Latin American music in London is lively, popular and full of innovation. LAB brings you vignettes of some of the leading exponents.
Latin American music in London is lively, popular and full of innovation. The limiting nostalgia of expatriate groups is left far behind as Latino-London embodies new fusions, drawn from multiple roots. This is without a doubt one of the most interesting and vital components of London’s contemporary music scene. In a quick round-up LAB’s Tian Spain provides vignette reviews of some of the leading contributors.
Movimientos (www.movimientos.org.uk )
Movimientos is a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to showcasing the best and newest Latin American live music and reinvigorating the Latin music scene in the UK. Their aim is to broaden perceptions of Latin music beyond mainstream genres by representing artists who are bringing brand new fusions of music to the stage. In 2011 they launched Movimientos Records, which releases the latest Latin music from bands currently performing on stages across the UK.
Movimientos events are unique: they have always provided an open platform for independent film-makers and organisations to highlight issues and raise awareness of what are mostly unreported topics relating to Latin America. The original inspiration was Nicaragua Solidarity Campaign’s legendary, politically fuelled Club Sandino night and the popular Mambo Inn, which helped to create the Latin music and Salsa boom of the 80s and 90s. The initial idea was to combine political activism with music, focusing on Latin America. They started a DJ-based Latin American club night and joined forces with solidarity groups, NGOs and charities to raise awareness of social and political justice issues affecting the continent.
Movimientos has since gone from strength to strength hosting regular music events, appearing at festivals nationwide and supporting famous names from Latin America such as Calle 13, Los de Abajo and Chocquibtown. They are currently working with some of hottest Latin fusion groups on the London music scene, each of which mixes their own unique blend of Latin, London and global sounds.
Wara have concocted an epic new musical genre of their own with strong Cuban roots. A melting pot of identities, living in London with backgrounds from all over the world: Cuba, Argentina, Venezuela, Chile, Ghana, Congo, Spain and the UK. With contagious, in-your-face vocals from Congolese-Argentinean lead Juanita Euka (niece of legendary Congolese musician Franco), inspired keyboard flourishes from MD Eliane Correa, MC Murmur quick on the rhymes and a super tight Latin/UK mix on the rhythm section, their musical energy is palpable. Combining a lyrically conscious approach with exceptional musicianship, this is a band with an urgent voice that demands to be heard.
Lokandes play a red-hot fusion of Afro-Andean and Latin beats. Taking the melodies and energy of Andean music and bringing it up to date with Son, Reggae and funky Afro-Latin rhythms. The band unites musicians and instruments from Peru, Bolivia, Spain, France, China and the UK, and sets their highly original music alongside socially conscious lyrics and a tight rhythms section.
Los Chinches are one of the most exciting and cutting edge acts to emerge from the new Latin scene; a combination of Peruvian percussionists and London bred guitar and keyboard players creating an esoteric sound that harnesses the psychedelic twists of Peruvian Cumbia and the Punk and Ska spirit of London. Specifically they draw upon the style of Cumbia developed in Peru in the 1960s – known as ‘Chicha’ – which, along with their unique rocking tropical energy, makes for electric live performances and an ever-growing reputation.