To South America!

Now nothing gets you labelled ‘fish out of water gringo’ than when you’re in the youth hostel courtyard and try and represent for your endz by blasting the latest Rusko LP through your tinny i-Dock. Do as the Romans do and invest pre-trip in some Latin beats that go beyond the dated gack pumping at your pub salsa night.

Latin America is perhaps the most musical continent on the globe, with scenes like digital cumbia, Paraguayan polka and Caribbean bachata forming some of its most vibrant and least hackneyed output. These tunes are for the beach, whether the moon is fat and the reggaeton wherewolves are out or the mood is for relaxing by the sea.

As ever you can stream these tracks on MFlow exclusively via ClashMusic - click HERE to find out more!

Te Ves Buena – El General – TRACK ON MFLOW
El General is one of the fathers of reggaeton. He was one of the first Latin artists to record Spanish lyrics over a dancehall beat in the early 1990s – taking cues from popular Panamanian music which was called petroleo. Early tunes like Meuvelo and this Te Ves Buena, were very popular in the US. He won an MTV award for the Muevelo video, and his albums have gone 32 times gold and 17 times platinum. He now, incidentally, is a Jehovah’s Witness. The lyrics to this tune fit with the general theme of much later reggaeton, although humourous lyrics like [translated] “One girl chubby like whale, the next thin like garden hose” temper the standard Latin misogyny.

El General - Te Ves Buena

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Lo Que Pasó, Pasó – Daddy Yankee – TRACK ON MFLOW
Classic reggaeton. This comes from Daddy Yankee’s Barrio Fino album, which with sales of two million got him named in Time’s 100 most influential people list of 2006. Yankee was hit in the leg with a bullet from an AK-47 during a ghetto shoot out. His dreams of a Major League baseball career were cut short but the diamond’s loss was FUBU Latin America’s gain. Rap garms flooded the continent as thousands flocked to Yankee and Don Omar’s hits, while in Europe Gasolina lit the touch paper. The lyrics basically mean ‘What went down, went down, between you and me’ – oh the glorious simplicity of an afro-latino player.

19 Dias y 500 Noches – Joaquin Sabina – TRACK ON MFLOW
Sabina is a native of Andalucia who has taken on Argentina as his spiritual homeland. He even writes paeans to Maradona now, and is a household name across Latin America and Spain. Linguists will appreciate the complex poetic wordplay he uses as he deals with a messy break up in this track. Non Spanish-speakers will dig the lilting guitar and tar-tarnished vocals.

Kaya – Sumo – TRACK ON MFLOW
Sumo is a strange beast. Lead singer is Luca Prodan, an Italian who went to Prince Charles’ school in Scotland, and then would be choked up by Camden’s punk cess pit in the 70s before emigrating to Argentina to escape heroin addiction and wound up the biggest rock star in the country. The fact that he became that singing jazz ska in English is testament to Argentina’s borrowed cultural references. This tune is redolent of the laid back ethos of the country’s wide open spaces and its immigrant population’s release from urban industry. Marley’s tune of the same name may have been an inspiration for the simple effective lyrics.

Sumo - Kaya (Live)

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Cartola – Preciso me Encontrar
Cartola came into vogue in Brazil and beyond with this track which featured in the 2002 City Of God soundtrack. However he is a huge figure in development of samba in Brazil. His output has a melancholy feel to it throughout, and Preciso... is no exception, with a muddy brass cutting through lyrics saying ‘I’m going to try and smile to not cry’ which may be lost in music-free translation but on record depress the nervous system as surely as blueberry cloud tropics storm and a glass of Johnny Walker.


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