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PREMIÈRE: Grupo Jejeje Pay Tribute To Mexico’s Sound System Culture

By 10 May, 2019

Although many people outside Latin America may well be aware of cumbia, they may not be quite as knowledgeable of the Mexican ‘sonidero’ subculture that it spawned in the 50s, and which continues to exist to this day. The sonidero, a DJ who regularly roars shout-outs over the microphone, blasts out cumbia classics to his/her crowd of faithful followers, often at street parties or clubs in Mexican city suburbs. Some sonideros stick with the golden-age hits that please older crowds, whilst others play out synth-heavy modern offshoots such as cumbia editada. The sonidero culture has moved across the border to the US along with those who have migrated there, and now the Mexican diaspora are making their mark on the style with their mix of different influences.

This brings us to Discos Rolas, a newly formed Californian record label that “traces sonic connections within Latin America through album releases, ethnographic projects, and collaborations with artists, photographers, and musicians.” Their first release is Grupo Jejeje, a collaboration between producers Turbo Sonidero and Arrabalero, who draw on their own influences as a Chicano in San Jose, CA and an Iranian-born Londoner to reinterpret sample-based and synth-heavy cumbia editada and cumbia poblana. Their eponymous first album, which dropped last week, had a track premiered by Giles Peterson, so the duo are clearly getting off to a good start.

Sounds and Colours are pleased to be premiering the video for “Llanto del Faráon” [above], a bass-heavy tune that mishmashes samples of machine guns, sinister laughs and erotic cries together with psychedelic synths, all of which are placed over the familiar cumbia shuffle. The film-maker Dani Mutamasick, aka Sonido Confirmación, has spliced clips of cumbia dancers together and drowned them in a whirl of kaleidoscopic effects to complement this crazy beat. Dance-floor ready and full of freakiness, this is probably as weird and wonderful as cumbia gets. Have a watch for yourself.

Buy/Listen to Grupo Jejeje on Bandcamp

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