East of Heart

Cumbia All Stars

When I left Lima in February, the apartment I shared with José was slowly being engulfed by an annual music festival called Selvámonos. José has been part of the core organizing team ever since its foundation five years ago. When I came back in July, the apartment remained in full headquarters mode. Not only had the fifth edition been a resounding success three weeks prior with more than 4,000 attendees, Selvámonos are being asked to assist other festivals, they are applying for expanded international funding and now even have their own cumbia band: Cumbia All Stars.

Between February and June, José went around Lima trying to convince musicians from his favourite Peruvian psychedelic cumbia bands from the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s to come together as one and give new life to their percussive anthems. “Like a Buena Vista Social Club of cumbia” as José says. I’ve had the pleasure of attending three of their rehearsals and they are amazing. Here is a video compiling a couple of songs they played today (if you’re in a rush, definitely jump to 4:25). I apologise for the graininess, but I had to shoot it with my phone*. ¡Disfrútenlo!

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* I had to shoot the video above with my Sony Xperia U phone (excellent device) since my Canon S100 suddenly stopped working a few weeks ago. I was really annoyed when my expensive ‘pro’ pocket camera permanently jammed on a lens retraction, but also I immediately knew why: Canon sent me an e-mail in June (8 months after launch!) to tell me that my camera was part of a faulty manufacturing batch. Yet, I could only send my device back in if it already showed said lens problem. What kind of stupid company lets you know that your gear is going to fail and then takes no pre-emptive action? Would you take this camera with you on a vacation? And it’s not the first time I see this happen on a Canon point & shoot. Canon sucks. I won’t buy from them again.