Doing what The Pogues did for traditional Irish music, these bands play Cumbia with style & verve, ferocity, modern aplomb & mix in some cool electronic elements too.
Read this article to learn about the hippest Cumbia bands, and current crop of Latin American party starters, as well as some old-school Cumbia grooves. Listen to two Cumbia Spotify playlists below — current Cumbia (with a couple of classics), and comical Cumbia covers of American pop songs. Watch cool videos showing the evolution of modern Cumbia in Colombia, and an irresistible 1970s Cumbia cover at the bottom of this page…
Watch the guy from Frente Cumbiero getting down on a new track mixing old Cumbia with new technology…
Get ready to bounce around with your air-tuba!
The Cumbia Hipsters are here to keep the party going…
Rousing Current Cumbia & Creative Cumbia Covers That Get The Party Started
Enjoy a couple more classic cuts, and some 70s Peruvian Chicha before we get into the modern psychedelic Cumbia vibe with Sonido Gallo Negro’s “Inca-A-Delic.” Sonido Gallo Negro is a band from Mexico D.F. doing its own thing with the traditional Cumbia rhythm, making distinctive modern music.
Check out the psychedelic Cumbia of Dos Santos: Anti-Beat Orquesta, a Chicago-based band that rocks the sounds of Peruvian Chicha combined with Mexican Cumbia on “El Sabotaje.” These guys play Latin dance music that shakes sweatbox dance floors with fierce energy all over Latin America & the USA. It’s honest dance music with no frills and no fear, anchored by reverb-slathered guitars, Hammond organ, and syncopated percussion.
Chile has some especially rocking Cumbia party bands, like Chico Trujillo. Play them at a party with some Chilenos and watch the place erupt.
Colombia boasts the best Cumbia movement, both modern & traditional. It is their music after all. Cumbia originated in Colombia’s Caribbean coastal region from the musical and cultural fusion of native Colombians, Africans, and the Spanish during colonial times. Then, spread all over the Andes & across Latin America.
Frente Cumbiero from Bogotá does some particularly unconventional Cumbia. Hear them on this Spotify playlist as they collaborate with Mad Professor. You get one straight space age Cumbia + a Mad Professor crazy Cumbia dub version.
Puerto Candelaria, from Medellín, is a wild band that mixes Cumbia, humor, theater & dance to expose the absurd side of Colombia.
Quantic got way into the Cumbia groove while based in Colombia. That’s him leading Los Miticos Del Ritmo as they cover Queen. And, he put together Colombian super group Ondatrópica to explore all kinds of Colombian rhythms.
1000 Watts by Quantic’s Flowering Inferno project is a remarkable record of old school Reggae and Rocksteady with a modern vibe. And, because Quantic lived a few years in Colombia, and is a big proponent of diverse Colombian music to the gringo world, there are even a couple Colombian tunes on it — including one, hot Cumbia/Reggae Dub type tune — “Macondo”.
San Lazaro, an intriguing Australian Salsa band comprised of Latino musicians living in Melbourne, give us their catchy, quirky Cumbia tune, “La Ola” — a story of a woman’s love that comes & goes like the tide.
Peruvian band, Bareto, gives us some psychedelic, modern Cumbia with the maravilloso, “Mamá Motelo,” off of their outstanding album Impredecible, which is a great record for refusing to stay in one place or genre for too long.
People everywhere dig the Cumbia groove; it’s an irresistible rhythm. I love the way Los Angeles Afro-Latin Funk band, Jungle Fire, puts its own stamp on it with “Cumbia de Sal.” It’s the only cover song on their 2017 record, Jambú, being a version of an obscure Afro-Colombian tune from the 1970s by Cumbias en Moog. It sounds as if Jungle Fire were listening to Frente Cumbiero & the new wave of Cumbia bands, and got inspired. I bet it’s fun to play live!
Mojarra Electrica is a new bad-ass Bogotá band blending Cumbia and other Colombian sounds with modern styles. Check out their albums on Spotify, and watch this phenomenal video from Music Voayager to learn more about them & the Bogotá music scene…
Baila y Goza — Funny Cumbia Covers that
will get you to shake your booty…
Cumbia Covers That Will Make You Laugh (And Shake Your Hips)
Here are some great ones. It’s a collaborative playlist, so please feel free to add more like these.
And, I learned a new word in Spanish from this. It’s my favorite word in Spanish now. Travolteando.
Apparently it was coined in Colombia in the 70s. It means to dance Afro Colombian Music with lots of style, heart & soul, ideally with a slick white suit — just like John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever. And, if you wear a cool Colombian mustache like the Travolta on the record cover below, you get extra style points for Travolteando.
The remarkable record label, VampiSoul from Spain, consistently puts out iconoclastic compilations of old Latin music, making it sound timeless & getting it out there for all the world to hear, enjoy, and love as if it were new & novel music (especially for those of us who weren’t born when it came out, or even in the countries of origin).
Their record, The Afro Sound of Colombia 2, will impress any lover of Latin music, as well as those of you with worldly, adventurous tastes & a hunger for hearing obscure, poly-rhythmic, percussive, joyful, tropical grooves. Get the album and get hip to the varied, energetic sounds of Afro Colombian Music.
Watch this video for a teaser from the album, and learn what Travolteando means…