"Señoras y señores, bienvenidos al fabuloso mundo de la cumbia, donde todo es posible... (Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the fabulous world of cumbia where anything is possible...)"
Photo courtesy Maria Sonora
Or so says Maria Sonora and there was no better proof of what's possible when, expecting a Cumbia show, a lovely gypsy woman with a flowing black belted dress and gold headband methodically danced through the crowd at El Clan, burning sage. Smoke trailing behind her, mingling with cigarettes and sweat, the club fell silent except for a few excited yips and yelps.
Photo courtesy Maria Sonora
You soon realize that Maria Jose, of Maria Sonora, is a force to be reckoned with even before you hear her sing. Her tiny frame is impossibly misleading compared to her powerfully seductive voice. Her musicianship ranges from singer to keyboard to percussion, influenced by dubstep, hip hop and electronic sequences.
Born in Chile but having played all over the world, both Maria Jose and Tan Levine, her band mate and brother, have had several bands under each of their belts over the last couple decades, such as Upa, Golosina Canibla, Pinochet Boy and Electrodomesticos. With a distinct latin, cumbia and digital sound, Maria Sonora is innovative with its mash up techniques (the blending of two or more songs) so that no two tracks sound the same.
Maria Sonora sent the crowd into a frenzy on the dance floor when joined by tank top wearing, tattoo-covered and quick-quipped MC Vozeto. His cadence and lyrical work were impressive and complimentary to Maria's sultry, feisty sound. Whether it was the lights or his dreamy style, MC Vozeto kept his eyes closed and his face turned up in a broad smile the whole night.
The tiny stage allowed for close interaction with the dynamic Maria Jose who spent the entire set moving, wailing and stomping about. The real treat was the live performance by The Peronists. Mash-ups of vocals, flute, percussion, laptop and keys, along with acid visual accompaniment, showed off just how talented a musician and performer The Peronists really is.
Photo courtesy The Peronists
Hailing from Buenos Aires, Argentina, Federico S. Sanchez, the mastermind behind The Peronists, is one of the most influential people in the "nu-digi-cumbia" scene. Combining traditional South American cumbia and dirty street bass beats, The Peronists have been filling dance floors around the world during tours of Germany, Holland, Spain, England and South America.
After a 35-minute set of dancing to hip-hop tracks and electronic bass beats, El Clan was sweat-soaked and throbbing, with the floor covered in drinks and everyone smiling. Maria Sonora and The Peronists burned the sage and then burned that stage down. Dancing into the night it truly did feel that in life, like in Cumbia music taking you every which way, anything is possible.
Maria Sonora & The Peronists
Bar El Clan
Bombero Nuñez 363, Bellavista