Music Lineup: CumbiaSazo ft. Maria y Jose, B-Side Players & Riobamba [9/27/14]


Maria y Jose

(Tijuana, Mexico)

María y José is the project of Antonio Jimenez, a humble kid born in Leon Guanajuato (Mexico) but whose legal documents trace him back to San Juan de Los Lagos, Jalisco. But let’s not get confused, he is a son of Tijuana, and although it always comes up as a cliché, that’s something special. Jimenez, who had previously released material under Unsexy Nerd Ponies, takes on a much more interesting project, one that truly displays his passion and character. He employs the vernacular like few people in pop, transposing it to narrative and visual flare. Not so bad for an adolescent mind-set using Audacity and Fruity Loops in his search for holy beats and tribal soundscape.



B-Side Players

(San Diego)

The B-Side Players have been laying down their own inimitable latin global funk since they came together in 1994. Their incendiary live shows have defined them as California favorites with 10 San Diego Music Awards. Meanwhile their albums showcase a band with restless musical intelligence, effortlessly blending genres to fashion their own forward looking, latin flavored soul music. As a nine piece band, the players are known for igniting crowds with their fierce rhythms and uplifting message of unity and consciousness. Meanwhile always keeping their focus on the political climate of the world and nation. The B-Side Players are a living and breathing cultural art experience for the mind body and soul.





Riobamba got her start as part of Boston’s DJ duo Pajaritos, founders of award-winning transnational bass party Picó Picante. She believes that music can both reinforce cultural identity and blur traditional boundaries, and as a DJ, event-maker and community organizer works to collaborate with forward-thinking artists to create safe, inclusive spaces. Inspired by her hybrid Ecuadorian-Lithuanian roots, worldwide digital dialogue and bodega soundtracks, she’s brought her dynamic mix of transnational beats, Andean folk culture, Caribbean riddims and regional party anthems to crowds in the US, Mexico and Colombia. Recently, she’s relocated to Bogotá, Colombia to immerse herself in research funded by the Fullbright-mtvU program, investigating instances of new levels of artistic agency and self-representation for musicians powered by low-barrier, democratized access to digital music production tools and distribution networks.





I would go so far as to say (((Sonorama))) are the cumbia dons in these parts. They are DJs, vinyl lovers, lifelong students of good music, and children of the drum and groove in all its expressions who share a desire to shine light on the sonic treats that for one reason or another have been forgotten or simply haven’t gotten their due credit. They are music anthropologists interested in discovering and exploring the roots of contemporary music. Without a doubt (((Sonorama))) are some of our and Chicago’s favorite DJs.



Puerko Pitzotl

(Mexico City/West Chicago, Reggae, Dub y Cumbia Party)

Influenced by sonideros in his native Azcapotzalco, Mexico City, Puerko Pitzotl brings a unique mix of African, Latin, Roots, Reggae, Dub, Dancehall and Ska beats, enhanced by indigenous cultural elements, to deliver an unmatched music experience for all. In addition to DJ’ing and making new music, Puerko Pitzotl performs as a percussionist with diverse groups, such as LVDP Sound System, ESSO!, DoumSound, Ecos Del Pacifico and Peachtree.



DJ Newlife

FEX co-founder & resident, DJ Newlife was born and bred in Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood. As the 
son of a musician/vocalist and an artist, he has 
always been described as someone who never fell into 
the modes of traditional thought. This carries over 
into his diverse brand of music and the styles of 
beats that just seem to choose themselves while he’s 
on the decks.



DJ Dime

DJ Dime hails from Peoples DJs Collective, which is a crew of DJs supporting, empowering, learning with each other & community, guided by love & values of social justice. Supporting genres, communities & causes at the margins & music without borders, each of the Peoples DJs brings a unique translation of the intersection of dance & liberation.

In her words, “DJing to me its about sharing good conscience music from all over the world that some of us are not exposed to often. I mix a lot of old new classics underground music from all types of genres especially Soulful House, Underground Hip-Hop and Cumbias!”




(Cuba/Chicago/Que Horas Son/Sonic Diaspora)

A member of the Sonic Diaspora, Que Horas Son, 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, he has continued to expand his style and his musical influence. While the Afro-Cuban and Latin rhythms of his culture are central to his sound, he embraces and merges a wide range of global music.



Logan Lu


So we had a hard time finding a bio on Luis Tubens (aka Logan Lu) but he’s just that kind of guy– humble, behind the scenes, and focused on shining the light on others whether from a stage or in his work with the community. We’re so excited for Luis to be welcoming you all to the space and blessing the CumbiaSazo mic.



Zeke Ruvalcaba

(Dancer/instructor, Mexico/Chicago)

Zeke Ruvalcaba is a Mexican-born, Chicago-based Latin dance instructor, performer and choreographer known for his energetic teaching style and creative approaches. His skills as an instructor and performer have made him a frequent invitee to a number of salsa and bachata festivals across continental United States (e.g. New York, Miami, Washington D.C., Los Angeles) and beyond (Hawaii, Mexico, the Bahamas). Zeke began dance-related travel about six years ago, not long after forming his first dance company, Estilo. With them, he traveled to the first ever Dallas Salsa Congress, and more trips followed. We’re so excited that Zeke will be offering a basic cumbia dance lesson at our next party (8-9pm) for those interested.



Sound Culture

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.

Accolades for the CumbiaSazo resident include: Twice featured DJ at World Music Festival Chicago – the longest running world music festival in the country, featured world music DJ at Folk and Roots Festival Chicago 2011, featured DJ at Nomadic World Music Festival 2010, voted favorite DJ by CHIRemezcla representing Chicago’s cutting edge latin music scene for the national En Tu Cuidad MySpace Latino campaign.



Itzi Nallah

Itzi Nallah is CumbiaSazo’s other resident DJ and our 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.


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(Photos: Newlife, Logan Lu & Sound Culture by Lucio Villa, Afroqbano by Carolina Sanchez, Itzi Nallah by Nia Photo)