Welcome back to Gadling’s newest weekly series on music, Round the World in 80 Sounds. Europe and North America are not the only place for great dance music these days. Increasingly music fans, DJ’s and dancers the world over are looking south of the border to the dynamic and growing electronic music scenes in countries like Mexico, Argentina and Brazil. The forward-thinking sounds coming from these countries are strongly rooted in traditions of the past, blending local folk music styles with modern instruments and techniques to create a distinctly modern hybrid. It’s an energetic, fun and authentic musical experience any curious traveler will want to check out on your next visit.
The genre of electronic music began in American cities like Detroit and Chicago in the 80’s, springing to life as the Disco scene began to fade. Ever since, the music has been a fixture in the North American and European nightlife scenes. But it’s taken longer for the music to take root in the rest of the world. Only in the last 10 years have home-grown electronic music scenes started to blossom in regions like Asia, Africa and particularly in Latin America. In Argentina, a style called Digital Cumbia has risen to the fore, while in Mexico bands like Nortec Collective infuse traditional Mexican Norteño music with modern style. Meanwhile in Brazil, a slew of artists like Gui Borrato are bringing electronic music to a growing army of fans.
Ready to open your ears to one of Latin America’s most interesting musical trends? Keep reading below…Digital Cumbia in Argentina
Call it whatever you want – Electronic Cumbia, Digital Cumbia or just plain fun – the fact remains: a steady stream of good times and great music has been broadcasting from Argentina’s capital of Buenos Aires now for several years. Centered around the city’s now-legendary Zizek Club, it’s a new musical movement based around Cumbia, a traditional South American musical style featuring strong rhythms and instruments like Claves, accordions and drums. Electronic Cumbia takes this traditional style to the next level, injecting it with synthesizers, hip-hop beats and gangster-style rhymes. Check out the video below and make sure to visit one of Zizek’s weekly parties the next time you make it to Buenos Aires.
Norteno and Mexican Techno
For Americans, Tijuana is not much more than a hedonistic border town. A place for those looking for a night of entertainment and cheap prescription drugs. But as it turns out, there’s a lot more going on south of the border these days, including a thriving music scene. A collection of DJ’s and producers call Tijuana home, tapping into Northern Mexico’s vast wealth of Norteno music for inspiration.
Norteño, a style of Mexican “polka” with lots of noisy horns and plenty of strong rhythms, has gotten a modern rework by Mexican electronic acts like Nortec Collective, who remake Norteño with a into a uniqeuly modern style. Along with Mexico City-based musician Mexican Institute of Sound, these artists are part of a growing electronic music movement based on Mexico. Check out this 2005 tribute to Tijuana by Nortec Collective:
Brazil’s Exploding Pop Scene
Of all the great music happening these days in Latin and South America, none is as dynamic as the exploding music scene in Brazil. Considering Brazil’s long and rich musical history, from Bossa Nova to Samba and Caetano Veloso, the current wave of innovation comes as no surprise.
Electro Rock bands like Cansei de Ser Sexy (CSS) have earned consistent international attention, with their catchy, danceable rock sound. In the realm of dance music, Brazilian producer and DJ Gui Boratto has been rocking the international club scene since 2007. These Brazilian electronic music innovators take their cues less from traditional Brazilian sounds, instead applying a distinct Brazilian interpretation to the global music scenes abroad in Europe, North America and beyond. Have a listen to Boratto’s 2007 single, “Beautiful Life:”