Formed in 2013, Viento Callejero is a Los Angeles-based Urban style Cumbia group bringing a fresh approach to tropical music while stripping it down it’s rawest elements. With Cumbia making a resurgence, artists have been re-mixing and re-interpreting the Classic Cumbias in dancehalls all over the world. Viento Callejero represents the newest incarnation of the movement in Los Angeles, channeling the rhythmic and melodic pulse of Cumbia Colombiana, Son Montuno, Merengue, Reggae, Dance Hall, Funk, and Rock to create a surprising sound that’s infectious to listener’s ears, hips, and feet.
Guaguis aka Ali Gua Gua was born in Veracruz and now lives in both Mexico City and Buenos Aires. Having spearheaded and toured with various musical projects and styles such as the garage rock of Ultrasonicas, tropical punk of Kumbia Queers, and the electrocumbia of Afrodyke, Ali performs solo through the alter ego of Guaguis where she organizes and performs around the world pushing tropical rhythm in all its forms. She’s performed in cities from New York, Berlin, Amsterdam, & Vienna to Lima, Santiago, Buenos Aires & Bogotá, and for amazing events such as Santera, Nacoteque, Zizek, & Nuevos Ricos as well as alongside heroes like Sonido Del Principe, Chancha Via Circuito, Isa GT, Uproot Andy & Dengue Dengue Dengue.
Guapachosos is a cumbia ensemble reflecting Chicago’s unique global music sounds and Mexico City’s street dance party experience. Band members are experienced musicians in cumbia, rock, Afro-Colombian sound, salsa, house, merengue, and blues, amongst other genres, and their collaborative take on Cumbia Sonidera is based on heavy deep bass pounding, steady percussion, and accordion leads that whip dance floors into a frenzy. Armed with güiro, timbal, electric bass and driven by the accordion, Guapachosos infuse a performance with uniquely arranged classic cumbias and original compositions.
DJ Beto is one-half of Brooklyn-based duo iBomba, which is known for it’s high energy, tag team-fueled DJ nights that uplift crowds with a genre-blending mix of digital cumbia, future dancehall, trini-soca, kuduro, baile-funk, bhangra bass, 3ball, champeta, and juke, amongst other things. While avoiding throw-backs & middle of the road crowd-pleasers, iBomba pushes for the newest in progressive sounds from across the globe, creating what Bushwickbk.com calls “some of the most forward thinking parties in New York combining Latin and Future Club Musics”
Mike Styles is the founder of Beats of All-Nations and co-creator of Re:Fresh (Pomona), a developing independent music platform and cultural movement from the West coast with a worldwide vision. Styles has been curating eclectic events and parties on the outskirts of Los Angeles for over 10 years with a hand picked selection of abstract, nostalgic and modern sounds from local and international scenes. His unique approach to connecting music has given him opportunities to play at events ranging from Coachella (Turndown Tent, 2014) to more intimate venues from Los Angeles to Rio de Janeiro.
Carlos Rodriguez aka Charlie Glitch is a Chicago DJ & entrepreneur who infuses an experimental style into his many endeavors. Born & raised in Chicago, Charlie grew up in a musical family and went on to develop a unique knack for bringing people together and creating music incorporating House, Techno, Hip-Hop, and Latin rhythms, amongst other things. He’d like the time that he spends with his fans to be an escape from reality, a solution to all problems. A founder of Ghetto Division & Ghetto Division Records, Charlie Glitch’s widely varied productions have gained love and support from The Fader, XLR8R, Chicago Time Out and Chicago Reader.
Ricky Gutierrez aka Deejay Quality was born in Chicago in the late 80’s. Growing up in Little Village, a southside neighborhood largely run down by gangs and violence, Ricky found an escape through music. He quickly became infatuated with the music culture, especially with Chicago being the “City of House”, and his passion for the scene over the years helped him develop authentic admiration for sound production & mixing. He’s since become known for bringing ‘Quality’ to everything he touches and as a producer to both Second City and Hit’Em Up Entertainment has worked with artists such as Hex Hectic and reggaeton artist Xilef, among numerous others. In the Chicago Hip-Hop scene Quality has been a part of dozens of producer battles held in venues such as Reggie’s, The Zocalo Urbano, The Batey Urbano & Juniors, and has a number of cumbia releases out with Bay Area-based Bersa Discos.
King Hippo curates music digitally from Chicago on his website, Cuerators.com, and through live events and on the air for Lumpen Radio WLPN 105.5FM and formerly WHPK. He has organized and promoted such performances as Grammy-nominated Hiatus Kaiyote’s first concert in Chicago, and ongoing ‘Fresh Roasted’ beat-making events where producers sample live bands and/or carefully selected samples and create original productions on the fly. He has performed as a DJ in some of the city’s most respected venues such as Danny’s, Harbee Liquors and Tavern, Maria’s Packaged Goods, Rodan, the Silver Room, Sportsman’s Club and the Whistler.
SloMo is a Future Rootz beat junkie and co-conspirator with Sound Culture ((Chicago)). Native to Xicago, he produces events and shenanigans across the city with a little help from his friends. He enjoys playing music from across the globe and bringing people together.
Born and raised in Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood David Chavez (DJ Sound Culture) has always had a great affinity for world cultures and deep music. His passion for both has to a large extent laid the path in front of him for most of his life. In the DJ booth Sound Culture is a cultural chemist of sorts, exploring the world’s sounds and finding the threads that tie us all together globally. From Bhangra to Balkan Beat, African Soukous to Latin House, he knows how to navigate your auditory senses. His live mixes are both dynamic and seamlessly cohesive and whether you’re a world music enthusiast or dance floor regular, he keeps things interesting.
CaliXta VJs and DJs as part of CumbiaSazo as well as dále shine. Originally from Chicago, caliXta co-founded dále shine to explore & spin a wide variety of digital music, integrate visuals into music, and work to create a scene for ‘cyber ritmos’ in various local scenes. Her philosophy is to create and bridge spaces through an audio-visual experience from around the world that people will love. dále shine is a party series dedicated to showcasing the music of latinx america, integrating that music into the Chicago soundscape, and providing a safe space for diversity of expression.
(Cuba/Chicago/Peoples DJs Collective)
A member of Sonic Diaspora and People’s DJ Collective, Afroqbano is originally from Cuba and now living in Chicago. In Habana, he worked as a regular DJ for a number of underground house and Hip Hop clubs and produced and toured with some of the most well-known artists and ensembles in Cuba. Since moving to the United States, Afroqbano has continually expanded on his style & influence, developed his acumen as a producer/remixer, and shared stages with luminaries like Mos Def, Pete Rock, Hypnotic Brass Ensemble, Rich Medina, and La Santa Cecilia. While the Afro-Cuban and Latin rhythms of his culture are central to his sound, he embraces and merges a wide range of global & soulful music.
Itzi Nallah is CumbiaSazo’s resident DJ and faithful organizer. A member of FEX and Sonic Diaspora crews as well as Peoples DJs Collective, his focus is on global roots & bass music and creating liberation-minded dance floors.
Photos: Shazam Bangles, Kinky P & Itzi Nallah by William Camargo