FEATURE: Tribal Guarachero: Mexican Teens & Aztec History

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Erick Rincon is only 16 years old. Level-headed and soft-spoken, the teenager radiates preternatural calm as he and some of his friends fold into a tiny studio in the back of his parents’ Monterrey, Mexico apartment. “I’m crazy!” interrupts one, who immediately starts beatboxing. “I wasn’t learning anything, so I dropped out of school two years ago,” Rincon says. The young producer doesn’t own a microphone but the MCs come by anyhow. Rincon squints at his computer screen through shaggy hair, wearing a day-glo T-shirt, skinny Smurf-colored jeans, and white Chuck Taylors. “What month is it?” He fi nds his latest project fi les, boots up FruityLoops, and his overworked PC speakers burst into life. A steady house kick-drum gets crosshatched by rootsy percussion swinging hard in a different time signature. Electro synths repeat a staccato riff, but the bassline dreams of Mexican tubas playing polka. Right before the track starts to makes sense, it downshifts into a cumbia break. At tomorrow’s party, this is the precise moment when over 3000 kids will scream and throw their hands into the air, but tonight Rincon’s tweaking sample settings with sound libraries nabbed off tribalero chatrooms, prepping for the quinceañera he’s DJing later. His mother sticks her head in: “They get so into the music! Sometimes they don’t leave this room, they just sleep on the fl oor.” The music is tribal guarachero—clubbed out sounds that draw on regional folk songs and post-emo culture, cholo attitude and electro-house to create the distinctly Mexican sounds of the 21st century’s newest music.

Five years ago this music didn’t exist. Today, tribal guarachero soundtracks tough girls’ sweet 15 parties. Rincon’s cowboy brother skips through north Mexican tunes as he drives us to Royal Diamond function hall for the quinceañera. KFC, Starbucks and cheesy Tex-Mex chains can all afford to keep signage blazing after closing hours, so illuminated logos of American brands dot Monterrey’s nightscape. But the only places to get food at this hour are bare-bulb taco stands, and those sparkling lights clustered in the hills mark rough barrios like La Independencia, home to next-level cumbia wizards and gangsta foot soldiers rocking Ed Hardy gear.

Security guards let us in. Wearing a skimpy electric-blue tutu, birthday girl Nalleley dances with her father as mariachis play “The Last Doll.” Everybody knows the words, everybody knows the moves. Their strummed guitars start to resemble sped-up guaracha—the scraper percussion rasping out cumbia’s telltale shuffl e. The more local Mexican music you hear, the more you’ll catch structures and rhythms which tribal guarachero has cannibalized.

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POSTED October 13, 2010 11:29AM IN FEATURES Comments (9) TAGS: , , , , , , ,

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  1. rizzla says:

    a perfectly written account of a dream-scene – thx rupture

  2. Austin Shook says:

    so cool man. cant wait to visit mty

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  4. Michael says:

    the post sounds good interesting

    too bad is a fukin lie

    i live in monterrey and all this information is innacurate
    they r just trying to make it sound like a dangerous fun city but mty is boring as fuk

    that place they mention ARCOIRIS is not a place for teenagers that like different music to meet
    it is in fact a low-life place where Male homosexuals can pay to teens for prostituion and in this place you can only hear to reggeaton (plain and simple nothing experimental) old house music like “magic orgasm” and a lot of folklore music (colombias and shit nothing experimental)

    to say that this kind of tribal-cumbia-techno music is growing fast in monterrey is nothing else but a big fukin lie

    if some kind of music is growing very fast here at mty that will be the BANDA music and things like that thats pure folklor from culiacan sinaloas and places like that

    About Toy SElecta and his friends ilk have to say they are just a music mafia that wants to monopolize and overstock all places where music is being played

    But Nortec wont happen 2 times and there is a lot of thing on monterrey with a lot more talent that are being ignored only because they dont imitate the wining “FORMULA” of mixing mexican-craft with techno

    sad

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