Rooted in Colombia and based in New York, Combo Chimbita lives in the future. After playing together for years, these first-generation New Yorkers—powerhouse vocalist Carolina Oliveros, synth and bassist Prince of Queens, guitarist Niño Lento, and drummer Dilemastronauta—began experimenting with different traditional musical styles during their late night residencies at Barbès in Brooklyn. Exploring the connections between visual identity and improvisational long-form trips, Combo Chimbita came together as a four-piece band after they started encouraging more vocals by Carolina Oliveros, who tightens the rhythm with her guacharaca. “Although their backgrounds are in heavy rock, metal, and psychedelic funk and soul, they gleefully fuse elements from cumbia, 70s funaná from Cape Verde, kompa from Haiti as well as salsa & reggae, mixing the Guacharaca and futuristic-yet-retro synth sounds.” – John Schaefer, WNYC
Inspired by Sun Ra’s Afrofuturism, Combo Chimbita champions Tropical Futurism, “the idea that the future doesn’t necessarily have to be this super white Western high-tech Star Wars stuff; that the indigenous ideas and culture of people of color, people of Latin America, can also represent a magical and substantial future. It’s a vision that maybe a lot of people don’t necessarily think about often. The old and deep knowledge that indigenous people have of the land has been neglected for many years as part of capitalism and colonization.”
On the first day of summer, June 21, 2017, Figure & Ground releases Abya Yala, a full-length sonic journey through Tropical Futurism comprised of eight original tracks by Combo Chimbita. Produced by Lily Wen, the band recorded the album live in the same room downstairs at Shahzad Ismaily’s new studio in Brooklyn. Limited to 500 vinyl copies, the 12-inch LP release features a hand-drawn insert with the Abya Yala story and a download card. It is available at fgrecords.com.
“frontwoman Carolina Oliveros soulfully belts a tale about searching for an inner light in her life — leading her band to embark on a spiritual journey throughout the album” – The Fader
“Combo Chimbita uses cumbia as a building block but they get psychedelic, trippy and downright freaky, with an inventive combination of rhythms and sounds from Africa, the Caribbean and Latin America.” – NPR