Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Pizzicato 5 Is Still Good

Classic. All good each in different way. Last one brings back the most memories (no video... but listen - it's ridiculous!)

Monday, September 21, 2009

Just Heard This On One Of The Mexican Radio Stations (Disregard Cat Image)

So jolly, sounds like church music (happy church music), but it's simply about love. Joan Sebastian, "Sembrador de Amor."

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Francis Cabrel

I like this 70s or so French guitar-based pop. It reminds me of my childhood and visiting Colombia, even though I don't think I have ever heard it before.

I Recommend Making YouTube Japan Your Starting Point

Every time I go to YouTube, I am blessed with recommended gems like these (every time!):

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

African Music

Thanks to Alexis for this post and for pointing me in the direction of all this great music here, including this great video. See the post for everything, Nigerian disco and more.

DJ Playero - The Best Reggaeton

DJ Playero, one of reggaeton's pioneers. Enjoy these classic videos.

You can download all his mixtapes at Masala here.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

"Son Muy Buenos"

I was watching TV with my uncle here in Pasto, and he likes this channel called Euro Channel. In between showing films, they show videos by all sorts of artists ranging from DJ Mehdi (I saw this pretty entertaining video for "I Am Somebody") to random Italian pop to Late of the Pier.

This video came on and he was like, "Conoces este grupo?" (Do you know this group?). I said yes. He said, "Son muy buenos." I was like, huh, I like them more now than when I first heard them. Maybe they were too advanced for me a year ago. I was surprised my classical music-loving uncle liked them too. This was the video we saw:

I Like The Dance Sequence at 1:15

But it's more enjoyable if you don't fast-forward. Don't.


Dharavi is the name of a "slum" in Mumbai, well-known to Mumbaikars (it is infamous to most people), and also famous for having appeared in Slumdog Millionaire.

While in India this past July, we took a tour of Dharavi thanks to the little agency Reality Tours and Travel. They do not permit photographs so I have none, but the experience was eye-opening. We wandered all throughout industrial, commercial and residential sectors of the large area, and what we saw was amazing.

When I say industrial, I mean that there are countless informal and unofficial factories, in which people work in all sorts of conditions (mostly poor), making, deconstructing, converting... One of the biggest industries seems to be recycling. Trash is collected throughout the metropolis and brought to Dharavi where products are transformed and leave converted, ready to sell to major companies throughout the city, probably the country. We saw them converting old plastic goods into new plastic beads, ready to use to make into new goods.

Another thing that struck me was that in the so-called slum there are all sorts of stores and shops, services and more. It is a legitimate community. On the day we visited a religious festival was taking place. One man had set up a miniature ferris wheel for children to ride (he pushed it and really seemed to be enjoying himself).

I found this incredible site about Dharavi and the intense controversy surrounding it: People in Mumbai - particularly more well-off, middle class people and of course the rich - tend to think of Dharavi as a stain, something that needs to be removed. They don't generally imagine it is a real, functioning community. Not only that, it is much, much less dangerous than they imagine. While we were there I felt zero danger. Granted, we were on a tour. But we walked all over (there were three of us plus our young Indian guide) and to me it felt no more or less dangerous than any other part of Mumbai (though some people claim it is safer than the Mumbai outside).

Because of its strategic location, developers lust for the land. And so redevelopment plans have been in the works for years.

Visit this well-presented site to learn more:

Here is a good opinion piece that appeared in the NY Times this February, written by people associated with the site [here].

And finally, the reason I found this website. I was researching the Hindi film composer Bappi Lahiri, when I came upon a photo of him with Paul Devro, who I knew to be a Mad Decent DJ. I thought that was interesting, then realized it was on this site. The picture and entry are on this page, about halfway down dated in Feb. 2009.

Animals Dancing Indian Style

Strange Indian Video Snippet

Free Music Archive

WFMU has directed the creation of an incredible resource on the internet called the Free Music Archive, where the slogan is, "It's not just free music; it's good music."

Are you a podcaster looking for pod-safe audio? A radio or video producer searching for instrumental bed music that won't put your audience to sleep? A remix artist looking for pre-cleared samples? Or are you simply looking for some new sounds to add to your next playlist?

