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April 20, 2023

El Combo Oscuro: “Despegue”

By: Jack Anderson

For nearly a full century now, Cumbia’s infectious rhythms have crept out further (both North and South) from its breeding grounds in Colombia. That intercontinental dissemination has led to a plethora of subgenres, and thanks to Texas’ relatively close proximity to Central and South America, some those tendrils (most notably ’60s-style Peruvian psychedelic cumbia or “chicha“) have found new roots here in the Lone Star State. Even here, a several hour drive from the US-Mexico border, we’re blessed to have some prolific cumbia acts call Austin their home. While groups like Grupo Fantasma, Superf├│nicos, and Money Chicha already found their footing before the turn of 2020, there’s also an exceptional outfit that emerged out of the darkness of our pandemic era. Austin six-piece El Combo Oscuro dropped their debut single “Calavera” right around one year after COVID-19 led to the abrupt cancellation of SXSW (where we usually get an influx of awesome international cumbia acts). Since then they’ve released two EPs (2021’s Que Sonido Tan Rico and 2022’s aptly-titled Cumbia Capital), racked up two Austin Music Awards nominations for “Best Latin Act”, and brought the heat to gatherings like Utopiafest, Levitation, and Chicha Summit. But as quickly as El Combo Oscuro’s come up, like 99% of Austin artists, they could always benefit from a little extra shine. On that note, they’ve recently been inducted into the Austin Music Foundation’s Artist Development Program – Class of 2023/ADP6 alongside KUTX favorites Jake Lloyd, S.L. Houser, and Grace Sorensen. By collaborating with The Bubble recording studio and in-house producer Chris “Frenchie” Smith, ADP helps propel some of Austin’s most talented-yet-overlooked musicians closer to the stratosphere of wider awareness and higher streaming numbers. Today, ahead of live performances next Friday at Arts Mission Oak Cliff in Dallas and next Sunday for Austin psych fest at Far Out Lounge, El Combo Oscuro offers up a first-class seat on a non-stop cumbia flight piloted by ADP. So buckle up for some frenetic Latin turbulence and get ready to take off towards cumbia’s critical altitude with “Despegue”. And to appease some passengers, we’ll go ahead and leave the “no smoking” sign switched off…

Episodes

September 29, 2023

Tribe Mafia: “Take Me” (feat. Erik Goca)

It’s beyond satisfying to hear a homegrown Austin artist not just outside the local city limits, but in a piece of media that gets global reach. And while it may be impossible to top White Denim in the official Nintendo Switch trailer, we gotta give it up to Tribe Mafia for their recent induction into […]

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September 28, 2023

Daniel Fears: “Say Something”

Here at KUTX and Song of the Day, we try to be as dutiful as we can in providing both an accurate representation of the Austin Music Experience and great tunes. But honestly, all talent aside, for some local artists we often have to dig around to find something that’s actually airwave worthy. Daniel Fears, […]

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September 27, 2023

Nihiloxica: “Asidi”

What happens when you aggressive UK bass collides with testosterone-driven Bugandan percussion? Nothing quiet, that’s for sure. That specific combo of acoustic and electronic, of modern and traditional first came about with the formation of Nihiloxica half a decade back, when UK producers Spooky-J and pq linked up with Nilotika Cultural Ensemble members Isa, Sally, […]

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