Sunday, March 30, 2008

En La Misma Onda

As I am currently experiencing a serious writers block (or is the recently released latin music just not good enough to inspire me?), another overview of what other blogs have to say.

The Paz Sin Fronteras concert held two weeks ago (an initiative by Juanes in the hope of sparking peace between Colombia and Venezuela, more info here) was quite the success. A crowd of 300,000 turned up all dressed in white, to watch the performances of Juan Fernando Velasco, Miguel Bose, Ricardo Montaner, Carlos Vives, Alejandro Sanz, Juan Luis Guerra, and Juanes himself. If you weren't there, you can catch parts of the concert on YouTube right here. That crowd is an amazing sight, let's hope it inspires some Latin American leaders to lay aside their personal and political differences for a while. (via The Latin Americanist)

Legendary Cuban bassist Israel 'Cachao' Lopez passed away at the age of 89. He was famous for popularizing mambo in the US in the 1950s, and for his mastership in the distinctly Cuban descarga genre (basically a jam session à la latin jazz). UPDATE: Captain's Crate has a great post on Cachao's life and music.

Emo teens are having a hard time in Mexico City, where adversaries of the punkrock movement are engaging in violent attacks on emo kids. Though you can't blame the attackers (hell I've been wanting to punch some emo's myself lately), this kind of mass brutality is just horrible. Read this controversial article about the emo attack on Turn That Shit Off, and don't forget to read the heated discussion in the comments.

According to this video, shot at a Wisin y Yandel concert, the year-long catfight between Don Omar and Daddy Yankee is over. Though their body language still suggests a strong aversion to each other :) (via Latin Gossip)

Turn That Shit Off interviewed digital cumbia producer Villa Diamante on the release of the ZZK Records mixtape we posted about earlier.

[...] Este mix tiene como idea ser el Lado B del disco oficial de ZZK Records [...] Cuando lo grabé pensé en que dieran ganas de bailarlo desde que pones play hasta el final, muy recomendado para ir por la calle caminando.

Looks like we can add another song to our Told You This Would Be A Hit! list. "Ella Menea" by young salsa duo NG2 is topping the radio charts in the US now, after conquering Puerto Rico and Central America. Read our article again here!
Sadly, we can say the same about "Te Quiero" by Nigga a.k.a. Flex. The return of reggaeton panameño, a softer, more tropical and more woman-friendly variety of the often criticized genre, shows further in the renewed popularity of female duo La Factoria (video "Perdoname") and the interest of famous producers Luny Tunes in underground star El Roockie (video "Martes de Galeria")

Show Videos...

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Concierto Paz Sin Fronteras

The recent tensions between Colombia and Venezuela (and Ecuador) gave birth to a remarkable intiative: a concert for peace that will take place right on the border between the rivaling countries. Juanes - always concerned about human rights and peace in Colombia - is the big man behind the project. In only a few days he convinced some important friends in the music business to participate: Shakira (she cancelled), Juan Luis Guerra, Miguel Bose, Ricky Martin, Carlos Vives, Ricardo Montaner, Juan Fernando Velasco and Alejandro Sanz. Especially the last name is quite sensational, as you remember Sanz has some serious beef with Venezuelan president Chavez. Let's see what that gives! The free concert starts at 19:00 CET (2 PM EDT) tonight, and 400,000 people are expected to show up on the banks of Tachira river, all dressed in white. The Latin Americanist lists the possibilites for watching the concerts live on the web, or if you click "Show Videos..." below, you can watch the entire event right here!

Show Videos...

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Cumbia: Villa Diamante

Nueva Cumbia Digital Zizek Urban Beats New World Latin Music Villa Diamante ZZK Records
Yup, I keep on ranting about that nueva cumbia thing. Or should I call it digital cumbia? At least that's what the primary gathering place for new cumbia deejays (Zizek Urban Beats Club in Buenos Aires) named the movement: check the site of their newest record label ZZK Records. There you'll also notice the first 'official' cumbia digital compilation for sale there, though sadly the best mashups are not on the CD (probably thanks to those damned copyrights). Luckily a small scroll downwards reveals a more than excellent mixtape by Zizek resident Villa Diamante, with the latest batch of superb mashes: "Modeselektor vs. Calle 13" (German electronics meet Puerto Rican rap), "Pibes Chorros vs DJ Uhn" (deeply rolling beats spice up a slow cumbia rebajada rhythm), and that Sonidero Nacional track with the heavy raggacumbia bass. I'm not the type of guy to jump on every mixtape released, but I guess I'm just that obsessed with this totally fresh sound :) I love how Jay-Z, some long forgotten cumbia band, hip elektro beats, and ragga & reggaeton can all be blended into one multi-continental set while still sounding as if they belong together. It kinda defies borders, genres, cultures... And it's freely downloadable ;)

I'll make use of this new post to point you again to Bersa Discos (this time with the correct link), the San Francisco-based cumbia digital label run by DJ Oro11, which recently released a first EP. Not without accompanying free mixtape, of course ;)

Show Videos...

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Alternative: Los Updates, Señor Flavio

Today we look at the solo efforts of two former members of famous Latin American rock bands.

Senor Flavio Mandinga Project Los Fabulosos Cadillacs Supersaund 2012 Latin Ska Rock Alternative Punk Reggae Roots Argentina Polaroid 66
Señor Flavio is the lucha libre-loving masked bassist of Los Fabulosos Cadillacs, a true rock phenomenon back in the 90's. The Argentine ska punk band won several Grammies and sold quite a few records, and Flavio Oscar Ciancarulo (his real name) was one of the key songwriters. His third solo album Supersaund 2012 isn't really a look into the future (as the title suggests), but takes us back to the heydays of the Cadillacs, showing the same versatility and diversity. Reggae/ska is performed with the same ease and agility as garage rock, all with the punk mentality of The Clash."Polaroid 66" is one of the calmer tracks of the album: a polaroid picture provokes memories of a sunny childhood in 1966. The strangely appealing synth and the psychidelic guitar effects create a pure sixties surf atmosphere - everything just fits together. Great track!

Los Updates Jorge Gonzales Los Prisioneros EP Acaso Quieres Venir Latin Chile 80s Eighties Dance Rock Minimal Electro Pop
Jorge Gonzales was the thriving force behind Los Prisioneros, an iconic eighties rock band from Chile. His latest project Los Updates takes the good from his new wave roots, and gives it a modern revamp, while still focusing on good songwriting. The result is very danceable, minimal electro pop with a little 80's nostalgia. "¿Acaso Quieres Venir?" (from the Los Updates EP) has unusually beautiful lyrics for a dance song, if Jorge's voice hadn't suffered that much over the years I'd even say this could become a hit.

Señor Flavio - Polaroid 66 mp3 buy@iTunes buy@Amazon
Los Updates - ¿Acaso Quieres Venir? mp3 buy@iTunes buy@Amazon

Show Videos...

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Back on Track: Blogs

The final post in our quick updates on what you all missed while we were gone, focuses on the tons of good stuff posted on other blogs we like. Enjoy!

VivirLatino lines up the latino winners for the 'real' Grammies. However they don't mention the striking similarities with the Latin Grammies: Juan Luis Guerra wins 'Best Tropical', Calle 13 takes home 'Best Urban' and Pepe Aguilar is the 'Best Mexican'.
And About Latin Music has extensive commentary on Univision's Premios Lo Nuestro. As usual I totally disagree with the winners (Jennifer Lopez best new artist of the year? That's TWO times wrong - she's not new, and certainly not the best!).

Venezuelan authorities (i.e. Hugo 'El Presidente Loco' Chavez) has cancelled another concert of Spanish pop singer Alejandro Sanz. Sanz is not best friends with Chavez after making several remarks in the press criticizing him. Latin Gossip reports that 85 latino celebrities now showed their support for Sanz in a public letter.

