Words by Jane Cornwell
Electrically charged, poles apart from the average cumbia
If ever Pedro Almodóvar wanted a new muse, he need look no further than La Yegros, the kooky queen of nu cumbia. Blessed with the strident yet sweet vocals of a cantadora and a knack for combining Argentinian folk traditions with cutting-edge beats, it’s her cartoonish persona that lifts her into the A-list.
This time around the France-based, Buenos Aires-born singer has recruited guests including Argentinian folk hero and Grammy-winning composer Gustavo Santaolalla (on the Andean stringed instrument ronroco) on lead single ‘Chicha Roja’, a ludicrously catchy cumbia with novel electro touches and an animated video that sees La Yegros as a chicha-drinking goddess who takes the ancestors on a psychedelic journey through rural South America. Elsewhere, Lindigo from La Réunion lend otherworldly vocals and visceral maloya rhythms to songs that twang and boing and jig. But it’s La Yegros, spitting lyrics, who commands attention.