You can search by genre, or by curator, and music is available to listen to and to download. The music has been cleared for a variety of legal uses. Link to it HERE.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Louis Armstrong, "St. James Infirmary"

Piero, "Mi Viejo"

Música clásica argentina de los años 60

Julio Jaramillo "Odiame"

Música ecuatoriana bella.

Jackie Wilson, "Higher and Higher"

Nicola di Bari, "I Giorni dell'Arcobaleno"

Los Panchos, "Perdida"

To see more of their videos, use Google Video, here.

Theme From "Man on Wire"

If you haven't seen it, watch it. It is the best movie I saw this year, so so good. The man is incredible. (Visit the movie's website here.) This song plays throughout.


Theme song from Hayao Miyazaki's "Ponyo"


If you like Latin American pop rock: their myspace page. If not, don't bother.

20 best: Colombian records ever made

Great article at FACT magazine

Click here

Grupo Soñador, "Cumbia de la Cerveza"

They always used to play this video at the restaurant where I was working in Tokyo, Junkadelic - the best Mexican in Tokyo city.

Monday, August 17, 2009

"La Pasión de Gabriel" & Colombian Film

The other day I went to see this very good film here in Bogotá called La Pasión de Gabriel. The Colombian film industry is on the rise.
The film is about a priest who has been assigned to a small mountain village. He is having an affair with a beautiful woman. The town also has a problem with the FARC (the guerrillas). Many of the young men in town are recruited by the FARC, who live in the forest in the hills surrounding the town, and Gabriel, the priest, is vehemently opposed to this. Not because he is anti-FARC, per se, but because he sees that joining the FARC is a dead-end - and very potentially fatal - for these boys.

The film is funny, beautifully shot, features great dialogue, is very Colombian, and also deals with some heavy issues very nimbly. Highly recommend it!
The l time I had seen a Colombian film was Our Lady of the Assassins, a low budget, violent (pretty interesting, but depressing) film. It seems the Colombian film industry has matured - and production quality appears to be way up.

I was also at Exito, basically Colombia's version of Target, and bought another film - Paraíso Travel - that my cousin was highly recommending. It's about some Colombians who I believe sneak into the US and end up in Queens.

Here is a song I liked from the soundtrack of La Pasión de Gabriel, "Como Te Voy a Decirlo" by Luis Silva.

Michael Jackson Interview with Oprah

Thanks to Alexis for leading me to this. I remember it vaguely from childhood, but watching it now is a revelation. I will quote Alexis:

The 1993 interview he did with Oprah. Really really intense and fascinating stuff. He seems so lucid, so terrified, so loving and forgiving, so on the brink. When he talks about his sprituality in part six 7:28, my heart breaks. Also, the beatboxing to Who Am I? at part six 1:52 is priceless. I like to believe that he was extremely intelligent and well-read from Margo Jefferson’s On Michael Jackson (excellent essential read btw) and this article. It’s comforting to keep that in in mind before watching…

So here is the whole thing, piecemeal, from YouTube. Thanks to miriamblah1 for posting it.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Martin Denny, "Quiet Village"

Don't really know Martin Denny yet. Apparently some classic 50s tropical-loving American composer/musician. This video is brilliant. Love the animal sounds, and the stoic faces of the musicians.

A little more info from Wikipedia and The Exotic Sounds of Martin Denny page.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Beyond the Golden Age of Latin American Cumbia

Depends on how you look at it, but many of these songs could easily be seen as being bad.

1. I love the first one
2. The second one is bizarre (a song about an El Salvadorean dish)
3. The third one looks like it takes place at a Peruvian high school dance for adults
4. The fourth one has no redeeming qualities besides the singer's hair
5. In the fifth one you see the girl from behind way more than you do her face
6. Watch for the audience's enthusiasm in the sixth one
7. I got a little carried away. This is the third video in this post from Los Ronisch, the Bolivian cumbia superstars.

1. Adrian y los Dados Negros, "Tarjetita de Invitacion"

2. La Chanchona de Tito Mira, "El Chuco"
El Salvador

3. Agua Marina, "Viviré Para Amarte"

4. Rafaga, "Mentirosa"

5. Los Ronisch, "Amigo Traiga Cerveza"

6. Los Ronisch, "Prefiero Estar Lejos"

7. Los Ronisch, "Soledad Disco"

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Argentinean Murga!

