Cumbia sonidera is Mexico’s bass-heavy, sound-system reinterpretation of music originally emanating from the Colombian northwest. During performances, the sonideros (DJs) mix songs and get on the mic to recite fans’ dedications to people and places. These shout-outs (called saludos) trace an auditory archive of memory, migration, and longing across the US-Mexico border. This event will feature an audiovisual conversation using cumbia tracks, field recordings, and photographs to spark discussion on a music in movement, media materiality, and the interface of the visual and the sonic.

Featuring Brian “B+” Cross (UCSD), Sr. Tony (Sonido Fantasma), Juan David Rubio Restrepo (UCSD), and Roman Zepeda (Turbo Sonidero). Moderated by Alexandra Lippman (UCLA).

Friday, June 1 @ 3PM

UCSD Visual Arts, VisArts Performance Space (VAF 306)

Free and open to the public.
Free food provided by Zanzibar.

RSVP here

Stick around for el after con Very Be Careful, Tropa Mágica, Sonido Fantasma, and Turbo Sonidero.

RSVP | Tickets ($10 GA, Free for Students)

SPEAKERS

Brian “B+” Cross is an assistant professor in the Department of Visual Arts at the University of California San Diego and co-founder of Mochilla, a production house whose output includes feature length music documentaries, music videos, music and photography. A former student of award-winning author Mike Davis and photographer Allan Sekula, Cross was the photo editor of the music magazine Wax Poetics from 2004 to 2010, and Rappages from 1993 to 1998. He has worked in hip-hop culture as a photographer and filmmaker for over twenty years. Cross’ 1993 book on the LA hip-hop scene, It’s Not About a Salary, was on “best book of the year” lists for Rolling Stone and NME magazines, and Vibe named it one of the top ten hip-hop books of all time. His latest book, Ghostnotes: Music of the Unplayed, was published in 2017 by University of Texas Press.

Sr. Tony Sonido Fantasma is a prominent sonidero born in Puebla and based in Los Angeles. In his performances, he DJs cumbia while improvising saludos (shout-outs or dedications) from his fans to their absent loved-ones and family members. These saludos create an auditory archive of feelings of longing and love for families separated by the border. With 27 years of experience, Tony is renowned for his skillfulness on the microphone and for his powerful sound system.

Alexandra Lippman is an anthropologist, DJ, and postdoctoral scholar at UCLA with the Institute for Society and Genetics. Her research explores the politics of sound, cultural and intellectual property, and technology in Latin America, primarily Brazil. She produced and curated ¡Un Saludo! Mexican Soundsystem Cumbia in LA, a compilation which highlights how Discos Barba Azul, a small music shop and label in downtown LA, became a hub of border-crossing cumbia sonidera in the United States. She founded the Sound Ethnography Project and is a member of the artist collective and independent music label, Dutty Artz.

Juan David Rubio Restrepo is a PhD candidate in the Music Department at the University of California San Diego originally from Manizales, Colombia. He is a musician, composer, improviser, and researcher. He has presented on genealogies of popular music, decolonialism, time, and technological agency and teaches a popular course on cumbia.

Roman Zepeda (Turbo Sonidero) is a music producer hailing from San José, CA who blends Rap/Hip-Hop with Cumbia Sonidera. In 2010, he moved to his father’s hometown in Puebla, Mexico to immerse in Cumbia Sonidera culture, where he played and toured extensively in the country. He is one half of Grupo Jejeje and a co-founder of Sonido Clash, a cultural arts collective exploring latinx art + sound. He has been featured in FADER, Afropop Worldwide, KQED, and XLR8R, among others.

¡Un Saludo! Voice, Memory, and Migration in Cumbia Sonidera

Conversation and listening with Jace Clayton (Dj Rupture), Alexandra Lippman (Xandão) & Alejandro Aviles (Sonido Kumbala)

December 16, 2017, 8pm

UnionDocs, 322 Union Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11211

$10 | Tickets here

Cumbia sonidera is Mexico’s bass-heavy, sound-system reinterpretation of Afro-Colombian folk music. During performances, the sonideros (DJs) mix songs and get on the mic to recite fans’ dedications to people and places. These shout-outs (called saludos) trace an auditory archive of memory, migration, and longing across the US-Mexico border. Hosted by Jace Clayton, who features a chapter on NYC cumbia and Sonido Kumbala in his book Uproot: Travels in 21st-Century Music and Digital Culture, this evening will use tracks from NYC- and LA-cumbia sonidera compilations by Sonido Kumbala and Xandão to spark discussion on the roles of the sonidero, immigrant media systems, and translation.

Afterwards, stick around for the Annual UNDO Holiday Party [ Deep Freeze Disco: ¡ Un Saludo ! ] – DJ sets from Kumbala, Xandão , and DJ /rupture!

