As a new decade dawns, Wandering Rhythms looks back at the last (spectacular) year in music. As usual, these are artists you probably will not find on other best-of lists, and I sincerely hope you discover music here that inspires and surprises you. Despite the seismic global changes that seem inevitable in the coming years, the endless creativity of humans make me believe that we will ultimately get our shit together. But it’s gonna take a real team effort!
Well this is a pleasant surprise.. Despite an unsettling history of occupation from outside forces, the Okinawa Islands (formerly the Ryukyu Kingdom) in the deep south of Japan are home to an amazing array of tropical musical flavours! Not only a singular style of folk music (lovin’ that sanshin), but reggae and cumbia and oh my 神!! Much more!
Also on this week’s program – Arab electro, Nigerian disco, Aussie soul, Incan prog, and who knows what else..
La Gallera Social Club are one of the freshest bands to hit my ears and eyes in quite some time. Incorporating many deep Afro-Latin rhythms from the Caribbean coast of Venezuela with the aesthetic of ’60s psych meets time-warped EDM. Más bueno que comer con los dedos!!
Hear an exclusive interview with Alexis Romero, guitarist/vocalist of La Gallera Social Club, RIGHT HERE, por favor.
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.
If you have yet to fall under its spell, check out this thoughtful introduction to the genre by a couple classy Peruvian soundsmiths:
Now dance to this like a shamanic space traveler: