Introducing my bizarro cumbia band.. MNGWA!

Dear far out friends,

Even though posts on this site have been infrequent, the Wandering Rhythms weekly radio show has never missed a beat.  Recent trips through the soundscapes of North Korea, North Ireland, Dominican Republic, and the Cook Islands have kept me inspired in this weekly journey of ever-changing musicians.

But this is something personal, the project that has been my other musical obsession for the past two years.  This band is the embodiment of the music I like to play most on this show; a wild multicultural mashup of styles that never settle into a single rhythm.  We are nine musicians from Mexico, Russia, and Canada that play progressive latin music, jumping from dub to rock, funk to reggaeton, but always settling back into cumbia.  We are Mngwa, and we call our music Vancumbia.

Here is our first music video, shot entirely on Kingsway, home to many immigrant communities and also the oldest strip in Vancouver:

And here is our debut record, the first ever Wandering Rhythms production.

too thousand thirteen

wacky world

This week is our annual best-of episode: a rich sampling of some of the most exciting music unleashed on this planet over the past year.  As is the custom on this show, the focus is on undiscovered gems from near and far — artists you probably won’t see on other year-end lists.

Long live sonic liberation and cultural cross-pollination!

Stream part 1 here.      Stream part 2 here.

Below is the program’s playlist, loosely divided by theme and starting right here at home in Vancouver…


The History of Gunpowder – Time’s Teeth

Blocktreat – Lint Trap

Indigo Kids ft. Ashleigh Eymann – False Prophets

Zoo Owl – Twin Mirror

A Tribe Called Red ft. Sheldon Sundon – PBC

Shad – Progress

Boogat – Ramados

Sublime & Unclassifiable:

Jupiter & Okwess International – Congo  (DR Congo)

Nana – Pequenas Margaridas  (Brazil)

Chico Mann – Magic Touch  (USA)

John Wizards – Lusaka by Night  (South Africa)

Dom La Nena – Anjo Gabriel  (Brazil)

La Yegros ft. El Gato Muñoz – Illuminada (Argentina)

2nd Hour

90s Cover Tunes:

Chicha Libre – Danza de los Simpsons  (USA)

Quantic & Anita Tijoux – Doo Wop [that thing]  (Colombia/France)

Setenta – Smells Like Teen Spirit  (France)

Hip Hop:

Lomepal – Les Battements (France)

Sons of Yusuf – Bank of Amreeka (Kuwait)

Matias Aguayo – El Sucu Tucu  (Chile/Germany)

La Esencia Rítmica Vital – A dónde van las luces cuando las hojas se caen?  (Ecuador)

Psych/Prog Rock:

Boogarins – Erre  (Brazil)

Shugo Tokumaru – Katachi  (Japan)

Pinkunoizu – The Great Pacific Garbage Patch  (Denmark)


Darkestrah – Manas the Avenger  (Kyrgyzstan/Germany)


Courtney Barrett – Avant Gardener  (Australia)

The Garifuna Collective – Ayó  (Bélize)