 

Vicente Pedraza and I chatted with Dublab co-founder, Frosty for LAndscapes his show on Red Bull Radio, which explores the “rich and varied musical landscape that is Los Angeles.” We spoke in bustling Santee Alley–LA’s own tianguis–over aguas frescas.

I selected from Discos Barba Azul’s catalogue, Shark & Lobo DJ MP3-loaded CDs bought over the years in D.F. (shout-out to Vamanos for sharing “Cumbia Lorana”), and a live recording of Sonido Rumbandela performing at our release party.

Listen in on Tuesday 11am-1pm PST!

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Re-posted from Pirate Anthroplogies:

A couple weeks ago, I was lucky to DJ a truly green party: Movable Party, a pedal-powered dance party in LA. Participants on three bikes with hub motors powered speakers, a mixer, and laptop in a corner of MacArthur Park with its lake, fountain, and vendors of fresh fruit con sallimón, y chile. Fittingly the cycling-generated soundsystem made its city debut for CicLAvia, a street closure event which opens up LA’s streets for cyclists and pedestrians. All in the city where car culture was born!

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A week before Rio Parada Funk, the largest baile funk ever, Brazil’s Institute for Historical Patrimony and National Art (IPHAN) informed the press that they were going to veto its location in the historical epicenter of Rio de Janeiro. They claimed they were worried about the effects of the bass on the windows of century old buildings like the Municipal Theatre and the National Library. A few days earlier the event’s organizers had agreed to IPHAN’s volume limits. But this agreement didn’t satisfy IPHAN. And they required the Parada to move to a different, less elegant, more blue collar street also in Centro.

Yet the most popular street Carnival bloco, Cordão da Bola Preta, which last year had about 2 million participants, has marched without sound limitation for years along the same route.

By transforming the prestigious center of Rio into a ten sound system deep celebration, organizers of the Parada Funk would make a claim of the centrality of funk carioca and assert their rights to the city. In recent years violent police take-overs (called “pacification”) of favelas have resulted in the shutting down of many community bailes. The Parada’s taking over Rio Branco Avenue, the former route of the Carnival samba school parade, would have enacted and symbolically placed funk in the same trajectory as samba, from criminalized, poor Afro-Brazilian music to national rhythm.

Yet organizers like Mateus, who produces Eu Amo Baile Funk, urged MCs and DJs not to talk to the press about prejudice against funk but to emphasize it as a celebration. An MC responded, “Funk is equal to samba. We’re here to show that funk is culture.” The Parada, which is the first major funk event to receive funding from the state–the Secretary of Culture–would have been unimaginable a few years ago.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SDWqxRhA25Y[/youtube]

Dado DJ on MPC, then DJ Grazy and DJ Leo tag-team to make up for the one working CDJ

A few days before the event, the location was moved once again–this time by the city–to a huge plaza closer to Rio Branco. Workshops and lectures ran from 10 am to noon, followed by performances by 50 DJs, 40 MCs and various dancers. When I arrived a little after 12pm, speakers were still being stacked by young men who hadn’t slept since disassembling the systems for Saturday night’s parties.

Ten sound systems with walls of between forty and one hundred stacked speakers–and one made of car sound systems– rumbled through funk’s for over eight hours. The afternoon started with freestyle, electro, and Miami Bass, moved to montages (montagems) mixing funk’s North American roots with Brazilian rapping, Candomblé drum rhythms, and sampled phrases from “Bang Bang” (Brazilian Westerns) movies, and ended with stripped down, beatboxed funk of contemporary “PC generation” of DJs, who create songs with “pirated” FL Studio, Sound Forge and Acid from loops exchanged over MSN.

At Cash Box and Big Mix–with each about 100 speakers–I could not stand near my friends DJ’ing. I am used to the bass which vibrates through my skin, chest, ribs. But the good quality of their speakers brought out a fuller range. I felt like my ears might bleed. My friend, Greg, claimed he saw windows wobble.

Over time, the crowd began to swell–different newspapers reported between 14,000 to 100,000–filling the plaza and nearby street. The mass of funkeiros,dancing, listening, remembering and reenacting, affirmed the power of this changing rhythm and asserted its legitimacy within the city.

Montagem do Tango (circa 1998)

[audio:http://nyc.duttyartz.com/mp3s/Montagem%20do%20Tango.mp3]

DJ Mandrake-Aquecimento Global (2011)

[audio:http://nyc.duttyartz.com/mp3s/Montagem-Aquecimento Global (DJ Mandrake).mp3]

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s4LisTccRm8[/youtube]

[Go to :37 to skip the song’s credit intro]

Well not “pirates” exactly, but camelô, hawkers. For years I thought street vendors were called “camels” (camelo) and wondered about the connection. And, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil the area of the largest semi-formal, pirate-media-makers/smugglers market is called the Sahara.

