Sonido Gallo Negro

Sonido Gallo Negro (translation: Black Rooster Sound) is a large combo from east Mexico City's Aragon section. They channel both the mystique and mysticism of 1960s Peruvian cumbia while integrating huayno, sonidero, boogaloo, and chicha with electric guitars, Farfisa organ, Theremin, flute, and of course, varied, driving Latin percussion. Neo-psychedelia (a big part of the original Peruvian scene), spaghetti western soundtracks, and surf music are also core elements. Clothed in monk robes and backed by spectral video and light projections, on-stage Sonido Gallo Negro are as impressive as they are exotic.

They typically utilize up to nine musicians on their recordings and in concert, but the band is actually comprised of only three core founding members: Edwin Noise (Telekrimen), Gabriel Twin (Twin Tones), and real-time hallucinogenic illustrations from graphic designer Dr. Aldrete, who also plays Theremin. (His work has graced album covers by Los Fabulosos Cadillacs and Andrés Calamaro.) Sonido Gallo Negro drenches their music with song titles with images from science fiction, voodoo, acid visions, modern tribalism and folklore. All sounds are geared toward whipping up dancers.

Formed in 2011 in Mexico City, the three men spent weeks and months discussing and rehearsing the vision for the music they wanted to make. Two thirds of its core membership came from instrumental garage rock bands, so the sounds of surf and neo-psych loomed large. When rhythms were added, the classic Peruvian cumbia was evoked and the disease spread as güiro rhythms began to embrace cumbia sounds from across Latin America, and even revisionist sounds from Europe.

The band issued its debut album, Cumbia Salvaje, in 2012 as an homage to the golden age of Peruvian cumbia. In Mexico City, they were already known for their intense, orgiastic live shows; the album release quickly catapulted them out of Mexico's underground scene and onto international festival stages and the television circuit. Albeit a very young group, they were invited to perform at that year's Kustendorf Festival in Serbia, curated by the famed Serbian Director Emir Kusturica (Time of the Gypsies). Additionally, they performed in Italy and Spain.

They issued Sendero Mistico in 2014 on Glitterbeat. Issued internationally, it was the label's first recording not to focus on Anglo sounds or music from the African continent. The band's sound developed and expanded to include elements of rhumba and mambo, tracing the influence of lineage masters such as Jaime Llano, Tulia Enrique Leon, and Eduardo Azurite. While nods to the musical past were abundant, the band also showcased their love of expansive indie rock and post-psychedelic textures with a profound sense of developmental dynamics. In 2013, they were among the headline acts at the 13th Vive Latino Festival.

In 2014, they performed at the Todos Santos Festival in Los Cabos, organized by R.E.M.'s Peter Buck, and offered two shows at the emblematic Hotel California. In 2014, Sendero Místico was released in Japan in Europe, Australia, and New Zealand. The global music press fell over itself in trying to offer enough praise.

The following year they toured Europe twice, performing concerts in Spain, France, Denmark and Belgium. They release the single "Chamula" (Métete) in different rhythms: dancing, dub, sonidero, and marimba. In 2016, they released the double-length 20-track live album Ecos de Otro Mundo, recorded during a concert at Multiforo Alicia; they promoted the release with the international Abduction Tour.

SGN has been invited to play The Museum of Modern Art, The National Center for the Arts, The Carrillo Gil Museum of Art, and The Museum of Anthropology and History. 2018's Mambo Cosmico offered an updated portrait of the band at full-strength, complete with rhythm guitars, bass, drum kit, and a horn section. Sounds and rhythms crisscrossed in songs that evoked the Afro-Cuban dance referenced in the album title to its Mexican counterpart to Afrobeat, brittle funk, nightmarish vocal chants, and heavily reverbed psychedelia. The band played SXSW in March and Glitterbeat released the full-length in April during the group's international tour. ~ Thom Jurek

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