¡Órale! Tribal Guarachero – “Aztec Rave from the Future” – keeps on rising.

A quick review: There was my Fader feature on Tribal Guarachero in Monterrey from last year, now viewable online. Then came a National Geographic article suggesting that certain stone buildings in the Americas were Pre-Columbian ritual spaces for heightened sound reception and communal celebration — aka rave caves. My post on these Ancient Mayan Subwoofers contains a handful of tribal MP3s which very intentionally invoke Aztec and Maya pasts (as do the t-shirts and posters of Erick & Sheeqo).

Erick Rincon and Sheeqo Beat in Erick’s studio. photo by John Francis Peters for The Fader

Next, VBS hopped into the game with a great little piece on the new music from Monterrey birthing a pointy boot craze in north Mexico and beyond.

The big picture in all these stories is the stunning creativity and vitality of Mexican youth culture — other aspects of which Daniel Hernandez chronicles in his recent book Down and Delirious in Mexico City. Here’s my previous post about the book, and here is his guest appearance on Mudd Up radio.

And now these various manifestations of tribal guarachero take another step forward, as the pioneering Monterrey crew of 3Ball MTY (DJs Erick Rincon, Sheeqo Beat, and Otto) release their first official video, “Inténtalo (Me Prende)” complete with CD-J fetish shots and a pointy boot dance section. These are some of the nicest kids around and it’s so satisfying to watch them on the up & up. ¡Chequealo! And when you see Toy Selectah, buy that man a drink.




In the opening sentence of my Fader feature on the young Mexican music of tribal guarachero, I wrote that teen prodigy Erick Rincon ‘radiates preternatural calm.’ You can now witness that for yourself, as he appears on-location in Matehuala in this new VBS video — totally unfazed by the fact that his music, along with that of friends Sheeqo Beat and Otto has directly inspired a pointy boot (& skinny jean) craze with rodeo cowboy-ravers from north Mexico into the U.S. Incredible!

Video below. Check this post for some tribal MP3s and reflections on ancient Mayan subwoofers.



500px-Map of USA TX

Peligrosa down in Texas – tribal guaracherodubstep world headquarters, plus barbecue sauce. Red like hot like fire.

A surefire 3ball hit, from every direction:

[audio:https://negrophonic.com/mp3/Mad (Orion Guarachero Edit).mp3]

Magnetic Man – Mad (Orion Guarachero Edit)

And one with duppified cut ups:

[audio:https://negrophonic.com/mp3/Jump Guarachero (Orion Guarachero Edit).mp3]

16 Bit vs DJ Leo – Jump Guarachero (Orion Guarchero Edit)

both heaters are from DJ Orion’s free Animus EP. Whose title references Carl Jung.

Orion believes in generosity and we all benefit. Around this time last year he stopped by my radio show for a live mix. Orion’s Mad edit is a treat — muchacho loco! It accentuates and extends everything that’s joyous about the original (below) while removing all the trudge.


Maya temple ruins in Palenque, MX. Photo by Panoramic Images/National Geographic.

National Geographic just published an article presenting evidence that “Ancient Maya Temples Were Giant Loudspeakers.”

“Centuries before the first speakers and subwoofers,” writes Ker Than, “ancient Americans—intentionally or not—may have been turning buildings into giant sound amplifiers and distorters to enthrall or disorient audiences, archaeologists say.”

While the jab ‘intentionally or not’ gives me pause (did they accidentally build an underground rave cave with exceptional acoustics?), the thought of ancient Mayas carving out subwoofers in 600 A.D. is very 2012, very tribal guarachero. The temple ruins at Palenque in central Mexico suggests “a kind of ‘unplugged’ public-address system, projecting sound across great distances” — perfect for a post-oil dance party.

[audio:0030 RITMO_.MP3]

? – Ritmo Maya

The article explains: “The ‘amplifiers’ would have been the buildings themselves, and their acoustics may have even been purposely enhanced by the strategic application of stucco coatings, Zalaquett’s findings suggest. . . ‘We think there was an intentionality of the builders to use and modify its architecture for acoustic purposes,’ Zalaquett said in an email.”

[audio:0022 RITMO_.MP3]

? – Ritmo del Tambor

It goes on to discuss Chavín de Huántar, a pre-Incan maze-like space with similarly strange & disorienting acoustic effects. “For example, stone sculptures seem to show people in the maze transforming into animal-like deities with the aid of drugs.”

Celebratory Mural in the halls of Bonampak: wikipedia

Spaces of dance and celebration seem to be some of the most precarious pieces of urban real estate — hype clubs can fall out of fashion in a season, or, worse get shuttered overnight in capitulation to cop harassment, noise complaints, zoning shifts, all the various pressures of gentrification.

