Recently a couple of songs by Mexican band Caifanes have popped up on my Shazam app. They are famous in their own country and wider Latin America, but as with many trailblazing bands, were initially pooh-poohed by the conservative music establishment when they first approached record companies in the late 1980s. Here’s an amusing extract from their biography on Wikipedia:
With demo in hand Caifanes approached CBS Mexico. The musical director at the time shunned them for dark new wave attire and said, “You look like fags.” At the time, Caifanes’ sound and look was influenced by British post-punk groups such as The Cure and The Jesus and Mary Chain. They dressed in black suits and sported frizzly hair and makeup. Upon hearing the demo of “Será Por Eso” (English: “That’s Why”), the CBS executive said, “At CBS, our business is to sell records, not coffins.”
I wonder what that executive thinks now when sees something like this…
Here’s a live version of one of the songs I Shazammed, Viento (Wind) . The lyrics are here.
Cumbia is a type of music that originated in Colombia. It’s catchy, infectious, happy and makes you want to dance in a wiggle-your-hips-kind-of way (particularly when you are imbibing at parties and festivals). Their cover of La Negra Tomasa was a huge hit.
Their first ever single, Mátenme Porque Me Muero (Kill Me Because I’m Dying), is typically 1980s but has stood the test of time. I like the keyboard intro and the flourish at the finish.
Here’s another one that Caifanes fans recommend, Debajo de tu piel (Under your skin).
Finally, I heard this one in a car one day after a long Sunday drive to a beach followed by a couple of beers at sundown. It was a pleasantly mellow way to see out the weekend.