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.