-->
Music

Andrés Landero: Yo Amanecí

You'd be hard-pressed to find a more definitive collection of classic cumbia than Yo Amanecí.


Andrés Landero

Yo Amancecí

Label: Vampisoul
US Release Date: 2016-12-09
UK Release Date: 2016-12-09

Easily one of the most identifiable forms of music to come out of Latin America, cumbia has a certain longevity that comes from its infectious spirit. It's almost impossible to sit still while listening to it, and it mixes well with a wide range of other styles, from Afrobeat to punk rock. Cumbia, a truly Caribbean art form, comes from the synthesis of the African and indigenous American cultures of Colombia. Andrés Landero has never needed to water down his cumbia; he plays it in its purest form, each song full of rich tradition. Yo Amanecí compiles 20 such songs from 1966 to 1982, and you'd be hard-pressed to find a more definitive collection of classic cumbia.

The tracks run the gamut in tone and mood. The album starts with "La Cigarrona", a fast, engaging instrumental that sounds a little like a three-minute vamp but holds its own as it leads into the dramatic "Mara del Carmen", a midtempo tune that Landero delivers with a lot of emotion and just a hint of romance. Later on, "Mercedes Elena" offers a lighter, slower alternative for relaxing on the shores of Cartagena. Along the way, the intense and the beachy mingle, giving something to sway to for any occasion.

The instrumentation is minimal and effective; Landero sings as he plays a versatile accordion, accompanied by tight percussion and a simple bassline in the back. There’s no real deviation from this formula, and his band is a solid and sturdy framework upon which Landero can build, draping his passionate poetry and lyrical agility over the structure of tradition. That tradition does not restrict him but instead shows him a path that allows him to make something fresh and personal.

With all that said, this is an album for a specific listener, one with at least some level of devotion to vintage cumbia (and preferably someone whose level of devotion is set at "die-hard"). The sound quality here is rustic, to say the least, and though there is range across the album, the differences are often subtle. That aforementioned set structure persists so strongly throughout the compilation that if you don’t like it once, you probably won’t want to hear it 20 times. This is a vibrant slice of history, no doubt, but it’s one that relies heavily on very specific instrumentation, which includes the oft-misunderstood accordion.

So, cumbia enthusiasts: the world is your oyster with this essential collection, which is strong with nostalgia and textures of the Caribbean, infused with Andrés Landero’s love of his native Colombia. This is an anthology that will wrap you in sea breezes and warm you beneath a South American sun. Landero has earned his many accolades -- multiple cities have crowned him King of Cumbia -- and his music lives on, free and rhythmic. Landero’s whole heart goes into every song he plays, and Yo Amanecí overflows with love.

7

From genre-busting electronic music to new highs in the ever-evolving R&B scene, from hip-hop and Americana to rock and pop, 2017's music scenes bestowed an embarrassment of riches upon us.


60. White Hills - Stop Mute Defeat (Thrill Jockey)

White Hills epic '80s callback Stop Mute Defeat is a determined march against encroaching imperial darkness; their eyes boring into the shadows for danger but they're aware that blinding lights can kill and distort truth. From "Overlord's" dark stomp casting nets for totalitarian warnings to "Attack Mode", which roars in with the tribal certainty that we can survive the madness if we keep our wits, the record is a true and timely win for Dave W. and Ego Sensation. Martin Bisi and the poster band's mysterious but relevant cool make a great team and deliver one of their least psych yet most mind destroying records to date. Much like the first time you heard Joy Division or early Pigface, for example, you'll experience being startled at first before becoming addicted to the band's unique microcosm of dystopia that is simultaneously corrupting and seducing your ears. - Morgan Y. Evans

Keep reading... Show less
Music

The Best Country Music of 2017

still from Midland "Drinkin' Problem" video

There are many fine country musicians making music that is relevant and affecting in these troubled times. Here are ten of our favorites.

Year to year, country music as a genre sometimes seems to roll on without paying that much attention to what's going on in the world (with the exception of bro-country singers trying to adopt the latest hip-hop slang). That can feel like a problem in a year when 58 people are killed and 546 are injured by gun violence at a country-music concert – a public-relations issue for a genre that sees many of its stars outright celebrating the NRA. Then again, these days mainstream country stars don't seem to do all that well when they try to pivot quickly to comment on current events – take Keith Urban's muddled-at-best 2017 single "Female", as but one easy example.

Keep reading... Show less

Scholar Judith May Fathallah's work blurs lines between author and ethnographer, fan experiences and genre TV storytelling.

In Fanfiction and the Author: How Fanfic Changes Popular Culture Texts, author Judith May Fathallah investigates the progressive intersections between popular culture and fan studies, expanding scholarly discourse concerning how contemporary blurred lines between texts and audiences result in evolving mediated practices.

Keep reading... Show less
8
Music

Wadada Leo Smith: Najwa

Photo: Jori Grönroos (Courtesy of TUM Records)

Wadada Leo Smith mixes it up with a psychedelic group of electric power that remains spare: four electric guitars, Bill Laswell's electric bass, drums, and percussion. It sounds like a party and a whisper in alternation.

At this point, the long arc of fascinating music from trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith can't be summarized at the top of a review. He goes back to the early days of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians, he has been both a student and a contemporary of masters such as Anthony Braxton, Henry Threadgill, and Muhal Richard Abrams, and he has continued to be a vital creative force to this very day. He is entering his late 70s and shows not signs of slowing down.

Keep reading... Show less
7

Kuinka appeal to ornery Renaissance royalty with a joyous song in their infectiously fun new music video.

With the release of Americana band Kuinka's Stay Up Late EP earlier this year, the quartet took creative steps forward to deftly expand their sound into folk-pop territory. Riding in on the trend of moves made by bands like the Head and the Heart and the National Parks in recent years, they've traded in their raw roots sound for a bit more pop polish. Kuinka has kept the same singalong, celebratory vibe that they've been toting all this time, but there was a fork in the sonic highway that they boldly took this go-around. In this writer's opinion, they succeeded in once again captivating their audience, just in a respectably newfound way.

Keep reading... Show less
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 Popmatters.com. All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.

rating-image