The internet is buzzing about a new scene emerging in Buenos Aires (and, thanks to MySpace, in the rest of the world): la nueva cumbia. Young but influential latino producers are rediscovering traditional cumbia songs, and mixing them up with all kinds of modern influences - from crazy electronics to hiphop beats, even dancehall. As long as it's rhytmic and mixable!
All you Europeans definitely heard at least one example - DJ Samim might not be Argentinian, but he did use a cumbia sample in THE European club hit of this summer, "Heater" (video). The sample is actually <"La Cumbia Cienaguera", a popular Colombian cumbia from the 1950's, in a version by Alberto Pacheco.
Central in the Buenos Aires scene is an urban dance club called Zizek. What's Up Buenos Aires and the Muy Bastard blog (in Spanish) are excellent starting points for discovering the artists associated with the club.
The distinctively Argentinian cumbia villera from the late 60's is used in slow chill-out electronic tracks (Chancha Via Circuito), chopped up to an experimental dub beat (El Remolon) or drowned in worldly urban sounds (El Hijo de la Cumbia).
Going international, American producer Oro11 mixes the cumbias with baile grooves to form a bass-rich mashup that's damn infectious. Check this out: "Pibes Chorros vs DJ Uhn - Que Calor" (via Muy Bastard).
He also has two very dope cumbia-house-reggaeton beats up on his MySpace.
A special mention goes out to cumbia rebajada, which basically consists of pitching down those old cumbias until they sound okay to mix with r&b/dancehall stuff. I kinda needed to flip a switch in my head before I liked it, but the idea is great in its simplicity. Bolivian DJ Sonido Martines has some great examples, along with a fine 'guaracha mix' of MIA's "Paper Planes".
Other producers are already picking up the trend - Diplo (Bonde do Role, MIA) even did a whole podcast on the Zizek movement. Villa Diamate mashes up everything he gets in his hands - check his website packed with mp3s of rap vocals over reggaeton and nueva cumbia rhythms.
More reading on this quite exciting movement on the better urban world music blogs: Masala, Ghetto Bassquake, Mudd Up! and Wayne&Wax.