I don't know much about murga yet, but I am intrigued. It first began when I heard this song, "Cumbia Murguera," by Chancha Via Circuito, the Argentinean musician:

The sound reminded me of something, but I couldn't say what. Then I was reading an article/interview with him (I forgot where and I can't find it now) where he mentioned that having played the drums in the murgas of his hometown as a child was formative in his musical development.

According to Wikipedia, murga is a form of popular theater. But it seems the Argentinean style - which differs from the Uruguayan style (murga originated in Uruguay) - features less vocals. There is a lot of percussion, and a lot of dancing.

Watch this 10 minute montage of Murga Porteña (Buenos Aires-style Murga) - carnivalesque marching band, Argentine-style.

And this low-budget street murga. Watch the way they kick, and the little kid, and they way they rock the little cymbals atop their great drums - especially at the end.

Friday, March 13, 2009


I rarely see things like this that blow me away. Or maybe it happens a lot? But this is crazy. Right? South African PLAYDOE. Found thanks to DJ/Rupture's listings in Mondomix.

And this I like, too. Ghislain Poirier [watch in HD at YouTube!]

Thursday, March 12, 2009

TOKIO TROPICAL presents ELEC(TRO)PICAL * Tokyo Cumbia Party 3/29

Sun. March 29th
7 PM till last train
Shibuya, bar Q
Dogenzaka 2-25-14 B1 (around the corner from the McDonalds right down the hill from Don Quixote)

東京トロピカル presents エレクトロピカル
道玄坂2-25-14 B1

Classic Cumbia and Cumbia Digital from Colombia, Peru, Argentina & more
Check out Rezar's Mini-Guide to Cumbia and LISTEN to classic cumbia, cumbia digital & more


CLASSIC CUMBIA La Sonora Dinamita, "Ritmo de Tambor" [Colombia]

CUMBIA DIGITAL El Remolón, "Alza la Manos" [Argentina]

Sunday, March 8, 2009

ZZK Records in Tokyo

ZZK Records from Argentina had a rare weekend of Tokyo parties last weekend, with mini-events for cumbia lovers in Tokyo's Shimo-kitazawa and Koenji neighborhoods.

The occasion? ZZK's art coordinator, Anna Brown, was on a long vacation spanning the globe. And they rightly decided that it would be a good idea to send her some music to share with the surprisingly enthusiastic cumbia-loving communities of Tokyo and China.

I made it out to this past Saturday's event at a small bar called Grassroots in Koenji. The place is tiny, but it was packed, and the sound system is respectable. As soon as I walked in a little before 1 am, I saw the only other non-Japanese in the room, and rightly guessed she was Anna from ZZK. The room had a lively energy, and people were excited to hear ZZK's fresh new sounds!

"Annita Cumbia Selectah" went on soon after, and as soon as the sounds of accordions and thumping cumbia percussion left the speakers, the place went up in dance. She spun a long set including ZZK tracks I had never heard, interspersed with crowd favorites. Despite her non-DJ-ness, it was an amazing set, and people were thrilled. I got to keep a couple of the CDs they sent her with (two tracks below!)

After her set, Moodman spun really good hip hop, which eventually phased into reggae. Around 6 am, after a bowl of ramen, they asked her to spin again. She was like, Cool, but I'll probably be playing a lot of the same songs again. But since nobody had heard them for a few hours, it was fresh all over again! I sat in the back of the small room next to a guy that had passed out. The sun was beginning to come up but it barely leaked into the dark 2nd floor space. The speakers behind me shook with the bass. The place was still full. I was half-asleep, half-daydreaming, imagining some combination of Argentina and outer space.

I had no idea cumbia (and perhaps cumbia digital especially) sounded so good loud! As my first time enjoying the music at a club (or club-like space), it was eye-opening. And since I met a few cumbia-loving Japanese people, upcoming parties are in the works.

These two songs blew minds.

Dead Menems "Taliban del Amor" (El Remolón remix)

I don't know who this is yet!:

Check out the free mixtapes at ZZK's homepage.

Friday, March 6, 2009

"El Acordeón del Diablo"

"El Acordeón del Diablo" is a film by German director Stefan Schwietert about accordions and Colombian music. Accordions of course came from Germany, and the movie begins by explaning how the accordion came to be such an integral part of coastal Colombian music such as vallenato and cumbia, among others.

