Cumbia Villera for Export

February 13, 2010

I’ve been coming down to Los Angeles every couple of weeks to develop film and one of my favorite things about visiting LA is getting to listen to fm 107.1 Super Estrella. It’s this Spanish station that plays rock and [occasionally campy] pop. I’ve discovered a lot of great new songs listening to them. I nearly drove off the freeway the other night, though, when I heard a cumbia villera song come on. It was followed by a Soda Stereo song and I figured, it being after midnight, they must have some special Argentine hour relagated to the madrugada, but no, I heard the song again today. Here it is, it’s rather catchy:

The song is called “Una Calle Nos Separa” and was originally by Leo Dan, an Argentine singer popular in the 1970s. This version is by the group Nestor en Bloque.

I love that they’re playing cumbia villera in the United States. It’s absolutely the most disrespected musical genre in Argentina, coming as it does from the slums of Buenos Aires. Of course, Tango also originated in the slums and was rejected by Argentine society until it became popular in Paris [so the story goes].

Is Nestor en Bloque the new Gardel?

[I can’t wait for the comments on this post]

Also, check out Emiliano Granado’s essay on on cumbia villera, following around popular act Pablo Lescano on a long night playing various dates around Buenos Aires.

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