So I love the idea that some of the most enduring structures in the Americas are Pre-Columbian ritual spaces for heightened sound reception and communal celebration. Longetivity! Which Mexican tribal guarachero music also participates in. These MP3s provide some quick examples of the genre very intentionally invoking Aztec and Maya pasts via sound and language. Even the beats themselves underscore a communal function: listened to as stand-alone tracks, they can seem repetitive or simplistic in construction. But it’s music meant to be activated by a dancing crowd and mixing DJ, played, of course, over an appropriately huge soundsystem (with or without electricity).

As I wrote in my Fader feature:

When tribal (“tree-BALL”) first started bubbling out of Mexico City around 2005, they called it “tribal pre-Hispanic,” after Ricardo Reyna’s “La Danza Azteca”—the first tune to pull pre-Columbian samples into tribal house. This is what “tribal” now refers to: not tribal house, but Tribes—Aztec and “African,” which the music evokes via clip-clopping drum grooves and twee pre-Hispanic melodies. In Mexico City’s massive Zócalo plaza, which forms the new sound’s mythic home, Indians play flutes and drums in Aztec costumes, spicing the city’s unhealthy air with their burnt frankincense. The nearby pirate marketplace of Tepito stocks countless low-bitrate tribal CD-Rs. Rewind 500 years, before the Spanish arrived: Zócalo was the center of Tenochtitlan, the Aztec island-metropolis that happened to be one of the world’s largest cities.

The only reliable now, even one scattered on cheap street CD-Rs, has the weight of history close at hand. This sudden teen musical phenomenon self-consciously stretches back to the days of these Palenque raves.

Erick Rincon and Sheeqo Beat in Erick’s studio. photo by John Francis Peters for The Fader

[audio:0139 KUA.MP3]

DJ Antennae – Nawy Kuahutli (anybody know what this Nahuatl phrase means?

“If you can create a mysterious sound that seems otherworldly,” says British archeaologist Chris Scarre, “you’ve created something that is a very powerful and intriguing element in the ceremony.” “3ball Monterrey, putos!!,” he added.



I am up to my ears in non-blog writing, which means that I haven’t had time to feed the internet with my buzzing thoughts on cumbia; nueva cumbia; Lacanian cumbia trolls; why nobody talks about Super Grupo Colombia even when they come to play a heavily promoted New York City show; the subgenres I keep noticing –  like ‘songs about being drunk in the morning’ and ‘songs about cumbia reaching cities like Philadelphia and Miami’; and much much more. For cumbia is nothing if not generous.

I have a folder containing tribal guarachero tunes that sample Hossam Ramzy and I have another one with the tribal remix + cumbia original done up as nice little pairs, and I will share these things, but before we get to that, we need to do our homework.


This 2002 article, Cumbia Sobre El Rio: Celso Piña exports Monterrey’s new Cumbia Dub , goes deep. Required reading.

Here’s a high quality gift — a ‘Monterrey cumbia’ with a guy singing in English about the black man playing his drum. Songs like this were made for me. “The black man plays his drum and the women begin to shout / I want to dance la cumbia de Monterrey

[audio:14 Parranderos – Cumbia Monterrey.mp3]

Parranderos – Cumbia Monterrey

Los Reyes Vallenatos run things in Monterrey. This band played at the ArcoIris tribal party I covered in the Fader article (Erick Rincon pointed out that most of the bandmembers were in their teens!). Pablo Lescano and Damas Gratis have recorded with them as well. This cumbia gets a lot creepier if you live, like I do, a few blocks away from bars where these dollar dances happen.  


Los Reyes Vallenatos – La Cosita

and the man himself, Celso Piña — given the slo-mo scraper remix, sonidero melt, CUMBIA POWER. Can’t turn it off!

[audio:19 Celso Pina – rebajda Con Huaracha – Cumbia Poder.mp3]

Celso Pina – Cumbia Poder (rebajada con guaracha)



I can’t remember exactly, but tomorrow, July 4th, we Americans celebrate our Independence from Microsoft, or the Constitution, or Google, or the British, or the RIAA, or Illegal Immigrants, or Apple products, or People Around The World Who Hate Our Freedom, or maybe Slavery or the Birth Certificate itself. It’s an important holiday, especially if you like to eat dead animals.

So what better way to join the festivities then hunched over my laptop, carpal tunnel syndromin’, listening to incredible new Mexican music of the 1st decade – or is this already the 2nd decade? (Is it true that time isn’t circular but tubular?) – of the 21st century!

Erick Rincon from Monterrey gifts us with a sublime tribal guarachero refix that wraps hypnotic playful voices around some ill tubas. Deep sonic multitasking from northern Mexico. As the 16-year-old producer says: “Bueno pues ahora, Dejandoles algo de Tribal, Mezclandole algo de Norteño!! que suene la tubaaaaaa!!” Let the tuuuuuubaaa sound out!

I just listened to this two-minute song a dozen times in a row, now you can too:

[audio:https://negrophonic.com/mp3/Erick Rincon – Loituma (3ball Experimented).mp3]

Erick Rincon – Loituma (3ball Experimented)