We use cookies for site personalization, analytics and advertising. You can opt out of third party cookies. More info in our privacy policy.   Got it

Mixed Media: Music



by Bareto (World Village Records 091 CD, LP + download)

Unpredictable – that’s how the title of the fifth album from Peru’s Bareto translates. On this evidence, Impredecible finds the band in a fertile cross-cultural groove, including, on ‘El Loco’, a guest visit from peerless vocalist and compatriot Susana Baca. In short, this is a far cry from the band’s ska-heavy sounds of yesteryear, but it’s just as fun and, arguably, that much more punchy. Cumbia, as a dance style and rhythm, has always been a big area of Latin American music. It navigates African roots and Spanish or Portuguese-language vocals; each country in the region has its own individual stylings. It’s no surprise that an electronic, club-orientated techno-cumbia is out there. The one thing that makes cumbia so individual to groups and regions is its political expression: and here Bareto do not disappoint. The passive, mass culture engendered by television is in their sights on ‘La Pantella’ (‘The Screen’) and, given the joyfully mashed-up cumbia styles on show, you can hear a call for individuality and creative expression. Even when Bareto are in palpably foreign territories – ska is the rhythmical shading to the lovely textures of ‘Viejita Guarachera’ – it is on their own terms. There’s much to enjoy here: Baca’s glorious tones make ‘El Loco’ utterly irresistible, but so too do the oceanic waves of synth lines, weaving guitar and sand-shuffling percussion.

Rating: ★★★

New Internationalist issue 488 magazine cover This article is from the December 2015 issue of New Internationalist.
You can access the entire archive of over 500 issues with a digital subscription. Subscribe today »

Help us keep this site free for all

Editor Portrait New Internationalist is a lifeline for activists, campaigners and readers who value independent journalism. Please support us with a small recurring donation so we can keep it free to read online.

Support us » payment methods

Subscribe   Ethical Shop