The film tells the story of the 92 year old Francisco Pacha Rada, a literal living legend, still playing the accordion. He is one of the most stories musicians in contemporary Colombian musical history, and yet lives humbly in the Carribean city of Santa Marta.

The film also features a lot of Alfredo Gutierrez, a famous musician in his own right, from the generation following Francisco Rada's. Here's a great song of his I got thanks to Africolombia, "Ojos Indios."

If the film is coming to a town near you, see it at the theater (here's the homepage). Otherwise, enjoy it on the tiny screen at YouTube, where it's available in 9-minute pieces.

So far I am enjoying it. I'm on the 4th part right now, which features a lively performance by some old men (including the star's son), in the town of Aracataca (Garcia Marquez's hometown). Check out the maraca player's fancy footwork around the 3-minute mark: Part 4

But be sure to check out the whole movie. Really interesting if you're interested in Colombia, Colombian music, vallenato, cumbia, or Latin America in general.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

"The Godfather" by El Afrocombo de Pete Vicentini

This is a fluff post dedicated to a cheesy theme, that being this song by El Afrocombo de Pete Vincentini which does the Godfather theme afro-Colombian justice.

This is a distillation of brilliant Fabian's post/uploads at
Africolombia which you should go see. Perhaps first listen to the song below and see what you think. The stuff over at Africolombia has more breadth and is not focused only on Godather covers.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Música Antigua de Colombia

This is a mix of music I borrowed from my aunt in California last December. She had just brought it back from her trip to see my grandma, aunt and cousins in Pasto, Colombia. It's just a burned CD with the title "Música Antigua" written on it. I didn't know what it was, but when I put it on in the car driving back to the San Diego suburbs from LA one night during vacation, it almost floored my mom.

I remember my uncle would watch music programs where middle-aged and older musicians would play this type of music at night in his room after dinner in Medellín.

I don't know any of the artist names, so please let me know if you do.

Here's one song, then links to the full album in two parts.

Música Antigua - 1st half

Música Antigua - 2nd half

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Best of February (and Best of January) 2009

Here are my Best of February and January iTunes playlists. Sorry no downloads here. Obsessed with disco, house, cumbia and more.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Amazing Repository of Colombian Music Online

Africolombia is run by a guy named Fabian in Colombia who scans and uploads cover art and records - painstakingly, one by one - of old Colombian (and Colombian-influenced African and pan-Latin American) imprints, creating an amazing, slowly but ever-increasing resource of Colombian music on the internet. It's quite a popular site, with each song being downloaded hundreds of times (at least) by users throughout the world.

I love the simplicity of the task, the fact that scanning and uploading the records must take so long (he acknowledges that it does, with his slow internet connection) - and also the focus of the task: afro-Colombian music, admittedly a narrow-sounding genre, and yet one that even Fabian could never hope to fully document. But he is quite an expert, and the website offers an amazing resource for anyone interested in Colombia music, or Latin music in general.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Japanese Emoticons

As anyone who has ever done text messaging with Japanese people knows, Japanese emoticons are highly advanced, and make English ones (for example: ;) :( :) :p ) ... look insanely idiotic.

I wanted to know how to say "sugoi" in emoticons in Japanese. So I looked it up and found the (a) goldmine of Japanese "e-moji", which means "picture letters" (絵文字). This is the site, Kaomojiya.

When you go there, the left hand column are categories: greetings, happy, fun, sad, unpleasant, tired, love, daily life (e.g., toilet), events, angry, and more. Then on the right are more specifics. I wanted something fun, so I went to 楽しい, ("tanoshii"), meaning "fun." I chose the 2nd to last one, 踊る・歌う, which means "singing and dancing."

Click. Jackpot.

Here's a line dance:

Para Para:
へ( ̄_ ̄へ)(ノ ̄_ ̄)ノ パラパラ♪

I think this is stretching:

El Gato Volador

This song was the first type of champeta/reggaeton beat I had ever heard when I went on family vacation to Colombia about 15 (?) years ago. I will never forget it. Driving around Pasto, blasting this - the lyrics seemed equally incredible/ridiculous to me at the time. Good memories!

