Tribal Guarachero and the Tacky Boots

by Diana

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Mexican ghetto music is the music for you, says Diana. Check it out and have a look at those boots while you're at it.

I was listening to Mudd Up the other day, a weekly show by DJ Rupture on WFMU, where Brian Degraw from Gang Gang Dance was the guest. Brian was playing a live set, which so far was the best thing I've heard this year. If you wanna give the show a listen, or ten, do it here.

Towards the end of the show, they talked a bit about what Brian has been up to these days, what his latest music obsessions include and so on, at which point I focused my ear as hard as I could hoping he'd disclose something fresh and dazzling. To my pleaseant surprise Brian's latest fetish for the past year or so turned out to be tribal or 3ball, music that originates from the Mexican ghetto.

3ball mixes pre-hispanic and African sounds with Cumbia basslines and an important part of its social impact are the pointed boots that came with the music. An entire subculture has evolved around this phenomenon. Guys having their own dancing crews, organize dancing competitions as well as competitions about whose boots are the longest. It's most likely the tackiest thing you've ever seen in your life, but this documentary would not be half as cool as it is without them. The style, combined with the music and the dance, reminds me of tecnobrega, or cheesy techno, music from northern Brazil, which besides the cheesy aspect ,has another thing in common with 3ball: the music distribution, from which the musicians/producers don't make any money.

3ball has been getting recognition in Mexico for a while now and it's starting to permeate the mainstream media as well, but it's not a genre you hear about every day - not outside the Americas, anyway. Young producers of tribal music in Mexico city and Monterrey had never made any official release until labels like Mad Decent, Man Recordings and others showed an interest. More and more artists are digging tribal these days. Beside Brian and DJ Rupture, artists such as Nguzunguzu, Buraka Som Sistema or Dubbel Dutch are pulling off some solid tunes.

Have a look at this super short documentary about the tribal culture and tell me: do they also remind you of kangaroos when you see them dancing in those shoes ?