerts but) there’s a sense of great sadness and pride and tragedy that’s all meshed up in this one feeling that’s proud of being a Provinciano.
GEORGE: THE LIFE OF THE PROVINCIANO – THE ANDEAN MIGRANT – IS CELEBRATED IN ONE CHACALON’S MOST FAMOUS SONGS. HERE’S “A TRABAJAR” – “GOING TO WORK”
MUSIC: Chacalon Y La Nueva Crema, A Trabajar. [2:00]
GEORGE: THAT WAS “A TRABAJAR” FROM CHACALON.
WINDOW: Bareto – “No Juegues con el Diablo”
GEROGES: CHICHA WAS STIGMATIZED IN PERU FOR MANY YEARS. HOWEVER, THERE’S BEEN A SORT OF “CHICHA REVIVAL” THE SO CALLED “PSYCHEDELIC CUMBIA” HAS RESONATED WITH INTERNATIONAL AUDIENCES, AND PERUVIANS ARE BECOMING INTERESTED IN THE MUSIC AGAIN AS WELL.
ACTY: Olivier - There’s a sense that people are reconnecting with the music on both sides of the social divide, and bringing into present day Peru which is very exciting.
[play window for a moment]
GEORGES: OLIVIER CONAN’S COMPILATIONS ARE CALLED THE ROOTS OF CHICHA, VOLUMES ONE AND TWO, AND THEY’RE AVAILABLE ON BARBES RECORDS. JOSE CARVALLO IS WORKING ON A BOOK ABOUT CHICHA, HISTORY, SO STAY TUNED. MORE INFO AND GREAT CHICHA VIDEOS CAN BE FOUND ON OUR WEBSITE. THAT’S AFROPOP DOT ORG.
COMING UP IN OUR SHOW, WE SEE WHAT HAPPENS TO CUMBIA WHEN FINANCIAL CRISIS HITS ARGENTINA. PLUS A TRIP TO A MEXICAN CUMBIA PARTY IN NEW YORK’S OUTER BOROUGHS. I’M GEORGES COLLINET, AND YOU’RE LISTENING TO AFROPOP WORLDWIDE, FROM PRI, PUBLIC RADIO INTERNATIONAL.
30-Second BREAK: Los Blancos – “Siguiendo El Ritmo” from top [0:00-0:30]
GEORGES: OK, NEXT STOP ON OUR CUMBIA ROAD TRIP: ARGENTINA.
WINDOW: “Quejas de Bandoneon” – Anibal Troilo [to bed after 0:06 or so]
GEORGES: WHEN YOU THINK OF ARGENTINA, TROPICAL DANCE MUSIC IS PROBABLY NOT THE FIRST THING THAT COMES TO MIND. BUT CUMBIA HAS A LONG HISTORY IN ARGENTINA. FIRST, THERE WAS LOS WAWANCO [wah-wahn-COH], A BAND MADE UP OF COLOMBIAN AND COSTA RICAN STUDENTS ATTENDING ARGENTINE UNIVERSITIES. THEY HAD A BIG HIT IN 1967 YEAR WITH VILLA CARINO. [kah-REEN-yoh]
MUSIC: Los Wawanco, “Villa Carino” (from top, whole song 2:00. Backtime)
GEORGES: “VILLA CARINO” FROM 1967. CUMBIA DEVELOPED A STRONG FOLLOWING IN ARGENTINA OVER THE DECADES. MEANWHILE THE EUROCENTRIC MIDDLE CLASSES CONTINUED TO LISTEN TO ROCK, AND DIDN’T PAY CUMBIA MUCH ATTENTION.
MUSIC: Fades out.
GEORGES: AND THEN, THE ECONOMY EXPLODED.
ACTY: [Sound from documentary]
GEORGES: ECONOMIC CRISIS IN ARGENTINA TURNED THE NATION UPSIDE-DOWN. IN DECEMBER OF 2001, CITIZENS TOOK TO THE STREETS. THEY PROTESTED, RANSACKED SUPERMARKETS AND CLASHED WITH POLICE. THAT JANUARY, THE PESO COLLAPSED, AND ARGENTINES FOUND THAT THEIR LIFELONG SAVINGS DISAPPEARED, ALMOST OVERNIGHT.
