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World Cafe Latin Roots: 7 Femme-Fronted Andean Electro-Alternative Acts


Caro Arroba describes her music as "tech house Andino."
Isabel Dávila, Courtesy of the artist

Caro Arroba describes her music as "tech house Andino."

There is such a superb and expanding community of musicians and producers creating Andean electro and alternative soun we've decided to highlight some of the womxn producers and femme-fronted projects stimulating this empowering movement. Ranging in soundscapes that feature ethno bass, dance floor field recordings and techno, these exceptional musicians are giving new life to often forgotten roots music.

These one-of-a-kind sound artisans are producing material as legacies of their countries ancestral music while also generously providing a musical platform for its regeneration.

Caro Arroba

Currently making music in Chicago, Quito, Ecuador-hailing producer Caro Arroba describes her music as "tech house Andino — exploring the relation between mind, nature and machines" and presents this as exhilarating sound tributes to the indigenous peoples of Ecuador. She samples traditional Pre-Colombian rhythms with the use of Andean instruments like tollos, quenachos and ocarinas. She then loops these, randomly or in sequence, into techno and house, in effect creating musical time travel.

Lara Nuh

The dynamic visuals, folk-storytelling and heart-pounding musical sensations in the video for "Tierra que suena" by producer Lara Nuh, are instantly, incredibly mystifying. It's a gutsy synergy of hip-hop, chant and electronica. The musician and spoken word artist from Lima, Peru digs creatively into the sounds of the past while not shying away from making use of current technology. In her most recent live electronic dance track "Colibrí", for example, she makes magic with an array of MIDI controllers, hardware sequencers and samples.

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Inspired by the sounds of the Peruvian jungle, plus cumbia and a close encounter with a venomous viper known as a shushupe, producer Ursula Talavera created ShuShupe, a purveyor of "folkloric music with beats." Her latest recording, "Ayahuasca Love," is included in the New Latam Beats From Perú compilation.


Cecilia Gebhard, known artistically as Barda, is an Argentine producer who composes complex down tempo electronica, nurtured by the micro-region of Alto Valle as well as Patagonia. She is considered part of the new South American wave. Her EP Lembrança debuted as a limited release 12" vinyl via Shika Shika Records in Berlin. It's a synthy, experimental mix of acoustic instruments, ethno bass and charango. Barda, together with MicaTower, form part of the Plantasía music series in Buenos Aires.

Maribel Tafur

From Lima, Peru, Maribel Tafur is an accomplished multi-instrumentalist and composer. Incorporating field recordings, her aural designs are a moody amalgam of warm, inviting ambient and down tempo sounds that create the ultimate sensory experience. Tafur has been commissioned to create soundtracks for all the restaurants run by Peruvian chefs Pia Leon and Virgilio Martinez, and has collaborated on music soundtracks and backdrops for fashion designers and their brands. In the music video for Summer Dreams, she uses Cymatics which show water patterns triggered by music playing through a speaker.

Swing Original Monks

Swing Original Monks, formed in Quito, are an invigorating, multicultural frenzy of musical energy with Colombian artist Juana Monk belting out electrifying vocals and Steph Viteri on bass. The seven-piece ensemble traverses the borderless world of music highlighting familial Ecuadorian sounds with the unconventional, like Balkan merengue or Western chicha. In addition, they combine elements of nu-cumbia, folk, rock, jazz and gypsy swing. Their album SOMOS is actually a reissue of their debut album, La Santa Fanesca. The original album caught the interest of producer Eduardo Cabra of Calle 13 who they eventually worked with, recording the new edition in Puerto Rico.

Daniela Alban

This young graphic designer and electronic producer focuses on underground music communities sharing dance floor deliriums of techno, dub, psychedelic and low frequency sounds. In addition to her electronic skills, she's an avid musician who plays guitar, drums, bass and piano, which she uses in her programming. Her music can be found on the release Insert Content, on the Miaw label along with artists Gianni and Nicolas Ricalde.

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