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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