‘C’ is for Cumbia – Old School & New

‘C’ in the A-Z of Music Genres, Beaver Style (ie. ‘fusion’) goes to Cumbia – old school and new.

Older (But Still ‘New’) School Cumbia

In its original form Cumbia music developed around the Caribbean coast of Colombia during its period of colonization by the Spanish.  It became a fusion of music styles and instruments from the indigenous Colombian peoples of that region (the colonized), the Spanish (invading colonists) and African slaves bought to Colombia by those colonists to work.

A tragic history for Africans and Colombians yes…which brought about the awesome sounds of Cumbia that have since spread throughout the world and morphed into its many different forms.

 Cumbia Colombia

Here you can sample some older (but still ‘new’) school Colombian cumbia songs.  They’re the oldest I have in my collection anyway – cumbia goes way back a long, long time before this…

La Cumbia Colombiana - CD 2

La Cumbia Colombiana

‘La Zenaida’ – Armando Hernández – La Cumbia Colombiana


‘Yo Me Llamo Cumbia’ – La Integracion – La Cumbia Colombiana


New School Cumbia

Cumbia has come a long way since its origins.

Throughout history countless artists from around the world have taken cumbia and mixed it with their own regional music styles and/or modern ones like hip-hop, electro and jazz to create new and unique forms of music.

Here you can feast on the sounds of the newer school of cumbia music. Check out these sample (mp3 only) tracks by 10 current artists whose music I know and love from the USAFrance, England and of course Colombia.

Toto La Momposina (Colombia)

To my ears Toto La Momposina is the Queen of Contemporary Cumbia. She’s also on my ‘Live Music Experience Bucket List’.

Hailing from Talaigua Nuevo, a town in Northern Colombia, Toto La Momposina’s music draws heavily on traditional cumbia music and dance (amongst other Latin music styles like Cuban son, bullerengue, chalupa, rumba and guaracha).

Her music is celebrated in Colombia, the rest of Latin America and the wider world through which she has toured extensively in her long career.

Check out some sample tracks from some of Toto La Momposina’s albums, including her version of one of the older school sample tracks above…

Toto la Momposina - La Bodega (2009)

La Bodega (2009) – Toto La Momposina

‘Yo Me Llamo Cumbia’ – La Bodega (2009) – Toto La Momposina


‘Manita Uribe’ – La Bodega (2009) – Toto La Momposina


Carmelina (1995) - Toto la Momposina

 Carmelina (1995) – Toto La Momposina

‘La Sombra Negra’ – Carmelina (1995) – Toto La Momposina


La Candela Viva (1993) - Toto la Momposina

La Candela Viva (1993) – Toto La Momposina

‘El Pescador’ – La Candela Viva (1993) – Toto La Momposina


Ondatrópica (Colombia/England/Chile/ Peru+)

Ondatrópica - Ondatrópica (2012)

Ondatrópica (2012) – Ondatrópica

‘Cumbia Espacial’ – Ondatrópica (2012) – Ondatrópica


Read more about Ondatrópica and hear more Ondatrópica sample tracks here.



Bomba Estereo (Colombia)

Bomba Estereo - Elegancia Tropical (2012)

Elegancia Tropical (2012) – Bomba Estereo

‘Bailar Conmigo’ – Elegancia Tropical (2012) – Bomba Estereo


Kartel Pacifico (Colombia)

Coctel (2012) - Kartel Pacifico

Coctel (2012) – Kartel Pacifico

‘Care Cumbia’ – Coctel (2012) – Kartel Pacifico


Puerto Candelaria (Colombia)

Cumbia Rebelde (2011) - Puerto Candelaria

Cumbia Rebelde (2011) – Puerto Candelaria

‘Cumbia Veracruz’ – Cumbia Rebelde (2011) – Puerto Candelaria


Here you can check out more sample Puerto Candelaria tracks and a video of a live Puerto Candelaria show in Medellin last year.


Papaya Republik (Colombia)

Vol. 1 - Papaya Republik

Vol. 1 (2010) – Papaya Republik

´Cumbia Del Pescaito´ – Vol 1 (2010) – Papaya Republik


Read more about Papaya Republik & listen to other Papaya Republik tracks here.

Papaya Republik live

Papaya Republik


Monareta (Colombia)

Monareta - Fried Speakers (2010)

Fried Speakers (2010) – Monareta

‘Cumbia de la Sierra’ – Fried Speakers (2010) – Monareta


The Quantic Soul Orchestra

(aka Will Holland – England – + his global music collaborators)

Tropidelico - The Quantic Soul Orchestra - Tropidelico

Tropidelico (2007) – The Quantic Soul Orchestra

‘Los Olvidados’ – Tropidelico (2007) – The Quantic Soul Orchestra


Check out more sample tracks from The Quantic Soul Orchestra + other Will Holland albums here.

You can also find these Quantic cumbia fusion albums


Here you can also check out a video of a DJ set by Will Holland (aka Quantic) at WOMADelaide Festival 2014

Sergent Garcia (France)

Mascaras (2006) - Sergent Garcia

Mascaras (2006) – Sergent Garcia

‘Yo Me Yoy Pa’ La Cumbia’ – Mascaras (2006) – Sergent Garcia


Hear more sample tracks from Mascaras + Sergent Garcia’s other albums here.