WINDOW: Pibes Chorros – “Le “Pibes Chorros” est arrive” [start at 0:16, backtime for vocal emerge at 0:32 or 0:50]
GEORGES: IT’S NO COINCIDENCE THAT AT THE EXACT SAME TIME, A NEW MUSIC STYLE ARRIVED THAT WOULD CHALLENGE ARGENTINE’S CONCEPT OF THEIR CULTURE AND SOCIETY. IT WAS CALLED CUMBIA VILLERA [vee-YEHR-ah].
MUSIC: Pibes Chorros – “Le “Pibes Chorros” est arrive” [from vocal emerge 1:50]
GEORGES: THAT WAS FROM “LOS PIBES CHORROS” – OR “THIEVING KIDS.” VILLERA IS CUMBIA FROM THE VILLAS – THE SHANTY-TOWNS THAT FAN OUT FROM PROSPEROUS BUENOS AIRES CENTER.
ACTY: Hector – Villera.wav - The peak of villera is after the economic debacle, after the fall of the Argentinean economy.
GEORGES: ETHNOMUSICOLOGIST/HISTORIAN (?) HECTOR FERNANDEZ-L’HOESTE
ACTY: Hector – Villera.wav - All of a sudden you have a sizable portion of the argentine population [finding itself] no longer identifying themselves as middle class , all of a sudden they’re viewing themselves as poor. And here comes a cultural product, a musical genre, that addresses that new sensibility… that addresses themes, topics, having to do with that new reality.
GEORGES: CUMBIA VILLERA WAS THE INVENTED, ALMOST SINGLE-HANDEDLY BY A GUY NAMED PABLO LESCANO.
ACTY: Jace - Super Open.wav - He was super super open. I can’t imagine a nicer multi-millionaire, incredibly famous musician.
GEORGES: THAT’S JACE CLAYTON, AKA DJ RUPTURE. IN 2008, JACE MET PABLO LESCANO IN BUENOS AIRES ON ASSIGNMENT FOR FADER MAGAZINE.
ACTY: Jace: I wanted to meet him because he basically pioneered a genre. What Pablo Lezcano did was bring in real talk about life in the villa, life in the ghetto as it were. You know, he’d talk about drugs, talk about sex, and about violence and essentially all of these social themes, a sort of darker side of social reality, that was becoming more and more relevant for larger and larger sections of the Argentinean population as the economy tanked. He put that in Cumbia.
WINDOW: “Los Duenos Del Pabellon”
ACTY: Jace – Keyboard.wav - And in addition to the lyrical innovation, he developed a really amazing keyboard playing style, he’s got a keyboard…
GEORGES: …IT’S A KEY-TAR, THE KIND YOU WEAR LIKE A GUITAR, PAINTED OVER WITH THE IMAGE OF AN A-K-FORTY-SEVEN..
ACTY: Jace – Keyboard.wav - It’s a really um… it’s almost like a cheap, acidic and very potent sound. Very very treble.
WINDOW: Play song – Los Duenos del Pabellon, window on the synth line. [maybe diff window. Something more narrative?]
ACTY: Jace – Keyboard.wav - And so it’s one of these rare moments where a musical innovator can both push the lyrical content and make a new progressive sound with the music? and then have it hit a nerve, an incredible nerve, you know it just…it was… it just kind of took off over night.
GEORGES: LESCANO’S BAND IS CALLED DAMAS GRATIS. THIS IS THEIR “LOS DUENOS DEL PABELLON.”
MUSIC/WINDOW: Long window on Los Duenos Del Pabellon [0:40 to 1:30 maybe]
GEORGES: PABLSO LESCANO WITH DAMAS GRATIS. AFTER LESCANO, HUNDREDS OF CUMBIA VILLERA BANDS POPPED UP.
ACTY: Newsclip Tevez
GEORGES: EVEN SOCCER STAR CARLOS TEVES STARTED A VILLERO BAND, AND CUMBIA BEGAN TO FILL THE WEEKEND TV REVUES.
ACTY: Talk show clip. “Todos los negros con la mano arriba”!
GEORGES: THE VILLEROS REFERRED TO THEMSELVES PROUDLY AS “LOS NEGROS,” OR “THE BLACKS,” A TERM LONG USED BY ELITES IN ARGENTINA AS AN INSULT TOWARDS THE NATION’S POOR. THEY SANG OF DRINKING CHEAP WINE, ABUSING DRUGS AND COMMITTING ROBBERIES, TAKING STEREOTYPES THAT HAD BEEN HURLED AT THEM FOR DECADES, AND FLIPPING THEM AROUND INTO BADGES OF HONOR. MAINSTREAM ARGENTINEAN SOCIETY WAS ENRAGED. HERE’S JACE.
