December 9, 2011

The Original Sound Of Cumbia

ARTIST:  various artists 
TITLE:  The Original Sound Of Cumbia: The History Of Colombian Cumbia & Porro As Told By The Phonograph, 1948-1979 
LABEL:  Soundway 
REVIEW:  DJ/musician/producer Will Holland, aka “Quantic,” is a cumbia fanatic.  With cumbia in a worldwide renaissance, he’s not the only one.  But he’s such a fanatic that he moved from to Colombia five years ago to be closer to the motherlode. In addition to his own musical projects, he’s now produced a compilation of historic cumbia recordings, many of them collected from 78 RPM discs.  Holland says flatly, “I’m no historian.  I just like records.”  But he’s selling himself short – his 55-song collection provides a great historical perspective on this malleable genre.  All the key elements of cumbia are here: the accordions (try CD 2, track 1), the African drums (1-12), the Native American gaita flute (2-6) and its successor the clarinet (2-7), the rural influence (1-26) and the sophisticated urban big bands (1-3, 1-19, 2-17).  Holland has done listeners a great service – two thumbs way, way up for one of the best compilations of this or any year.
TOP TRACKS:    CD 1 - 3    12    19    26    CD 2 - 1    6    7    17
ALSO RECOMMENDED:    CD 1 - 6    8    9    11    15    21    23    25
                                      CD 2 - 9    10    14    22    26

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