(Editor’s Intro: Months back, myself, Musica Del Alma’s Slim Jenkins and Super Sonido’s Sonido Franko had batted around the idea of contributing to a group blog on Latin music. That still has yet to materialize (we’re all too damn busy!) but I was able to corral the three of us together for a group summer song post. Bajar con nosotros! –O.W.)
From Slim Jenkins:
- Conjunto Cacique: Playing
From Afro Rock (Supremo/Fonobosa, 1977)
Here’s a tune you won’t hear anywhere else, and apologies up front for the obscurity of my selection. Many folks out there would elect to return to the classics to create their summertime soundscapes, and believe me, there’s nothing wrong with that at all. There’s something comforting about those familiar jams from yesteryear, but there comes a time when that stable ground of familiarity must be left behind in search of more. Having the time to explore and forge new ground is one of the beautiful things about summer, and something I try to make the most of every year.
Take the mysterious Conjunto Cacique, for example. They released music in Mexico, Colombia, and Peru (and surely elsewhere in Latin America), but their true nationality remains a mystery for many folks in the know. Just as their origin can’t be easily tied down to one country alone, the track “Playing” from their Afro Rock LP jumps between musical styles like a child at play. From Latin rock to Montuno and back again, the track illustrates how a perfect summer day should play out: unpredictable yet fruitful, spontaneous and fun.
From Sonido Franko:
- Lisandro Meza: Juventud Flaca Y Loca
From En Nueva York (Fuentes, 197x)
O-Dub asked me 3 weeks ago if I could select a quintessential summer jam. Since then Iâ€™ve been stuck thinking about Kool & The Gangâ€™s â€œSummer Madnessâ€. If I have to ponder on a summer jam, my mind instantly goes in that direction. But at least I didnâ€™t have â€œCelebrationâ€ stuck in my brain. Thank God!
Instead I opted for something that has been receiving heavy rotation lately and a song that I will probably be playing in my dj sets all summer long. Lisandro Mezaâ€™s Juventud Flaca Y Loca is my choice.
From the big band cumbia sound of Los Corraleros de Majagual to his refined solo career, accordionist Lisandro Meza was pretty much the driving force behind the evolution of the Cumbia Colombiana. But itâ€™s really Mezaâ€™s experimentation with other genres that keeps me heavily interested. The album, En Nueva York, indicates that the song is a Salsa number, but it is a far cry from Willie Colon’s â€œwall of tromboneâ€ sound of that era. It escapes the New York Fania sound we identify with. Either way, I really love whatâ€™s going on. Especially with the use of an electric guitar, it sounds more like an afro-funk track than anything else. And like I’ve said a million times in my audioblog, I love these hybrid musical genres. El Rey Sabanero is at his best when he breaks out of his traditional vallenato/cumbia mould. Both a quintessential “summer jam” and “me jam” I suppose.
Anyway, I hope you like the song and I want to wish everyone a great, safe summer. A young, skinny and crazy girl.â€¦.who doesnâ€™t want that? Enjoy!
- The Latin Brothers: Dulzura En Sol
From Buscandote (Fuentes, 197x)
I thought about going with this smoky, Hector Rivera tumbao cut but in honor of the great South American selections above, I decided to keep it in continent with one of my all-time favorite Fuentes jams – “Dulzura En Sol” (sweetness in the sun) which seemed quite apropos for the season. This song was a Â¡Boogaloo! classic at my defunct weekly and it really does remind me of the warm summer nights Will and I would spin during – the excitement and energy of this cumbia-cum-salsa cut is some top-of-the-night, blow-the-roof-off-the-house type heat.