Calle 13 made quite an impression at the annual Viña del Mar festival in Chile, easily the biggest music happening in the whole continent. After a performance, artist earn different awards according to the enthousiasm of the audience, and the Puertorican rappers took home every single one for their headlining show that lasted until the early hours. Read more on VivirLatino. The duo confirmed the release of a follow-up to their Grammy-winning albums Calle 13 and Residente o Visitante scheduled this fall.

mun2 has a profile on Mexican art-rockers Porter. Next april they will perform at the Coachella festival, alongside other important Mexican acts like Café Tacuba and Austin TV.

SoundRoots reviews the latest CD of the unknown Argentine indie-folk band Tumbatú Cumbá. The accompanying mp3 "Bajo Del Arbol Un Tambor" reveals a female voice of intense beauty, backed by subtle percussion. Certainly worth checking out!

As nueva cumbia keeps conquering Latin America, Masala posts a very hip crunk-reggaeton-cumbia mashup by the Super Kumbia Bros. That's certain to do well on any dancefloor.
The club around which this movement seems to be revolving, Zizek in Buenos Aires, is sending its deejays out north on a US Tour. No better way to celebrate that than a freely downloadable EP! Dates here.
Also, cumbia DJ Oro11 let us know that some of the Zizek crew united themselves under the label Bersa Discos. They plan to release a 12" every couple of months, the first one sounds very promising (check the MySpace). And what's even better: he mixed up some old & new cumbia in a nice 45-minute mp3 that you can download totally free here!

The Latin Americanist dedicated this week's video posts to famous Latin American protest songs. See the video for Aterciopelados' "Canción Protesta" here, and click through for the other videos - Manu Chao, Los Tigres del Norte and more!

And finally, after Barack Obama's reggaeton anthem, check out the Obama mariachi song below!

Show Videos...

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Back on Track: Pop & Rock

The White Stripes Conquista Conquest Spanish Version Mariachi Acoustic Acustica Icky Thump Alternative Rock
The White Stripes are one of the few alternative rock bands that are equally popular in the English-speaking world as in Latin America. They often manage to fill stadiums throughout the continent, and their albums sell quite a lot on the (black) market. And listening to their latest album Icky Thump, Jack and Meg White mixed their share of Mexican influences into their heavy rock riffs (the videos for singles "Icky Thump" and "Conquest" reveal a fascination for mariachis and bullfighting as well). But the news that they would do a single in Spanish still came as a big suprise - usually the crossover is made in the other direction. It's a Spanish version of the already excellent Patti Page cover "Conquest", published as "Conquista" by Las Rayas Blancas. I'm especially loving the Versión Acústica de Mariachi, though both songs suffer a little from the horrible translation. Still kudos for a great idea!
PS: the audio is ripped from YouTube, and thus of extremely horrible quality, sorry. For full HQ files I redirect you to the iTunes Store!

Chambao La Mari Con Otro Aire Papeles Mojados Flamenco Electronic Latin Pop Spain
Chambao engage themself for illegal immigrants on "Papeles Mojados". Keeping true to their original recipy of flamenco-infused electronic music, this track also has a remarkable influence of Arabic instruments and sounds. Which is probably because illegal immigration in Spain, Chambao's home country, is mostly an affair of Africans crossing the sea from Morocco in improvised boats. La Mari sings the fate of the most unfortunate immigrants:

Miles de sombras cada noche trae la marea
Navegan cargados de ilusiones que en la orilla se quedan
Muchos no llegan, se hunden sus sueños
Papeles mojados, papeles sin dueño

(The tide brings thousands of shadows every night
They fare full of illusions that stay on the border
Many don't arrive, they dreams drowned
Soaked documents, documents without owners)

Despite the serious theme, it's quite a poppy tune. Hopefully it manages to raise awareness a little. "Papeles Mojados" is the first single off a new Chambao album, Con Otro Aire. Be sure to check out the beautiful video below as well!

The White Stripes - Conquista mp3 buy@iTunes buy@Amazon
Chambao - Papeles Mojados mp3 buy@iTunes buy@Amazon

The White Stripes - Conquista

Chambao - Papeles Mojados

Show Videos...