Combo Chimbita is a New York outfit by way of Colombia, a troupe that manages to alchemically fuse the perennial rhythms of the Afro-Latinx diaspora with a modern-day consciousness. After even a cursory listen, it’s clear that Combo Chimbita’s claim of a youth spent listening to metal, prog and psych funk checks out. Somehow, these disparate styles manage to hook together courtesy of a framework informed by the cumbia music of Colombia and coloured with late night samba/bossa nova.
Adding to this already impressive sonic palette is guitarist Niño Lento’s ability to create a King Tubby-era Studio One sound with just a couple of effects pedals, and multi-instrumentalist Prince of Queens’ screeching, pulsing synth loops. Propelling it all is drummer Dilemastronauta’s AfroLatinx backbeat, which he punctuates with jazz, funk, soul, and rock flourishes.
All this backbone supports Combo Chimbita’s primary weapon: Carolina Oliveros, whose voice — veering in a fluid heartbeat from soulful to snarling and explosive — weave tales that, even without knowing the language, are forceful, dark and gripping. Following a path laid out by Sun Ra and Os Mutantes, Combo Chimbita manages to trace the prophetic traditions of their ancestry while offering a ferocious and utterly unique taste of dystopian, psychedelic tropicalia.
Biography by Derek McEwen