ACTY: Jace - Gangster Rap - It’s almost like Argentineans were hearing gangster rap for the first time. Because it was explicit…it was a form that was already looked down upon and then suddenly the lyrics were saying things that middle class Argentina didn’t want to hear.
ACTY: Hector - Argentina – [Villera makes Argentines] In many cases for the first time ever, argentines have to consume, d eal with something from a portion of the reality that they don’t want to deal with, the poor slums around Buenos Aires. They don’t even want to admit [for that matter] that it’s another Argentina and it’s another Argentina that matters. So to that extent cumbia villera is a very important cultural product.
WINDOW: “Muevelo Que Sube” – Fantasma [from top, backtime]
GEORGES: OF COURSE THERE ARE EXCEPTIONS. SOME BANDS FROM THE OTHER SIDE OF TOWN HAVE BEEN INSPIRED BY THE CUMBIA VILLERA MOVEMENT TO EXPERIMENT WITH THE NEW SOUNDS. ONE SUCH GROUP IS CALLED FANTASMA. HERE’S THEY ARE WITH IR “MUEVELO QUE SUBE”
MUSIC: “Muevelo Que Sube” – Fantasma [emerge on vocal 0:31]
GEORGES: FROM BUENOS AIRES, THAT WAS FANTASMA. OK. IT’S TIME TO VISIT OUR ONE LAST COUNTRY.
WINDOW: Cumbia del Amor – “Los Tigres del Norte” [0:04]
GEORGES: MEXICO HAS LONG BEEN A CULTURAL AND ECONOMIC POWER-HOUSE IN LATIN AMERICA, AND WAS A MAGNET FOR COLOMBIAN BANDS AS EARLY AS THE FIFTIES.
ACTY: Hector – Mexico.wav - In Columbia , Mexican culture was very important. So the idea of exporting Columbian music to Mexico was very appealing.
GEORGES: TODAY, THE CUMBIA RHYTHM HAS PENETRATED EVERY VARIETY OF REGIONAL MEXICAN MUSIC.
WINDOW: Los Tigres Del Norte – “Cumbia Del Amor”
GEORGES: IT’S IN NORTENO MUSIC.
WINDOW: (xfade) Banda el Recodo – Cumbia del Torero [0:16 -0:25]
GEORGES: CUMBIA IS IN BANDA MUSIC. IT’S PLAYED BY MARIACHIS.
WINDOW: “Bidi Bidi Bom Bom” – Selena [0:12 – 0:18]
GEORGES: AND IT’S A BIG PART OF MEXICAN POP, LIKE THE MUSIC OF SELENA, THE “QUEEN OF TEJANO MUSIC” WHO DIED TRAGICALLY IN 1995.
WINDO: “Celso Pina”
GEORGES: THE CITY OF MONTEREY SPECIALIZES IN “COLOMBIAN-STYLE CUMBIA,” AND EVEN HAS A SUBCULTURE OF YOUNG PEOPLE WHO CALL THEMSELVES “COLOMBIAS”
BUT ONE OF THE MOST INTERESTING FORMS OF ALL IS CALLED CUMBIA SONIDERA – OR SOUND SYSTEM CUMBIA, WHICH EVOLVED OUT OF OPEN-AIR CUMBIA STREET PARTIES. ETHNOMUSICOLOGIST CATHY RAGLAND STUDIES THIS MUSIC, AND SHE TOLD US HOW SHE ACCIDENTALLY STUMBLED INTO THE SONIDERO WORLD HERE IN THE OUTER BOROUGHS OF NEW YORK CITY.
ACTY: Cathy – Queens.wav - I was walking around in my neighborhood of Astoria, Queens… and I saw…noticed these flyers
GEORGES: FLYERS ADVERTISING MEXICAN CUMBIA PARTIES.
ACTY: Cathy - Interesting .wav - I said well, this is interesting, what is this about…
GEORGES: AND SO SHE SHOWED UP AT THE PARTY.
ACTY: Cathy – Restaurant. Wav - It was just a small restaurant…
GEORGES: THE TABLES WERE CLEARED OUT AND REPLACED WITH GIANT SPEAKER CABINETS.