Ozomatli (USA)

Ozomatli (1998) - Ozomatli

Ozomatli (1998) – Ozomatli

‘Cumbia De Los Muertos’ – Ozomatli (1998) – Ozomatli


Cumbia certainly has made an incredibly profound musical mark all through Latin America and the rest of our big wide world.

I love cumbia in all its many diverse forms, old school and new.  Don’t you?

I Love Cumbia


‘C’ is for Chutney & More

Along with Cumbia, ‘C’ is for so many other music genres from around the world, fusion Beaver style.  Here are a few of the ones I like the sound of…

Candombe – fusion of African and Uruguayan styles developed by African-Uruguayan slaves in the 19th century.

Chicken scratch – fusion of Native American, White American, Mexican, and European styles, performed by the Native American Tohono O’odham people.

Chutney – Caribbean pop music that fuses calypso and cadence with several Indian styles.

Conjunto – fusion of Mexican and German styles developed by Mexican-Americans who had bought German instruments in Texas; it also introduced elements of Caribbean and Cuban music.

Crunk – fusion of hip hop and EDM, known for its heavy basslines and shouted, call-and-response vocals; often used incorrectly as an umbrella term for Southern hip hop.

Crunk&B – fusion of crunk and contemporary R&B.

Crunkcore – fusion of crunk and scream.

Anyone got some Chutney or Candombe music to share?  

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Zalama Crew: DJ Cronic Interview on La Melodia & More

La Melodia

The Melody transcends the border of musical genres and transforms into the concept with which we express our originality, feelings, thoughts, and most importantly: how we cope with everyday life.

La Melodia (The Melody) is what Cali’s fusion music & visual collective Zalama Crew call their sounds. Sounds right up my alley doesn’t it?  It is. The live Zalama Crew show I found in Medellin was fantastic. I discovered their new EP Everyday Fight is equally as great.

DJ Cronic was generous enough to fill me in more on Zalama Crew’s history & different musical projects. Here’s what he shared with me…

Zalama Crew logo

In the beginning

Zalama CrewQ: Zalama Crew is a musical and visual collective of 10 artists in your 6th year together. How did a collective of 9 chicos and 1 chica come together in Cali to make fusion music?

A: Everything started with VJ Paul Dub, DJ Cloon and DJ Cronic founding a space with a rehearsal room and recording studio for alternative and folklore bands in Cali called Zalama Producciones. In this time singers and musicians came to record and hang out in our space so we started to make jams sessions and suddenly we put together what’s called Zalama Crew.

Frank (Guitar) and Ana (Flute/Sax) come from jazz and folkloreBilly (Bass) comes from punkAlvaro (Drums) comes from reggae and the 4 MC’s from hip hop and reggae/dancehall.

Zalama Crew-Live-La Feria de las Flores-2013-www.beaveronthebeats.com

The Evolution

Q: Tell me about the about the musical evolution of Zalama Crew over the years.

A: Well, we started as a sound system group with the DJ and MCs and then we added the band.  We’ve experimented with how to blend those elements to make a strong and powerful sound that we called La Melodia Music. We’ve learned to live and know each other personally, so we are more connected now and our music reflects that with a more mature and clear sound – knowing that we have to improve even more every time we rehearse and perform.

Zalama Crew live @ la Negra Noche - la Feria de las Flores 2013- www.beaveronthebeats.com

Urban World Music Lovers

Q: Zalama Crew describes yourself as ‘urban world music lovers’. Which artists inside and outside of Colombia have inspired and influenced you?

A: We’ve been influenced by The Roots, Thievery Corporation, Bob Marley, Massive Attack, Gorillaz, Sidestepper, Pink floyd, Asilo 38, Orishas, James Brown, The Commodores, Ruben Blades, Ismael Rivera and many others.

Zalama Crew-Live-La Feria de las Flores-2013-www.beaveronthebeats.com

The Live Experience

Q: What experience are Zalama Crew and the people at your live shows likely to have?

A: It’s pretty nice and that’s what we like the most, because we get in touch with the people and their feelings so close, through dancing moves and visuals, trying to show and exchange our identity making the people part of it. [it’s pretty nice…Beaver]

Visual Arts

Q: VJ Paul Dub is a part of the Zalama Crew collective. What do you think having visual art adds to the live Zalama Crew experience?

A: The VJ and the visuals complement and step up the concept of Zalama Crew, driving the people to assimilate and picture what the music says, showing some context of where we are inspired from.

Zalama Crew @ La Negra Noche - Parque Cultural Nocturno - La Feria de las Flores - Medellin 2013 - Beaver on the Beats

Zalama Producciones

Q: Zalama Producciones is the Papa Bear of Zalama Crew.  I’ve heard positive things about the support its given to other independent artists in Cali.  Tell me about Zalama Producciones and its mission?

