Not like we really needed more people making cumbia mash-ups, they are pretty much all over the world already, but hey, surprisingly enough there wasn't much done in Spain with this hybrid genre. Cherman lives in the mestizaje world capital, Barcelona, so it makes sense that he pioneers the neo-cumbia movement over there, specially considering he's another fellow Argentine expat.
Back in the nineties he was deeply involved in Buenos Aires underground scene, he used to publish a street circus magazine and host an alternative music radio show. I happen to have contributed to both those projects, so I know Cherman pretty well and I miss him (sniff, sniff), so it made me really happy to reunite recently with him through the Internet and find out that we've been both playing with cumbia in very similar ways.
But the truth is Cherman was years ahead of mine in cumbia appreciation. Back when I used to dismiss the entire genre for considering it corny and unworthy of my refined ears, he was managing this anarko-punk collective called Las Manos de Filippi and/or Agrupación Mamanis who played Cumbia With Attitude in Buenos Aires' underground back in the days when cumbia had absolutely NO underground credibility (mid-nineties that's it). They even had a crossover hit called "El Himno del Cucumelo" (which I still play at almost every party and somebody should be remixing it soon... Cherman?). That song entered history as an actual backwards crossover because being a cumbia played by rockers, it crossed from the rock scene to the traditional cumbia scene with huge success and there are plenty covers of that song around (the most famous ones by Rodrigo and by Adrián y los Dados Negros). So even then, when we were friends and colleagues with Cherman and we used to hang out on a weekly basis, whenever he tried to make me listen to this band he was managing, I payed zero attention because it was cumbia and I was too busy with my own hip-hop purism. Guess who was right?
One of the musicians from Agrupación Mamanis is now very well known in the Buenos Aires neo-cumbia scene as Lucas Luisao of Army of Dub, a dubstep pioneer in his own right. His influence is evident in Cherman's mixes. Download it and check it out. - The Hard Data, Latin but cool, Agosto 2009