ACTY: Cathy – Balloons.wav - Streamers everywhere, and balloons and all of this kind of stuff.
GEORGES: CATHY WAS SURPRISED TO SEE AT INSTEAD OF A BAND, THERE WERE THESE DJs PLAYING CDs AND SPEAKING INTO A MICROPHONE.
WINDOW: Sonido Candela.wav
ACTY: Cathy – Notes.wav - And then what really kind of struck me was that everybody was sort of handing off these notes to the DJ and he was reading them over the music (so no one could even really hear…I mean, you could hear the music,) you could hear the rhythm and people were dancing to it, but yet… it was being talked over completely and I was just completely fascinated by this.
WINDOW: Sonido Candela, “Mi Nina Linda”, from before beat drops.
ACTY: Cathy – Floor.wav - He’s you know reading these things and then tossing them onto the floor so I kind of start picking them up off the floor [laughing] and people thought I was a little strange, but…(bed)
GEORGES: ON THE NOTES WERE SALUTATIONS – LITTLE MESSAGES OR POEMS DEDICATED TO FAMILY AND FRIENDS IN MEXICO OR ELSEWHERE IN THE U.S. CATHY REALIZED THAT BY READING THE MESSAGES OUT-LOUD, THE DEEJAY WAS SOMEHOW CLOSING THE LONG DISTANCES THAT SEPARATED THE AUTHORS FROM THEIR LOVED ONES BACK HOME
ACTY: Ragland.wav – Spaceships.wav - The sonidero was really about transporting you to that place and in fact, I noticed that the DJs tended to use a lot of this kind of space…ship kind of sounds and talking about transporting you from one place to the other, and sometimes they would talk about, “well we’ve just landed and we’re in Mexico.” (EDIT)And I was really taken by that…imagery and that ability to travel. It’s particularly when [I knew…a lot of the…]I started to talk to some of these guys and they talked about how they were never able to travel back home because they were undocumented.
ACTY: Candela – Voice.wav [Sondio Candela tests microphone]
GEORGES: FRANCISCO FLORES, AKA SONIDO CANDELA IS ONE OF NEW YORK CITY’S BIGGEST SONIDEROS.
ACTY: Candela – Effects.wav [Candela demonstrates effects]
GEORGES: HE’S SHOWING US HIS PORTABLE CABINET OF AUDIO EQUIPMENT, FULL OF VOICE-ALTERING REVERBS AND DELAYS. HE EVEN HAS A CD PRINTER ON BOARD, TO SELL COPIES OF HIS SET AFTER THE SHOW, SALUTATIONS AND ALL.
ACTY: Candela – Mexico.wav
GEORGES: CANDELA SAYS THAT THESE RECORDINGS OFTEN FIND THEIR WAY BACK TO MEXICO.
ACTY: Candela – Saludo.wav [Candela speaking in Spanish]
GEORGES: HE SAYS “IT’S A WAY OF SENDING A MESSAGE. OF SAYING: I’M OK, I’M HAVING FUN, I’M HERE AND I’M SENDING YOU A GREETING.” (beat) HERE’S CATHY RAGLAND:
ACTY – Cathy - Big Picture.wav - (Because) the music is really loud and I think that, you know, you can be loud, you can have a loud voice, you can have your vo ice out there, whereas that’s not happening pretty much in their daily lives *I mean, Still in NYC, the Mexican immigrant population…the numbers are around 80% that are still undocumented. (That’s a large percentage of people who are living under the radar). And, you know, unable to really live their lives and express themselves as freely as you or I do. And I think these dances offer that opportunity.
GEORGES: LET’S HEAR A SONIDERO STYLE CUMBIA. HERE’S TK – MINUS ALL THE TALKING.
WINDOW: “El Guiro”
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WINDOW: Something more narriative?
GEORGES: TODAY WE HEARD CUMBIA STORIES FROM PERU, ARGENTINA, AND MEXICO - JUST THE TIP OF THE CUMBIA ICEBERG, SO TO SPEAK. VISIT OUR WEBSITE, AFROPOP DOT ORG TO FIND OUT ABOUT CUMBIA FROM ALL THE COUNTRIES WE DIDN’T HAVE TIME TO GET TO TODAY. EACH COUNRY’S STORY IS VERY DIFFERENT, BUT THEY ALL HAVE A COMMON THREAD. HERE’S HECTOR FERNANDEZ L’HOESTE.
