Welcome to our weekly show recommendation column RSVP HERE – your source for the best NYC shows and interviews with some of our favorite local live bands. This week we’ve doubled up and listed the best shows from 12/20-New Years!
My favorite show of 2019 was Combo Chimbita at Ace of Cups in Columbus, Ohio, so I’m so happy to be ending this year’s RSVP HERE column with an interview with them! The NYC-via-Colombia tropico-psychedlia meets cumbia rock band has a live set that takes you to another dimension of afro-futurism punk. Combo Chimbita consists of vocalist Carolina Oliveros, Prince of Queens on analog synths, Niño Lento on guitar and Dilemastronauta on a drum set that includes unique percussion instruments and crazy looking cymbals. Frontwoman Carolina Oliveros’ voice is so powerful it will make you cry and the way she plays the guacharaca is so intense it’s almost scary – I seriously thought she might slice someone’s head off. On their latest release Ahomale, which is a Yoruba word that means “adorer of ancestors,” Oliveros set out with the intent to connect with ancestral cosmology, a spirit that becomes animated in their live show.We spoke with the band about their Sun Ra Arkestra, music in Colombia, and inspirations behind their live show…
AF: What were some of your favorite cities you visited and shows you played while on the road in 2019?
Dilmeastronauta: LA, San Juan, NY
Niño Lento: San Juan, PR/Chicago/LA
Prince of Queens: This year we went to so many places! Playing in San Juan in January was amazing, LA, Chicago and Austin is always great for me – so many friends and the crowds are always amazing. One of my favorite shows was in Berlin for Día de los Muertos with Turbo Sonidero; that was an incredible party.
Carolina Oliveros: Berlín, Barcelona e Italia, LA, Chicago
AF: What are your favorite records to listen to while on the road?
D: SunRa “Nuclear War is a Mother Fucker,” Concha Buika “Don’t Explain”
NL: Bocanada (Gustavo Cerati), Lejos de Mi Amor (Polibio Mayorga)
PoQ: When you spend so much time on the road you listen to too much music sometimes… I like silence honestly! But I think always at some point during tour we hit that moment where we listen to classic rock and español and we all sing soda stereo really loud with the windows down.
CO: Me gusta mucho escuchar mucho afrobeats. Me pone alegre y contenta.
AF: What are the differences in the way the direction of music is going in Colombia vs the US?
D: Both cities offer something unique. I feel like NY provides me with access to witness more of the Caribbean diaspora music while Colombia offers its own roots plus, rock, metal etc.
PoQ: I think music in the US might be driven more by the diaspora and the immigrant experience. A lot of amazing music coming out from Colombia feels more focused on re-imagining and inspired by tradition and roots music. I think they are both super relevant and in many ways crossover.
CO: Se que colombia musicalmente en este momento es un gran referente, siento que se está haciendo mucha música que está conectada a las raíces.
AF: What are your favorite percussion instruments to use during your set?
PoQ: I don’t play it but the Carolina’s guacharaca is special.
AF: What is the inspiration behind the synth sounds you use?
PoQ: I love techno and sound design in general. I always try to approach synth playing more as a sound design tool than a traditional keyboard per se. I love analog sound and just unexpected freak out moments of synth.
AF: What are some of the biggest inspirations and influences on your live show? What are you looking forward to most about your show with Sun Ra Arkestra?
D: I look forward to witnessing the legacy of Sun Ra among the members of his band, their ability to improvise and to be colorful.
PoQ: Too many inspirations! I’m inspired by artists than transcend time and generations. Sun Ra Arkestra, los Wemblers, tabou combo, BIG sound on stage and full on rhythm. I’m not really a religious person but music is spiritual and powerful sound and stage presence can take you places far and deep. That’s what I am into. Honestly just meeting them and hearing them play. So much to learn and experience.
CO: Me gusta muchos lxs artistas que son únicxs y espontánexs y que proponen algo diferente en vivo, que no tienen miedo a explorar y dar creatividad para sus shows. James brown, Janis Joplin, mayra Andrade, La Lupe , celia cruz , concha buika. Tocar con Sun Ra será una de las experiencias más impactantes de mi carrera. Agradecida con tu interés de tocar con el combo .. sera una noche memorable, para ser feliz y hacer vibrar al público. Si quieren candela, candela le vamo a dar !!
AF: What are your plans for 2020 and the next decade?
D: I wanna tour in Latin America, it has become a dream I would like to fulfill.
PoQ: Travel to South America, write some new music and keep exploring, searching and interpreting those energies that keeps us together making music.
CO: Seguir poniendo sabor en el fogón. Haciendo beats poderosos , mucha letra que conecte y retumbe , muchos lugares para conquistar y mucha Alegría y nuevos amigxs
More great shows this week: