Tag Archives: Frente Cumbiero

Names You Can Trust Serves Up New Takes on Cumbia, Dub, Afrobeat, & More

Combo Lulo, Names You Can Trust

Combo Lulo by Kat Cameron

For the last 14 years, Brooklyn, NY-based record label Names You Can Trust has been bridging the sounds of Afro-Latin, disco, reggae, and future grooves. Founded in 2004 as a mixtape label by E’s E and noted NYC DJ/artist Navarro Stark (Oneman), and later evolving into a full-fledged record label with the addition of industry vet Andrew Monk (Monk One), the label is responsible not only for releasing vibrant new music to the masses, but also trailblazing new music scenes all over the world. They’ve debuted young acts from the burgeoning South American market—including Brazil, Colombia, Argentina, and Peru—and have made connections in their own home city of New York, drawing a straight line from the city’s immigrant populations to their roots from around the globe. The NYC Trust releases exemplify the New York City experience itself, giving the listener an up-close look at the local—but very global—underground music scene.

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Colombia’s Ondatrópica Contextualize the Music of the Tropics


In the last few years, tropical themes have made a comeback in pop, with everyone from The Strokes to Diplo to Mike Posner leaning toward the equator through sounds, instrumentation and even the color palettes in their music videos. Most of these references coming from the mainstream are devoid of the historical, social and political contexts of the tropics, though. A good start in that direction is the music of Ondatrópica.

Since forming in 2011, the Colombian supergroup helmed by Mario Galeano and Will Holland —known as Frente Cumbiero and Quantic, respectively— has taken an overtly political stance in re-contextualizing tropical genres, specifically those tied to Colombian folklore and popular culture. As researchers and record collectors, they’ve been slowly studying the music and artists coming out of the golden age of the Colombian recording industry (roughly through the ‘40s, ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s) and incorporating in their own music, the production techniques, instruments and artists whose contributions to the country’s musical canon have been overlooked or forgotten through the years. The result of their search was recorded in their first effort, 2012’s Ondatrópica, which featured a total of 50 musicians from different generations giving a nuanced (and delightful) contemporary update to styles like cumbia, salsa, and vallenato.

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