Earlier this year, Billboard had an interesting conversation with Dr. Elias, one of the founding members of Los Angeles Azules, about cumbia. He said that even with a 37-year trajectory, keeping the genre alive is very challenging — especially with today’s Latin boom that explores more urban sounds and global fusions.
The challenge has been so real that it took the renowned Mexican musical group, which topped various Billboard charts in the late ‘90s and early ‘00s, 19 years to land another No. 1 hit. They did so on the Regional Mexican Airplay chart dated Jan. 26 with their Natalia Lafourcade-assisted single “Nunca Es Suficiente.”
Cumbia, which is known around the world for its heavy percussion melodies, is cherished dearly in many Latin American countries, such as Peru, Colombia, Argentina, Chile, Nicaragua and Mexico.
Prior to a world of reggaeton and Spanglish collabs, artists such as Selena Quintanilla, Juanes and Carlos Vives honored the genre in their music. But despite the challenges that cumbia artists are facing today, many millennial Latin pop acts are keeping the genre alive, making all of our tias and tios very proud.
With Bolivian, Colombian and Uruguayan singers onboard, Rombai made sure to embrace one of the most popular genres in Latin America when they dropped the cumbia-infused “Me Voy.”
In “Cumbia para Olvidar,” Chilean singer Mon Laferte sings about an unforgettable love over a sultry cumbia that incorporates piano jazz melodies.
As one of the new faces of Latin pop, Chilean singer-songwriter Cami flaunts her alternative rock powerhouse vocals in a fiery cumbia song that in a nutshell assures that she’s here to stay.
With songs such as “Oye Mujer,” it’s safe to say that Raymix ditched his job at NASA to keep cumbia alive! The Mexican artist innovates by fusing the genre with electronic beats.
CHRISTIAN YAIPEN of GRUPO 5
After a 46-year trajectory as one of Peru’s most popular cumbia groups, Christian Yaipen takes the reins as the new lead singer of Grupo 5, bringing a fresh image and sound to the table.