Mosh Pits and Marimbas: Son Rompe Pera Channel Riotous Punk Energy On New Album Chimborazo

By 21 March, 2023

I never imagined I would be thrashing around in a mosh pit to the sounds of cumbia being played on a marimba, but that’s exactly what happened when Mexican cumbia punks Son Rompe Pera came to London last year. Knocks were taken as sweat-drenched limbs collided, but nobody seemed to care, swept up in the riotous energy of the band on stage. 

With the release of their new album Chimborazo, Son Rompe Pera go some way in capturing that feeling on record. It is a clear statement of intent, moving away from the more folkloric, traditional covers that comprised their 2020 debut Batuco in favour of a set of 12 original tracks embodying their ethos – that cumbia is the new punk. 

The band travelled to Colombia to record this album, settling in at the Mambo Negro studio alongside a range of collaborators including Bogotá-based rapper N.Hardem for the dub and hip-hop infused “Chico Migraña” and trio La Perla who lend their voices, gaitas and percussion to the delightfully titled “El Tamal”. There is one cover on the album, highlighting the clear reverence for Colombia as the birthplace of cumbia that runs through this record; Gustavo Rada’s “Toño y el Demonio”, a “lost Colombian gem” here featuring the accordion playing of Felipe Orjuela. 

Chimborazo is both traditional and experimental. The opening “Selva Negra” feels akin to a classic cumbia, and while the title track resembles an elegant waltz, the lead single “Chucha” is a punk-fuelled romp inspired by a dream that band member Mongo had about an alien abduction. Celebrated Chilean frontman Macha also features on the album, a nice full circle moment as the group say going to see Chico Trujillo perform in Chile was a key inspiration in encouraging them to pursue new fusions in the world of cumbia.

This is an album for the adventurous listener as much as the traditional cumbia fan. You do need to enjoy the sound of a marimba, but it’s always a joy to hear a band exploring the boundaries of tradition with such skill and appreciation. I recommend seeing them live for the full experience, but until that happens Chimborazo at least gets us some of the way there.

Chimborazo is out now on AYA Records.

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