Kumbia Queers: Cumbia with humor and a message

The all-female band Kumbia Queers can’t hide its rock-n-roll past, impregnating its cumbia with rock tunes and creating an original blend that can make you…
Kumbia Queers: Cumbia with humor and a message

The Kumbia Queers, an all-woman Latin American cumbia band is going to start working on a new CD. (Credit: Tudor Stanley)

The all-female band Kumbia Queers can’t hide its rock-n-roll past, impregnating its cumbia with rock tunes and creating an original blend that can make you dance or listen to it with a smile.

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Cumbia certainly is a versatile musical style and its popularity is growing nonstop, but this is more than just cumbia —which by the way is a musical genre originated in the Caribbean region of today’s Colombia and Panama, a blend of beats of Africa and native Latin America. Kumbia Queers brings a very danceable beat with fine lyrics, and a fun live show.

Each of the six current members of the band were originally playing rock and punk until they got together.

“We meet at a female festival in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and we started jamming together,” explained Ali, the lead singer of the band and the only Mexican —the other five members are Argentineans. According to their official biography, they started playing different popular songs with a cumbia beat.

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The Kumbia Queers mix rock sounds and cumbia for their fun stage shows. (Credit: Tudor Stanley)

In February 2007 the new band called Kumbia Queers released its new CD, “Kumbia, Nena!” Since then, they never stopped playing, and dancing.

“We enjoy playing, we like what we do,” said Ali during an interview over the phone while the band was getting ready for a show in San Francisco, California. “We are totally dedicated to the music. Some people told us this could be risky, but we like it.”

The band recently completed its West USA tour, which started at the South by Southwest Festival, in Austin, Texas and then continued in California.

“This is like a dream, our dream,” said Ali about the band. “Its very nice when we are on the stage… You know, we spend more time traveling, rehearsing, carrying the equipment… So when we get on the stage we really enjoy.”

She really means it. Kumbia Queers put a fun show, with good music, full of energy and sense of humor, not just because of the interaction with the audience but because of some of the band’s lyrics that deal with every day life scenarios seen from a different angle.

“Yes, we use some humor in our songs… After all, a smile is something that helps people at the end of a stressful day,” said Ali. “I think people also realize we enjoy playing for them, our energy may be contagious!”

These six girls spent more time rocking than playing cumbia. But this new level in their artistic lives is seen as a natural transition, as Ali describes it: “When we started playing cumbia we discovered that cumbieros have a similar philosophy as rockeros.”

They felt right at home e reviving rock through the cumbia genre.

Back home, the band will start preparing for its next challenge: A new CD.

“We are going back to Argentina and we are going to work on our new CD, which will include collaborations with other artists,” said Ali. The new album will include new and original songs. “We wish to incorporate a collaboration with a rapper.”

Coincidence? Kumbia Queers was touring California with Chilenean rapper Ana Tijoux, who already collaborated with Mexican singer star Julieta Venegas.

But, what is really Kumbia Queers, besides a good cumbia band?

“We are six girls from Argentina and Mexico who love this music,” explained Ali. “We sing a lot about and for women, we hope we can empower them throughout our music. You know, there are still many things that there are no right for women in Latin America. And we think we can help.”

SEE ALSO: Cumbia: Colombia’s folk music meets New York