ACTY: Hector – Representation.wav - I would have to say that the story of cumbia is the story of sectors of society that have been forsaken by the national order finding an alternative means of representation.
GEORGES: EVERYWHERE IT WENT, CUMBIA TOOK OFF AMONG THE WORKING CLASSES. IN MANY CASES, IT’S BEEN PRODUCED AND DISTRIBUTED ENTIRELY OUTSIDE OF THE FORMAL MUSIC INDUSTRY. DESPITE ATTEMPTS TO SILENCE IT, CUMBIA HAS PERSISTED.
ACTY: Hector - Big Picture.wav - In other words, what all these forsaken groups are trying to celebrate is, there’s another way of being national, and it doesn’t have to go through the government, and this is my way.[And that’s just as it happened in the Columbian case, because after all cumbia came from a region that is despised by the central government, by the elite of the country, and ironically took over the whole country. So it happens in other latitudes and corners of Latin America.] [The beauty of it all is that it gives to people a voice that initially did not have a voice.]
GEORGES: AND THERE YOU HAVE IT. BEFORE WE GO, LET’S HEAR ONE MORE SONG.
WINDOW: “La Curura” – Sabo & Cassady [from top. Backtime to emerge on vox]
GEORGES: THIS ONE IS FROM SABO AND CASSADY, DUO THAT MIXES CLASSIC CUMBIA WITH ELEMENTS OF HIP-HOP AND ELECTRONIC MUSIC. THEY’RE PART OF THE NUEVA CUMBIA MOVEMENT THAT HAS BEEN MAKING NOISE RECENTLY. TO FIND OUT MORE – TUNE-IN TWO WEEKS FROM NOW – WE’RE AIRING A WHOLE PROGRAM ALL ABOUT NUEVA-CUMBIA.
MUSIC: “Lu Curura” – Sabo & Cassady [emerge 0:24 play until ]
GEORGES: FROM SABO AND CASSADY, WE JUST HEARD “LA CURURA.”
WINDOW: “Cumbia Inferno” [start at 10s, emerge at 28s]
GEORGES: THANKS TO HECTOR FERNANDEZ-L’HOESTE=, CATHY RAGLAND, PABLO VILA, JACE CLAYTON, GEKO JONES, OLIVIER CONAN, JOSE CARVALLO, FRANCISCO FLORES, YESICA BALDERAMA, AND AMANDA THEIRRY FOR THEIR HELP WITH THIS PROGRAM. MY AFROPOP PARTNER IS SEAN BARLOW. SEAN PRODUCES OUR PROGRAM FOR WORLD MUSIC PRODUCTIONS. RESEARCH AND PRODUCTION FOR THIS PROGRAM BY MARLON BISHOP. JOIN US NEXT TIME FOR “AFROPOP WORLDWIDE LIVE!!”
OUR CHIEF AUDIO ENGINEER IS MICHAEL JONES. ADDITIONAL ENGINEERING BY MIKE CAPLAN AND ALISTAIR SIM. BANNING EYRE EDITS OUR WEBSITE, AFROPOP.ORG. OUR OPERATIONS MANAGER IS MATT PAYNE AND I’M GEORGES COLLINET.
MUSIC OUT [hopefully emerge at 1:18 on vocals or something] Play for 30s to 1m.
PROMO TEXT (NEXT PROGRAM)
MUSIC: Celso Pina, “Cumbia Poder” – backtime to emerge on accordion.
ACTY: Jace - The story of cumbia is the story of regional adaptations of cumbia.
MUSIC: Emerge on accordion at 0:24.
GEORGES: FROM TEXAS TO ARGENTINA, CUMBIA IS EVERYWHERE. I’M GEORGES COLLINET. JOIN ME NEXT TIME FOR A DEEP EXPLORATION OF LATIN AMERICA’S MOST WIDESPREAD SOUND. NEXT TIME ON AFROPOP WORLDWIDE FROM PRI, PUBLIC RADIO INTERNATIONAL
HELLO, I’M GEORGES COLLINET WITH THIS WEEK’S AFROPOP WORLDWIDE AUDIO FEATURE, EXCERPTS FROM OUR PROGRAM, … [WITH ETHNOMUSICOLOGIST, ________]
YOU CAN SEE PHOTOS AND READ …… OUR WEB SITE—AFROPOP.ORG--AND JOIN ME NEXT WEEK FOR _________. UNTIL THEN…I’M GEORGES COLLINET.