Deadsplinter Up! All Night: Strange Obsession

I don’t understand Spanish but love many artists that come from Spanish speaking countries.  One of those strange musical obsessions is with Columbian Cumbia Electronica.  It started long ago the first time I ever heard the band Sidestepper.  It put me in a dance trance like nothing before. Cumbia in Columbia came from the cultural mix of the Africans brought during slavery and the indigenous people.   It is a mix of African and salsa rhythms with traditional Columbian flutes and other instruments.   Sidestepper was one of the first bands that took it to another level and mixed it with dub and electronica.  I had to find out more about this artist and hear more similar artists.  The founder of Sidestepper is Richard Blair, a DJ/Producer that had worked for years with Peter Gabriel. He went to Colombia and fell in love with the people, culture and music.  He had intended to just visit for a few weeks but ended up staying for three years and becoming a huge influence on the evolution of the genre. This Sidestepper song has a very African vibe but they are all over the place with their music.

Systema Solar’s interpretation incorporated rap and hip hop and they have become a force in the genre.

La Mojarra Electrica mixes a little hip-hop & reggae into their version of Cumbia Electronica.

Bomba Estereo has such a unique sound, I fell in love with the voice, stage presence and passion of the lead singer Li Saumet with the great guitar work of Simon Mejia.  I got see them live and meet Li at a KEXP sponsored concert.

Colectro is probably the most rock & roll of the genre, the guitarist and two bassists are fantastic!

If you would like to learn more, a few great documentaries are out there.  This short one is a great place to start -Que Pasa Columbia

Thank you for your continued support of Deadsplinter!



  1. I’ve been listening to a lot of ambient stuff lately. I wouldn’t call it a full on obsession but…close enough to meet the theme I think.

    Eraldo Bernocchi – Don’t Go Where I Can’t Find You

  2. This is quite literally Finnish Black Metal:

    Mustien esirippujen tuolta puolen
    Herrani valo loistaa, ja minä tunnen sen
    Ikuisen muutoksen tuhoavana voimana
    Kaaoksen pyörteenä, mustana virtana

    Kymmenen plus yhden kuninkaan silmästä
    Kuolonmeri vuotaa tehden myrkkyä vedestä
    Tuohon virtaan eivät huku mustat sudet
    Jotka ovat nähneet äidin pimeät unet

    Rakkaudesta Saatanaan minä laulan
    Syntymästä kuolemaan kannan hänen auran
    Hänen, joka on kaksi kuin käärmeen kieli
    Samael ja Lilith, lohikäärmeen liekki

    Raivaten tietä kohti hänen kirkkautta
    Sirpillä leikaten sydän täynnä rakkautta
    Harva on joukko hänen tulestaan
    Kuoleman polulla, hänen armostaan

    Ave. Ave. Ave. Ave.

    Rakkaudesta Saatanaan minä laulan
    Syntymästä kuolemaan kannan hänen auran
    Hänen, joka on kaksi kuin käärmeen kieli
    Samael ja Lilith, lohikäärmeen liekki

    Yön pimeydessä rukoukseni ylistävät sinua
    Kaaoksen silmästä vastaat katsoen minua
    Äänesi läpäisee maailman välissämme
    Värähdellen lauluissamme, Oi Isämme


    • Okay, fine, if I’m sharing my strange Spanish pop obsession, I’ll tell this story which I rarely have any occasion to tell:

      Once upon a time I spent a year studying in Spain, which is the source of many of my obnoxious Spanish interests, but my time interning at a radio station in the suburbs of Madrid is the particular source of my soft spot for Spanish pop music. The internship was unremarkable. I didn’t speak quite well enough at the time to converse very easily, so I spent most of my time at the station tasked with updating metadata on tracks in their digital library. The high point of the whole thing was one DJ who thought I was amusing and would ask me to read news reports on the air. This was hilarious for everyone involved.

      Jarabe de Palo was one bands that stuck with me. It’s nothing special! But nostalgia is a hell of a drug and when I got to NYC a few years later they were touring and I bought two tickets before realizing that I had no one to go with. So, I decided to reach out to some of the long-lost people I’d studied abroad with, including, on a lark, one astonishingly beautiful young woman who I’d under no other circumstances have considered contacting for any reason.

      Long story short, she was thrilled! She loves Jarabe de Palo and I, being an actual idiot, thought no further about this other than, cool, this will be cool. Being a lowly production assistant in NYC at this time, I own exactly one (1) sport jacket, so I put on this jacket and head to pick up this girl who, upon opening the door, I find is 1. dressed much nicer than me and 2. is exactly as beautiful as I remember. She is living with her aunt, who is being very nice to me, and I want to be very clear at this point I have not registered anything about this whole situation beyond, cool, this show will be cool.

      The show was at a venue near Times Square. If I recall correctly we took turns buying rounds. We enjoyed the show and afterwards she says, hey, I’m hungry, want to grab some food? I, also, being hungry think this a great idea. She knows a place so we jump into a cab and we head downtown and when we get out of the cab we’re in Soho the place is called Blue Ribbon and that registers to me as being A Real Restaurant, which is very much was, and is, and still at this point I’m just thinking, hey, this has been a really fun evening.

      The restaurant is very crowded. We get a table. She orders some food and drinks and the food and the drinks are very good. I am keenly aware that my sport jacket is perhaps not as nice as the many sports jackets around me, but who cares! This has been fun! And then at some point I excuse myself and I’m standing in the mens room and I’m texting my girlfriend, who I have only just started dating, and a slow sensation begins to creep over me, specifically: holy fuck I’m on a date.

      I, an actual idiot, return to my seat with very many things now running through my head. My jacket now -definitely- looks like shit, I know this, this is a fact, and what the fuck am I doing in this -very- nice restaurant in Soho?! It occurs to me that I’m getting away with this only because my… oh god my date… is extremely beautiful and at this point the check comes and I’m now… paying for this? Do I pay for this? I think I have to pay for this. And I to this day can remember sitting there wondering if my credit card was going to work — which it does, praise baby jesus — and we leave.

      I’m sure the cab ride back to her apartment was high comedy. I could feel my cell phone buzzing with text messages from my very confused girlfriend while attempting to politely unwind what had been the kind of evening you’d think might, you know, go somewhere had I not been so hopelessly lost from the beginning of it.

      I give her a kiss on the cheek and the date ends and we never speak again. My girlfriend, however, thought it was fucking hilarious.

      • Ok, that’s hilarious! Little Awesome just being a sweet doofus!
        I have so many Spain stories from my various forays. My grandparents paid for me to spend a summer in Madrid between 8th and 9th grade. I had barely made the age cut off for the program – it was for kids between 14-18 and I turned 14 eleven days before I left. I was a BABY and my parents took me to the airport and shipped me off for 8 weeks. It was an … education. I took the bus and subway by myself every day to class (from Pozuelo to downtown – it’s FAR). I still have friends from those days. I saw my host sister in DC a few years ago and one of my other friends within the last year or so.
        Then, I went back to Sevilla for my Junior year abroad. We would stay out all night and the clubs would close down with this song. More than anything, this song make me think of Spain:

  3. We lived for a year in Houston, teaching at Rice U and I got way into mariachi and ranchero and música norteña. One night we walked over to a street dance in the First Ward and this started playing and I learned Tejano dancing on the spot.

Leave a Reply