Crumb, Combo Chimbita


Combo Chimbita

Don Chicharrón

Sat, March 31, 2018

Doors: 8:00 pm / Show: 9:00 pm

$10.00 - $12.00

Off Sale

This event is 18 and over

Crumb is a collaboration between four friends (Lila Ramani – vocals/guitar, Jesse Brotter – bass, Jonathan Gilad – drums, Brian Aronow – synth/keys/reeds/percussion).

After playing music together in various projects for years, the group came together to explore some songs Ramani had written in college, a recording project that became their first self-titled EP. On their second EP, Locket, which was written and recorded by the group while split between Boston and New York for a year, Crumb continues to play with intimate, soulful, and psychedelic sounds.

Now, for the first time in a year they live in the same city where they continue to write new music, collaborate with other artists, and play more shows.
Combo Chimbita
Combo Chimbita
Rooted in Colombia and based in New York, Combo Chimbita lives in the future. After playing together for years, these first-generation New Yorkers—powerhouse vocalist Carolina Oliveros, synth and bassist Prince of Queens, guitarist Niño Lento, and drummer Dilemastronauta—began experimenting with different traditional musical styles during their late night residencies at Barbès in Brooklyn. Exploring the connections between visual identity and improvisational long-form trips, Combo Chimbita came together as a four-piece band after they started encouraging more vocals by Carolina Oliveros, who tightens the rhythm with her guacharaca. Although their backgrounds are in heavy rock, metal, and psychedelic funk and soul, they gleefully fuse elements from cumbia, 70s funaná from Cape Verde, kompa from Haiti as well as salsa & reggae, mixing the Guacharaca and futuristic-yet-retro synth sounds.

*Photos by Itzel Alejandra Martinez
Don Chicharrón
Don Chicharrón
The story of Don Chicharrón starts in Peru, the birthplace of Chicha music. Chicha was the sonic result of forward-thinking coastal and mountain-dwelling Peruvians mixing the various aural stylings of their day: ‘60s psychedelia, Andean traditional folk music, and cumbia. What came out was a music for the common person—electric guitars imitating jungle sounds, a wall of celebratory percussion, exuberant vocals, all aimed at making people dance. It was a movement for the masses: live music for the laborer, a synthesis of the sounds and colors of the Amazon filtered through a handful of foreign influences (read: out of country and out of body/mind). The sounds stretched through the decades, channeling surf rock throughout the ‘70s and romantic ballads in the ‘80s. So how did Don Chicharrón, hereafter known as Don Cheech, a modern-day 9-piece collective out of Denver come across it? Easy. Don Cheech plays Chicha, and Chicha is from Peru.

Enter Aldo Pantoja, a first-generation Peruvian-American from Denver, who grew up mostly playing rock and hip-hop. Unaware of his ancestors’ ties to Chicha, he made it through the first quarter of his life overlooking the music of his parent’s generation. A music that was often paired with festive celebrations and late night inebriations, fiestas that were not suited for young Aldito. During childhood visits to Peru, he was forbidden to go anywhere near an event like that. But Chicha parties in the rural towns of the Andes can be heard for miles... loud crowds and cumbia could be heard echoing in the night, while Aldito and his brothers wondered why their parents were so protective.

Years later, while living on the East Coast, Aldo heard Chicha live for the first time at a festival in Brooklyn. Los Wemblers de Iquitos, one of the legends of the genre, played for a dance-fueled American audience of hip, hippie, and latinx folk. While everyone was experiencing something so new to them, Aldo was remembering a certain cumbia he heard from afar throughout his childhood. And he heard it call loud and clear: Aldo had no choice but to form Don Cheech.

The early days of the band were riddled with a few misses. Aldo’s parents were not impressed with their son’s rendition of their native music. Numerous lineup changes morphed the sound into something that wasn’t quite Chicha. The band was trying to emulate the chicha greats, without success. It wasn’t until Don Cheech remembered that Chicha was about blending cumbia with original, unique and foreign styles. A couple years passed and, after acquiring musicians he had known throughout his childhood and a few new acquaintances, Aldo and his eight bandmates brought their own influences (metal, reggaeton, spaghetti western, salsa) to cumbia, thus creating their own brand of Chicha. The band recorded it live and the result can be found on Don Chicharrón, its debut LP.

That is not to say that Don Chicharrón does not recognize the greats. The album contains nods to Peru’s Chicha champs like Los Destellos, Los Wemblers and Los Mirlos (“Éxitos”) while also incorporating classic huayno (Andean folk heard on “El Humahuaqueño”). But it’s the album’s own blend of Chicha, coming from its nine songwriters, that demonstrates both their respect for the genre and insistence on implementing their own styles. From its epic, entrancing opener, “Camino Del Ratón” to the somber samba closer, “El Coyote”, Don Chicharrón showcases triumphant guitarmonies (“Mosquito Cumbiambero”), social justice-infused gritos (“De Mal Humor”), mesmerizing percussive breakdowns (“Nariz Rota”), and un montón of honest pop hooks (“Regresar”). Themes of immigration, gun control, lost love, space travel and comradity weave in and out each side of the LP. Lead single, “Sábado Gigante”, is a Chicha tour-de-force, highlighting the genre’s staple characteristics and cleverly integrating Aldo’s Spanglish flow, which quickly become puro Españolon the synth-driven ode to “Yolanda”. Listeners without the greatest Spanish-language comprehension will get the point of each song: Aldo lays out his message very clearly—Don Chicharrón exists to make you dance, then think, and then dance harder. Aldo’s dad even became convinced: he contributed vocals throughout the record.

In 2018, Don Cheech shared the stage with Ozomatli, Sotomayor, Combo Chimbita, Tropa Magica and Y La Bamba. In 2019, the 9-piece orchestra will see the release of Don Chicharrón, as well as much of the United States, Mexico and Peru, on tour.
Venue Information:
7 S. Broadway
Denver, CO, 80209