Though cumbia originated in Colombia, it has long since found a happy home in Argentina, Mexico, and quite a few other countries in Latin America. It has even spawned regional subsets, such as cumbia villera in Argentina. Now Argentinean DJ/producer El Hijo de la Cumbia is perfecting another mutant form of the Afro-Caribbean dance music, fusing it with global electronic influences.
His stage name, which means “son of cumbia,” is pretty right on as his work thoroughly represents a new generation of DJs and producers who mix the sound of the accordion and guiro with reggae, hip-hop, and electronica. If everyone around you isn’t talking about this sound, they will be soon. The rapidly morphing music is solidifying its hold on South and Central America and steadily working its infectious way northward and across the oceans. In the US, it has champions in tireless tropical beat heads like Banana Clipz.
Of course, cumbia is already a mixture of African, Spanish, and native Caribbean elements, which may be why it seems destined for hybridization. El Hijo makes it look like destiny anyway. Watch the energetic video for “La Mara Tomaza” off El Hijo’s debut album Freestyle de Ritmos, which showcases his frenetic, yet atmospheric approach and you’ll see. It’s a style that calls to mind the inventiveness of Mexico’s Nortec Collective and suggests the ghostly swoosh of radio signals crossing paths in midair. Like the rest of his compositions, it also makes you want to get up and move.
The young DJ is building an international following. His new EP Soy El Control is getting some well-deserved attention online and he’ll be at SXSW in 2011, so even more of the world will get their ears on his Latintronic grooves. We think they’re going to like it.
Photo Courtesy of El Hijo de la Cumbia