Thanks to Alexis for inadvertently leading me to this via Karaoke Crime.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Cumbiaaaaaa! クンビア〜!

A Guide to Cumbia / クンビア〜!への紹介


In this basic guide to cumbia we’re going to check out cumbia from Colombia, Peru, Argentina and beyond! * この度はコロンビア、ペルー、アルゼンチン、全米のクンビアを紹介致します。

Cumbia was born in Colombia in colonial times, and has since spread throughout Latin America.

Lively, but more relaxed than, say, its cousin (?) salsa, Jace Clayton [DJ Rupture] - in his 2008 Fader feature on cumbia - says some people believe it's the "missing link between upbeat salsa flash and the dubwise languor of reggae."

Who knows. Like reggae, cumbia has proved incredibly flexible, and open to interpretation and evolution.


Without further ado, let's get into it! First up, a classic Colombian cumbia, "La Piragua," by Gabriel Romero. This used to come on at every party my family had when we visited Colombia. A
piragua is a canoe.さて、音楽を聴こう!最初はクラシックなコロンビアのクンビア、ガブリエル・ロメロ、「ラ・ピラグア」。ピラグアって大型のカヌーということです。

Next up, more from Colombia: "Cumbia del Caribe" by Orquesta de Edmundo Arias.

How is it?

Next comes the legend Pastor Lopez. He's from Venezuela but is a Colombian hero. This is one of his classics, "Golpe con Golpe."

OK, this is one of my favorite songs of 2009, "Cariñito" by Los Hijos del Sol. This is Peruvian "chicha" (a Peruvian take on cumbia), which I - like many others - discovered thanks to Barbes Records' collection "The Roots of Chicha."

Now I want to take you back in time a little, to listen to some really old school cumbias. These can give you a better idea of where cumbia has come from.

First up, the master - the renowned King of Cumbia - the Colombian Andrés Landero, with "Cumbia India."

Here is another from Colombia, Pedro Laza y sus Pelayeros, "Cumbia del Monte."

And one more old one, "Ritmo de Tambor," performed by La Sonora Dinamita (composed by Bernardo Saldarriaga)

OK, one more old one, then we move on to the newer cumbia: "Para Elisa" by Los Destellos (off the same Roots of Chicha album)

On to the new!

The old was centered in Colombia. Through the decades, cumbia passed throughout Latin America, taking hold everywhere: Mexico, Panama, Peru, Argentina.

However, it wasn't until the past several years of activity in Argentina, especially, that cumbia was reborn, and revitalized.

It picked up steam with the appearance of "cumbia villera," a type of cumbia made popular by the band Damas Gratis, who sing about Buenos Aires street life, as in the song "Pileta de Vino"

Damas Gratis:

But the new cumbia did not completely blow up worldwide until the rise of cumbia digital, made popular by the Fader, Diplo, and countless blogs and mix tapes.

So let's listen

"Bombon Asesino" by Daleduro (Buenos Aires)

"Bosques via Temperley w/Kumbha Kethu" by Chancha Via Circuito

Argentina is the new center of cumbia - cumbia digital - and the two labels at the center of it are ZZK, and Bersa Discos (based in SF and Buenos Aires).
アルゼンチンはクンビアの新首都で、ZZKとBERSA DISCOSというレコードレーベルがこのクンビア・ディヒタールのセンターです。

I leave you with one last classic Colombian cumbia track, "Tabaco y Ron" by Rodolfo y su Tipica R7


ZZK Records (Label, free mixtapes and more, Argentina)
Bersa Discos (Label, San Francisco & Buenos Aires)
Daleduro (DJ/artist, Argentina)
Chancha Via Circuito (DJ/artist, Argentina)
Damas Gratis (cumbia, cumbia villera, Argentina)
The Fader Cumbia Feature
DJ Rupture [Jace Clayton] (Writer/artist, Brooklyn)
Sonido Martines (DJ, cumbia, cumbia rebajada, Argentina)
Barbes Records (Roots of Chicha, Brooklyn)
Cumbia con Bass (good cumbia mixtape at La Congona, cumbia blog)
Vampiros DeeJay (DJ, Bolivian in Argentina, awesome)
Lucky Kumbias (Texan/north Mexican booty-cumbia & more)
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