Friday, September 3, 2010

Combat Rock.

My students this semester will be reading much of Rockin' Las Americas: The Global Politics of Rock in Latin/o America, an accessible and occasionally fascinating reader edited by Deborah Pacini Hernandez, Hector Fernandez L'Hoeste, and Eric Zolov. For, uh, background research, I've been doing a lot of listening this summer - and I've come across two covers en espanol that I thought I'd share:

"Combate a Kung Fu" - Wganda Kenya

The first is a largely instrumental cover of "Kung Fu Fighting" by Colombia's funky Wganda Kenya. I absolutely love the cheap, buzzy organ playing the melody - it works in tandem with the always-ethereal Mellotron to create a moderately psychedelic interpretation of the song. I'll take this over Carl Douglas's original any day.

"La Dama de Ojos Verdes" - The White Lines de Paco Sanchez

You'll immediately recognize this as a version of Sugarloaf's classic rock melodrama, "Green Eyed Lady." Sanchez and the White Lines pull it halfway out of the standard rock format - keeping the band electric but adding a booming brass section. Unlike the original, there's little jamming and improvisatory antics here - what you have is an intriguing, minor-keyed pop song stripped to its tension-filled essence.