Zalama Producciones - Zalama Crew

A: We try to support other artists with music production and videos, events, workshops and practical tips. We created an event called ‘Escucha y Rota’ where we invite other artists from a zone or part of the city to make music and video workshops, finishing with a concert with musicians from the zone.

Q: Any interesting Zalama Producciones projects you want to share?

A: We’ve worked with MC RimasAeropirataColombian Gangsters and Rio Burning.

Fusion Music in Cali & Colombia

Q: Tell me about what’s happening in the contemporary music scene in Cali, especially in fusion music?

A: The scene is in a very important moment. It’s like a new revival of culture and the appropriation of identity of our country and city. There are many bands creating music with the influences and research of our Colombian roots mashed up with contemporary sounds coming from different latitudes of the world. It’s the desire of making our traditional music more universal and letting other artists resigning the music with different styles.

Q: Is there a growing receptiveness of Colombians in Cali & elsewhere to urban world music Caleno with its mix of mostly non-traditional Colombian genres like hip-hop, reggae, soul & drum & bass?

A: Yes, this is the moment that people are tired of listening to the same rhythms and music, and want to hear something different. Thanks to social networks and the internet it’s easy to listen to different bands and artists from all over. At the same time it’s important to create a stamp to differentiate from each other and people also have many options depending on the taste.

Zalama Crew-Live-La Feria de las Flores-2013-www.beaveronthebeats.com

Sergent Garcia

Q: Sergent Garcia is probably my favorite male artist creating Latin fusion music. How was it that Zalama Crew came to record the song Calentura Mi Son with him?

A: We played at a showcase in the Medellin music market ‘Circulart’ in 2011.  Sergent was the artist to close the event and he watched us play. After it he came to us and met the band. Later in February of 2012 he got in touch with us to say he wanted to do an artistic residence with us. We didn’t know what it was and then he came to Cali and hung out with us for 15 days.  In that time we learned tricks and advices, recorded 2 songs and made a videoclip here in our Cali streets. We were so excited for all that we learned from him.

Zalama Crew & Sergent Garcia

Photo courtesy of www.cumbancha.com

Q: What did you take from your experience of working with Sergent Garcia?

A: He taught us some practical tricks and professional techniques to get a better show and performance, interaction with the audience and about humbleness and professionalism.

The result of this was the recording of 2 tracks and the videoclip of the song Calentura Mi Son. Thanks to him for the vibe and for being so humble and professional.  We are still talking and keeping in touch with him when he comes to visit Colombia.

Que Mas?

Zalama Crew - Everyday Fight - EP cover - www.beaveronthebeats.com

Q: The EP Everyday Fight has just been released. You’ve toured it a bit in Colombian cities recently. What’s next for Zalama Crew?

A: We are working on going to Mexico, Spain, Argentina and Chile in 2014.

We also just published our work with legendary masters of San Andres Orange Hill, a traditional calypso and soca group from the Colombian Caribbean islands. We recorded 1 song called Jumping to Jumping where we mixed the traditional calypso with the Zalama Style. Here is the link where you can watch it and download it for free. I hope everybody likes it.

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Sergent Garcia – Beaver’s #1 Male World Fusion Music Artist

Like me, Sergent Garcia has a long standing love affair with Caribbean and Latin music styles. He has combined many of those styles to create some of the world’s coolest fusion music.

Not surprisingly then, Sergent Garcia is my Numero Uno contemporary male fusion music artist.

Sergent Garcia

This is ‘Fusion Music’

From the time of Beaver’s birth I should have just used Sergent Garcia’s music to demonstrate how Beaver on the Beats would define fusion music:

…Music with a distinct blend of different musical flavors from different musical styles/genres, creating a delicious, interesting and unique musical meal.

The Musical Meal 

Deliciously diverse!

Listen to all his albums and you will be amazed at how many different genres of music you’ll find mixed together. More than any other artist I can think of right now.

Styles I love – salsa, cumbia, hip-hop, raggamuffin, reggae, scratching, flamenco, jazz, dub, Afro-Cuban. Some styles I like a bit of (meringue & dancehall).

Sergent Garcia

The Cooking 

Good fusion music is so much about the blend I recently decided. Sergent Garcia has mastered the quality and innovative blending together of many different musical styles …

…to create really great, really unique songs.

…played with fantastic musicianship.

…with delicious horn lines throughout!

Enjoy the Feast

Listen yourself. But remember MP3 versions are crap sound quality. You’ll find all the musical sounds on the original Sergent Garcia albums. They are easy to buy from just about anywhere you are in the world.

Una y Otra Vez

Una y Otra Vez (2011)

Yo Soy Salsamuffin

Memi Si

Mascaras (2006)

Mascaras (2006)

Toi Tu Es La Bas

Non Words

Sin Fronteras (2001)

Sin Fronteras (2001)


Je Sais

Un Poquito Quema'o (1999)

Un Poquito Quema’o (1999)

Amor Pa’ Mi

Acabar Mal



I’m sure you can hear the many musical reasons why this artist is my numero uno contemporary male fusion artist? Oui? Si? Yes.

Bienvenue France

Born in France, Sergent Garcia starts the Beaver on the Beats ‘France’ category. Bienvenue France!

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