March 02, 2004


Swap meets, perfect for the eternal quest for music I have never heard before.

This one was difficult, the homies manning the table where convince they had finally found the man to unload their lonely Linkin Park cd upon. 15 minutes of laughs and miscommunication later I finally walked of with a disc labeled "Huacharacas vol. 1".

Huacharacas? Google spits out a blank, but the music appears to be cumbia from Monterrey, Mexico. Cumbia is music and rhythm of black Columbia, and with unknown history it has taken root in Mexico's northern industrial capital. In 60's Monterrey the rebajada evolved, slowing down the beat via tape machine, a ghostly foreshadowing of the screwed and chopped aesthetic of contemporary Houston hip hop. The full story? Best told in "Cumbia Sobre El Rio".

The music as it hits my ears today? Bass, beautiful bass while the beats shuffle behind. I want to hear it on a sound system, the nervous system would skip a beat with the first swooshing bass kick. But a hour's worth? My ears are not quite ready, I hear only one beat, the variations hidden in a tongue I don't speak.

Those who know though, please reveal...

Posted by Abe at March 2, 2004 05:55 PM


Seems like there are a lot of interesting hybrid musics in Latin and South America. A lot of them are prefixed with Afro as well. A case in point is Afro-Peruvian music, which is incredible. I heard it for the first time on a compilation that the Rough Guide released. I believe they released a cumbia CD as well. I think they were pretty cheap, under ten dollars.

yeah Latin America is highly open to mixing. Loads of African influence, plus native, plus European in the blood. Surprising links to Asia too, and other oddities like the polka influence on a lot of Mexican stuff. Fertile grounds.

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