The Venezuelan band Dame Pa’ Matala is all about blending: politics and music, tradition and revolution, Venezuelan rhythms and the sounds of reggae and hip hop. They’re even too cool to have their own web site. Dame Pa’ Matala uses their music to advance the cause of peace in their home country.
Since 1999, Very Be Careful has brought audiences to their feet playing vallenato, a traditional form of music from Colombia. But VBC isn’t from Colombia…they hail from good old Los Angeles. Their accordion-based sound is a whole lot of Latin, with a good chunk of American too.
What do you get when your band is half-Dominican, half-Colombian, with an address in the Bronx? The answer: Pacha Massive’s funky mix of Latin beats, bilingual lyrics, and genres ranging from dub to electronica. Dominican-born Nova and Colombian-born Maya have had their songs featured in movies, TV shows, and video games. The duo’s name is a play on pachamama, aka Mother Earth.
Explaining Señor Coconut’s identity is no easy task. For starters, he’s got a list of pseudonyms as long as your arm. His real name is Uwe Schmidt… and if that sounds awfully Germanic for somebody going by “Señor,” well, you’re right. Born in Frankfurt, he moved to Chile in the 90s. His breakthrough album, El Baile Alemán, is a collection of Latin covers of the pioneering electronic group Kraftwerk. Go figure. His latest is called, appropriately enough, Around the World.
Imagine the tasty culinary combo of Tex-Mex in musical form, and you’ve got Los Texmaniacs. Bandleader Max Baca wails on the bajo sexto, a 12-string guitar-like instrument native to northern Mexico. Their most recent album, Borders y Bailes, snagged them a Grammy earlier this year for Best Tejano Album.
Andres Martinez and Camilo Sanabria are the duo behind Monareta, named for the Colombian street bikes. Reviewers gleefully compare them to a wide variety of artists like Sun Ra and Brian Eno, and label-mates Nortec Collective and Manu Chao. The pair split their time between Bogotá and Brooklyn.