According to its members, the name Buyepongo means “to cause a ruckus” – which certainly describes the scene on the dance floors of Los Angeles whenever the band launches into its dizzyingly energetic, instantly infectious cumbia rhythms. But it also describes Buyepongo’s riotous mash-up of influences, which absorbs hip-hop, punk, funk, and jazz sounds into a delirious tropical blend of styles from across the Latinx American diaspora. Like its name, the band is part hybrid, part invention, something untranslatable that nevertheless perfectly captures its uniquely vibrant spirit.
NAAFI (Lao + Mexican Jihad)
Mexico City-based left-field electronic label NAAFI—their name stands for No Ambition And Fuck-all Interest—got its start as a bi-monthly party in 2010. It offered an antithesis to the city’s strict, stiff conventional club scene by highlighting “ritmos periféricos,” or outsider rhythms: intense, hard-hitting, and distinctly Latinx electronic music. In the years since, they’ve evolved into something much more immersive. – Fader Magazine
Representing the crew will be Lao + Mexican Jihad. Having been involved in electronic music since 2011 and a self-taught DJ/producer since 2001, Lao works with classical frequencies that intertwine with more local sounds to create danceable pieces of avant-garde which help shape its identity. His sees his job as not only important in terms of purpose and experimentation; his labor seeks to open a space, create community and support talent. Alberto Bustamante a.k.a Mexican Jihad is originally from Oaxaca and as an architect and promoter, his job mixes special design, situational construction, collaborative networks, and visual communication. Bustamante oversees the creative direction of NAAFI in addition to his music production & performances as Mexican Jihad.
“N.A.A.F.I is a collective, a family, a group of friends,” explains Chilean producer Paul Marmota, who lives in Mexico and creates delirious electronic music that blends reggaeton, house, and folkloric instrumentation. “We created a space for our styles that wasn’t there before…”
Ricky Guapo is the direct product of an entire life steeped in a Latino Angeleno’s natural cultural duality. His Father raised in San Francisco, his mother raised in Mexico, both Mexican, raised him in the Pico Union section of Los Angeles, a nexus of almost every South and Latin American culture there is. Growing up in these different communities sonically informed his aesthetic and his musical frame of reference.
Beginning his musical career as a DJ with a deep passion for all the different flavors that Latin or Spanish pop had to offer, he created the weekly Latin Indie dance party Mucho Wednesdays, where he and the Mucho Music DJ crew hosted a wide variety of the up and coming luminaries of today’s Latin Indie Pop scene. Having had produced hundreds of shows, festivals and concerts, helping these artists ended up being the catalyst for him to begin creating his own music.
“I wanted to create a safe space for all of these talented Latino visionaries from all over the world who were creating DIY music outside of the conventional American music scene. Helping them turned out to be this huge blessing for me. I got a front row seat to watch these bands play shows in what felt like my living room (La Cita Bar) for years. That is how I got my education as a musician and a producer.”
Amara Betty Martin aka Rebel Betty is a DJ, Visual Artist and Organizer from Chicago. Her work focuses on preserving cultural and community engagement, activism and education. She began DJing with Que Horas Son? and has since played Cumbiasazo, Quennect 4, Basement Boogie, Beat Swap Meet, Mole de Mayo, Deja Vu, Mexico City and more. Her musical focus is on Afro-Latino and African roots music including Afro-Columbian cumbia, guaracha, bomba, electro-cumbias of the 90s, salsa clasica as well as experimental and space sounds. Natural drum beats, cowbell and timbal are staple markers for her musical sets. Rebel Betty stresses the importance of promoting dance and music as a spiritual liberator, healer and ancestral community bonding experience.
Amado Albiter AKA Cosmic Samurai of Ghetto Division is a Chicago native. Cosmic dwells more in the triphop and performance state of being, while Samurai is the mixing and blending aspects of Djing. Heavily influenced by Tribal House and Spanish House, from Afrobeats to Samba, from Minimal Tech to Classics. Seeping more and more into Deep House, Cosmic has evolved consciously. Every song is specifically picked to feel some type of emotion, either behind the vocals or the beat, all in a purpose to create an emotional awakening, a rapture.
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.
DJ Set + Live Visuals
caliXta DJs and VJs as an independent freelancer and as part of Chicago’s CumbiaSazo crew. Since 2012, caliXta has been honing her craft and realizing a vision of creating respectful and healing dancefloors. Although originally from Chicago, a lot of her formation & scheming around liberation and revolutionary partying started in DC from kickbacks with friends and the Maracuyeah & Anthology of Booty queer femme parties. Upon returning to Chicago in 2011, she felt like similar soul-elevating club spaces with beautiful and enriching music weren’t common and set out to co-found dále shine to help create a scene for a deep & nuanced variety of digital Latinx music. In 2013, she joined the CumbiaSazo crew and found kindred spirits with which she could continue building communal spaces through art and music. Along her journey as an artist, caliXta has been fortunate to work with many talented artists, collectives, and organizations who continue to shape her visions and dreams.
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 as the evening’s MC.
Itzi Nallah x Tifflove
Itzi Nallah and Tifflove are the co-founders of CumbiaSazo, Chicago’s largest and one of the US’ most expansive cumbia + global bass parties. Together they aim to support dance spaces & communities that are diverse & compassionate and as a DJ and MC offer performances that are life-affirming and fun. Itzi Nallah has worked previously with FEX, Sonic Diaspora and Peoples DJs Collective and a recent tour with CumbiaSazo saw Itzi Nallah + Tifflove work dance floors throughout the midwest, southwest & west coast. Show highlights include creating spaces and sharing stages with acts ranging from Ozomatli, Rich Medina, Nickodemus and A Tribe Called Red to Pete Rock, Javier Estrada, El Dusty and Haitus Kaiyote.