Electronic music in Cuba labelled "exciting" by VICE

Posted: 01-Jun-16 10:07

Thump, the electronic music and cultural channel from VICE, has released a list of the most interesting producers in Cuba, where experimenting with digital technologies in the cultural sphere is gaining popularity. The American publication came to the island trying to find the source of the enthusiasm that a recent public concert by Major Lazer garnered in an audience of around a half-million people.

Electronic music in Cuba labelled "exciting" by VICE

The increasing popularity of electronic music in Cuba was demonstrated earlier this year when a massive audience packed the Tribuna Antimperialista in Havana during a concert of American band Major Lazer. Thump, a VICE´s channel dedicated to music and cultural coverage, went to the island to discover why locals are hooked on this music.

One of the reasons they found is that in the island’s electronic music scene there is a group of very creative and talented producers, using contemporary techniques in the playing, recording and production of traditional music to bring a refreshing flavour to it in the digital age.

Thump also discovered that in Havana´s small yet buzzing electronic music field, collaborations between DJs and other artists performing in the hip-hop and jazz scene are very frequent and authentic. Wichy del Vedado and El Jigüe are among the producers constantly involved in this kind of musical fusion that has introduced new concepts to the traditional jams session and concerts, and to the hip-hop gigs in the island.

The experimentation with Afro-Cuban sounds is also one of the distinctive features of the electronic music landscape in the country. While DJ Jigüe mixes drum patterns with other genres, Obbatuke, a producer based in the province of Santiago de Cuba, draws on the discourse and spirituality of Afro-Cuban religion.

In the article written by Greg Scruggs, the publication exerts its readers to listen to the work of Pauza, a duo that connects “the lines between house, techno, and tech-house, but also draws on African rhythms from Cuba and abroad”.

According to Thump, another one of Cuba’s mixing masters, DJoy de Cuba “knows how to go deep” in the genre. He is one of the island’s pioneers in this field and his knowledge of electronic culture and technology enables him to cite a broad range of influences including ambient, trip-hop, drum'n'bass, house, techno, and dubstep.

As reggaeton is mainly a result of digital production, VICE´s electronic music channel also mentions Cuban reggaetoneros, who are visibly dominant in the local entertainment industry. Among several bands, Thump singles out the work of Chacal y Yakarta, a former vocal duo that now plays backed by 15 instruments.

Favouring funky music, DJ Thellus is, in Scruggs' opinion, one of the other leading figures producing great remixes in the island, while Davazz Brothers represent a new generation of Cuban musicians who have jumped into the spotlight and risen in popularity thanks to alternative festivals and initiatives such as Rotilla and Proelectrónica.


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