It’s the last Bandcamp Friday of 2022, and what a perfect opportunity to support independent musicians, DJs, producers, and labels while also adding to your holiday playlists and picking up some gifts!
This month’s picks range from Latin post-punk to Venezuelan salsa, from worldtronica to Afro-Portuguese fusions, and from doombia to experimental electronica.
Moncho y Su Banda
Inspired by the music he heard on the radio at home as a young boy, Venezuela native Ramón Urbina became a multi-instrumentalist at the age of 15. His curiosity led him to seek an understanding of the arrangements of the Latin jazz and tropical music compositions he heard.
He eventually formed his first group, Ramón y Su Banda Latina, in 1972. The grupo tropical toured in the ‘70s, adding cumbias, boleros, and guarachas to their repertoire.
Then, after watching a performance by La Dimensión Latina, whose multi-trombone salsa inspired him yet again, Ramón decided to form a new band, Moncho y Su Banda, and recorded what has become one of the most coveted and rare albums in Latin music.
For Bandcamp Friday, El Palmas Music is re-releasing that very album, Que Bellas Son.
The Barcelona-based label has released more than 120 albums recorded by musicians, producers, and DJs from across Latin America who dig into fusions like Andean electronic, worldtronica, rub-a-dumbia, ethno-techno and so much more.
This special release is an excellent introduction to the label.
African musician Kimi Djabaté just released several singles from his upcoming album, Din Din (February 2023, via Cumbancha). In it, Djabaté shares his perspective on human connection through love, communication, and his music which brings together Afrobeat, blues, and traditional Afro-Portuguese rhythms, with bits of Latin rhythms.
Ivan el Satánico
He just released two tracks, “Ritual de Belzebu” and “B.A.A.L.,” as a preview of his five-track EP due later this month, which he has creatively named, Ivan EP. Ha!
The Braided Janes
Latin rock trio Las Juanas Trenzudas traveled from Chicago to Sonido Selva in Colombia to record their upcoming album, Renacer. The Janes wanted Christian Castagno (known for his work with Bomba Estéreo, Iggy Pop, and Arcade Fire) to help produce this new set of songs, which they describe as “a genre-bending, Latin roots album braiding a new wave of sounds into the eclectic, musical syntax that is The Braided Janes.”
Although the album debuts in 2023, you can listen to a preview through their new tropi-alt-rock single, “Mi Canto.”
José Javier Castro
We will never get enough of indie label Buh Records from Peru because they continue to unearth amazing experimental music from the Andes while re-releasing music left behind by Peruvian artists.
In this case, for example, the label is releasing a unique sound tribute composed by José Javier Castro, who was known for his rock group El Aire in the ‘80s, but who also delved into experimental electronica and sound installations in the ‘90s, on his own.
Castro created this sound piece titled Melodía a Gianni Toti en dos partes, inspired by Italian artist Gianni Toti, the inventor of poetronica.
There is a limited edition of only 250 copies.
Let’s just call it Latin-inspired booty music…
That’s what I think when I see a new release by Granada label Caballito Netlabel, a purveyor of music that “reflects the heat, the joy, the roots, the desire to move your ass, the sweat, the good vibes.” The label was created by Spanish producers Bigote and Gritam who seek out unique Latin rhythms like Ivan El Satanico’s kumbia obscura, or Karennoid’s perreo, or retro-dumbia by Malefics, to name a few.
Their latest release is the EP Hechizos by Venezuelan musician and DJ Amantra, who put together what she considers Latin club music by deconstructing styles like tribal techno, reggaeton, and electronic music into something new.
So, this is quirky and cute but not necessarily something you may think of as a music collection—yet it totally is. There is a television network in Chile, NTV, that specializes in cultural content for children and adolescents. One of their programs is “Oye, ¿Vamos al Taller?”—“Hey, Are We Going to the Workshop?”—and each episode features visits to different types of art studios.
Chilean graphic designer and music composer Anibal Bley created the electronic music and sounds that accompany these episodes, and it is now available as a full album, Oye, ¿Vamos al Taller? (Banda Sonora Original), via indie label Hacele.
I mean, come on, this is awesome!
Conjunto Media Luna
Colombian group Conjunto Media Luna, who specialize in cumbia sabanera bogotana, rebajadas, lo-fi, and doombia, just dropped two new singles via the Bogotá label In-Correcto, which also will be released in a 7-inch vinyl by the Vienna label Little Beat More.
On these new tracks, “Baile en el infierno” and “Villa Incepción,” the group is inspired by the slower-paced cumbia sonidera communities of Monterrey, Mexico, as well as California’s low-rider cumbia styles, which they combine with their own roots sounds, amping it up with electronic elements.
Finally, some indie labels choose to provide a discount on Bandcamp Friday and the following music suppliers are slashing prices on music and merch…
Featured image: Lisbon-based Bissau-Guinean Afro-beat/blues musician Kimi Djabaté