The lyrics in the video defend camelôs working to provide for their families and attack social inequality in Brazil and the country’s prohibitively high taxes–e.g. 60% on a foreign “luxury” item like DJ gear. The long-haired kid in red, Yuri BH, sings about how musicians fly throughout Brazil for shows because of their partnership with camelôs who publicize their music. Many MCs and DJs, who I met gave their CDs and DVDs to the camelôdromo (the “hawker-drome”) in hopes of “pirate” proliferation and distribution.

Efficient pirate sales–plus radio play and “free” sites like FunkNeurótico— may have helped catapult another of the MCs featured in the song. MC Bó do Catarina–blue hat & braces–seems to have the song right now in Rio. And he’s not even from there. Funk carioca (“funk from Rio”) as the genre’s name suggests needs to be from Rio. Artists living outside of Rio, historically, have not gained a name within the music.

Bó’s hit song, “Vida Louca Também Ama,” roughly translates to “Crazy Life Also Loves.” Like in Los Angeles “vida loca” refers to gang life. In Rocinha, the largest favela in South America, where I’m living, it’s playing on YouTube at my friends’ homes. The lyrics are on my neighbors’ lips. As I roar up the hill on a motorcycle taxi, I hear it blast from distorted speakers on corners and in front of bars. And it’s somehow this popular without fitting into either of the two currently dominant subgenres. It’s not putaria, about sex; no lyrics, like my neighbors’, cleverly manage to pun camera with getting head. And despite the “vida louca” mention it’s not proibidão, gangsta funk glorifying specific factions or telling tales of local wars.

Overall since MCs–or their impresarios/managers–often have to pay the radio monthly and tip baile funk DJs with bottles of Black Label whisky and Red Bull to get their songs played, “pirates” who distribute their music for free, i.e. without the artist having to pay, can be a good deal. The prevalence of media piracy in Brazil, however, might have contributed to the death of formally released albums of funk. Piracy might be used as an excuse by label-heads to explain to artists why they receive so little royalties and for labels not to produce official CD releases anymore. DVDs of shows are the only commodity nowadays. But as long as the quality of their music wasn’t degraded, many funkeiros said they supported pirate media distribution as a way for their music to take off through Brazil. Cheap, fast, exploding.

Bó do Catarina-Vida Louca Também Ama

[audio:http://nyc.duttyartz.com/mp3s/MC%20BO%20DO%20CATARINA-%20VIDA%20LOUCA%20TAMBEM%20AMA%28DJ%20GAO%29.mp3]

And his newest song–which starts nicely sweetened with some Melodyne/Auto-Tune–which Bó gave me on a burned CD-R:

Bó do Catarina-7 Vidas

[audio:http://nyc.duttyartz.com/mp3s/Mc%20Bo%20do%20Catarina-7%20Vidas.mp3]

TIM, nice flag sponsorship, but your cellphone coverage is still awful in Rocinha

A week ago as I walked besides the still-not-entirely-closed off sewer stream in Rocinha, the favela where I’ve been living in Rio de Janeiro, a truck approached. Bamboo stalks and palm fronds filled the bed of the truck. Several young boys and pre-teens with their faces streaked with black paint jumped off the truck as it slowed to a halt. They tumbled on the ground or ran wildly, crying out. I asked my friend what was happening. He answered simply, “Festa caipira,” “country party.”

That weekend and the next this area of Rocinha, Valão, would throw its Festa Junina, a party which no one seems to be able to explain very well to me. In the rural Northeast of Brazil, this celebration trumps Carnival in popularity. Although called Festas Juninas, June Parties, the parties don’t start happening until June 24th and only happen in a big way in July. São João and São Antonio, whose saints’ days come in late June, are the main saints involved. “Junina” supposedly–I’ve never heard this, only read it–derives from Joãoina, from São João. Children eat candied apples, dress up like country bumpkins, brides and grooms, or aristocrats and dance in quadrilhas to forro and other Brazilian folk music. Pyrotechnic explosions have replaced the “traditional” bonfires which people dance around. During the day, dogs bark and I try not to jump (like a gringa) after every boom of firecrackers.

In many communities in Rio, Festas Juninas have died out. But in Rocinha, home of many Northeastern migrants, each neighborhood seems to throw its own outdoor “June” party Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Last Friday I spent almost eight hours at two different festas juninas in Rocinha. At the second one, boys and girls—whose costumes were specially sponsored and more sparkly than most—danced quadrilhas from about 2 to nearly 4am. Rural roots were reenacted and the past re-sounded in a multiply-displaced, secretly pagan celebration of the summer solstice in the middle of (still tropical) winter.

 

Amelinha-Frevo Mulher (written by her famous former-husband, Zé Ramalho who also sings this song)

[audio:http://nyc.duttyartz.com/mp3s/Amelinha-Frevo Mulher.mp3]

Amelinha-Gemedeira

[audio:http://nyc.duttyartz.com/mp3s/AMELINHA-GEMEDEIRA.MP3]

Originally published in Pirate Anthropologies

Crafted in the depths of his basement studio in Highland Park, LA, Tek Support‘s Attack. Recharge. Attack., recently dropped onto the buyable interwebs. Expect robotic apocalypse, wailing sirens, and chiptune-esque geek-outs in the best sort of way.

After this release, Tek Support unleashed a string of covers and remixes ranging from 80’s metal Dio to K-Pop’s 2NE1. Grab dem gratis.

Tek Support-Mk V

[audio:http://nyc.duttyartz.com/mp3s/Tek%20Support-Mk%20V.mp3]

Tek Support-Space Oddity (Bowie Cover)

[audio:http://nyc.duttyartz.com/mp3s/Tek%20Support-Space%20Oddity%20(Bowie%20Cover).mp3]

 

People of LA! This Saturday one-time Mudd Up! guest and great DJ Lengua will celebrate his record release party for his LP Cruzando put out by Unicornio Records. Más Exitos crew + special guests, Mister Juanderful and Sonido Franko will play some great vinyl you would be hard-pressed to hear anywhere else. In Más Exitos’ words expect everything “from fuzzy cumbias, to jumping boogaloos, to funky soul oddities, to disco aztecas, rock n’ rolleros, a-go-go latino, paisadelic-psychedelic freak outs and janky electro beats.”

[vimeo]http://www.vimeo.com/22484794[/vimeo]

DJ Lengua-La Jungla

[audio:http://nyc.duttyartz.com/mp3s/01_la_jungla.mp3]

Chimu Pots Representing Decapitated Heads (Museo del Larco, Cusco)

 

“They’re widows,” the woman standing behind the till explained. I had spotted the two viudas, Rosita and Ricardina, dancing slowly to the huaynos playing on the speakers. This was one of those tiny stores that seem to sell everything.  On this Saturday, I stopped in to ask the way to the one discoteca in Ollantaytambo—one of longest continuously occupied settlements in Peru. The town lies on the banks of thw Orubamba River, which runs through the Sacred Valley. Agricultural terraces (“andenes”)—from the age of the Incas—slice through the steep sides of the Andes. Inca stone houses, temples, and look out posts dot the mountainsides. An hour-long train ride would bring you to Macchu Pichu.

Rosita swayed with her liter bottle of Pilsen beer; Ricardina grabbed my hands in her rough hands, teaching me how to step and slowly spin around to this popular folk music. A shrill voice sang of how dead mothers, traitorous lovers to saccharine cascades of the harp.

“Somos campesinas,” the women repeated. “We’re peasants.” Ricardina told me she was 30 and had three children, and that Rosita was 35 and had five children. They each looked at least ten years older than they said. Rosita handed me their glass and poured me a cup of their beer.

Before leaving, I asked the shop owner if she sold huayno CDs. She began leafing through a stack of her own burned CD-Rs. “Here, this is another copy of who we’re listening to.” She handed over a CD marker-scrawled “Alicia Delgado” to me. I asked her the cost. “Whatever you feel like,” she answered. I handed her two sol coins.

A couple days later on a drive between Cusco and Pisaq, our taxi driver was playing huayno from a USB stick connected to his car stereo. The USB stick dangled where a rosary or pine-tree-shaped air freshener might hang. I told him that I had bought an MP3-CD of Alicia Delgado. “She dead now,” he intoned, “She was murdered in her home. Someone tortured her first.” He said this was never solved, but guessed it probably had to do with money since she was rich.

In Lima, a few days later, after stopping in at the used LP market, Galeria Quilca, I mentioned Alicia to another taxi driver, a friend of a friend. “Yeah, she was murdered by her girlfriend,” he said in California-accented English. “Abencia Meza also sings folkloric music. She was a better singer and made Alicia famous too, but then Alicia cheated on her with her harpist.”

“Abencia is out of jail now and has a new girlfriend. In Lima, you know, you can get someone to kill for you. There are places, neighborhoods to go to. You can get someone to kill for $50,” my driver told me. “That’s why I’m friends with everyone,” he smiled. “It’s much better that way.”

Alicia Delgado-Regresa Madre

[audio:http://nyc.duttyartz.com/mp3s/066%20regresa%20madre.mp3]

Alicia Delgado-En Una Noche de Luna

[audio:http://nyc.duttyartz.com/mp3s/alicia%20delgado-%20en%20una%20noche%20de%20luna.mp3]