April 26th, 2009

Muy Adhoc a los Microbuseros

That was quick.

Reflecting on our latest pandemic scare and remembering such topical tropical fare as 2003’s Sars Riddim, I wondered aloud “about 4 hours ago” who would be the first to come up with a swine flu inspired track.

/Jace chatted me up shortly thereafter to say that he had already been sent a cumbia tune about swine flu. !QUE PRONTO! Seems like record time for this sort of thing (if not too surprising for the YouTube era). So when Siddhartha Mitter wondered the same “about 1 hour ago,” noting that “brothers in côte d’ivoire got to bird flu before m.i.a. did,” I went in search and very quickly found this —

Interestingly, most commenters seem pretty upset by the thing, offended by what they see as an opportunistic show of bad taste at a time of tragedy. (Not sure whether this has anything to do with the song’s bizarre incorporation of the Indiana Jones theme.) This is true of the comments on the vid above as well as on this instantiation (w/ inferior img accmpnmnt).

I did appreciate this perspective, though —

jaja muy adhoc a los microbuseros… totalmente microbusera, jajaja xD xD ;)

I suppose that’s like a subgenre of cumbia, la microbusera. !QUE ADHOC!


  • 1. richard  |  April 26th, 2009 at 1:51 pm

    I had a conversation with a friend of mine living out in DF where we wondered what kind of opportunities people were taking with this flu outbreak. We had speculated that screen printed and styled surgical masks of all sorts would be peddled by hustling street entrepreneurs, but this song definitely is a great start. Quite a cheeky take on current events. “…suicida con taquitos de pastor…” is pure darkness and mirth.

  • 2. /jace  |  April 26th, 2009 at 4:45 pm

    A viral hit. History *precedes* itself as face. Micros are the main ‘conductors’ of cumbia. If we can’t crack jokes at darkness then what do we have left?

  • 3. Birdseed  |  April 28th, 2009 at 5:31 pm

    Prediction: Making the sequel to this mix tape (which came out in January) is going to be a challenge for Gucci Manne’s cover artist, because how do you make pigs cool?

  • 4. Birdseed  |  April 28th, 2009 at 5:34 pm

    Oh, and did you notice there’s also an English-language version of the Bird Flu Cumbia?


  • 5. lucien  |  April 30th, 2009 at 12:46 pm

    This is amazing.

    After Côte d’ivoire, the Bird Flu stopped in London and Jamaica before MIA caught it in late summer 07.




    Any articles on illnesses and “catchiness” in pop music?

  • 6. wayneandwax  |  April 30th, 2009 at 1:03 pm

    Totally agreed on the amazingness, Lucien. It seems like unprecedented immediacy as far as musical responses to topical news, but I’m afraid I don’t really have any objective/scholarly/evidentiary basis for that impression.

    Adding to the pile, Carolina Gonzalez sent the following via email this morning (and blogged it) —

    Here is a different video for the same song, with disclaimers:


    A little duranguense number:


    A sweet acoustic rocker, set to the tune of the Cure’s “Monday I’m in Love”:


    A sloppy punky corrido, with a chorus reminiscent of Iggy Pop’s “The Passenger”:


    And a reggaetón/dancehall numbah, with some weird arab references:


    To which I added this curious experiment —

    One article that does explore music as “infectious” — although rather critical of it as a racialist/racist trope, and more concerned with metaphorical rather than actual/circulatory virality — is Ron Radano’s “Hot Fantasies.” Highly recommended, if not exactly relevant to this discussion.

  • 7. lucien  |  June 1st, 2009 at 3:36 pm

    Wow, the world is so amazing right now.

    I’m partial to the Cure bite, but also like the “Passenger” corrido (which has 458,756 views!).

    Thanks for the great article. With it’s discussion of minstrel shows and racial-invasion fears, I couldn’t help but think of Pirnce Zimboo, which I think is hilarious.



    What do you think, especially debuting on the Major Lazer record? The laugh is so funny.

    BTW, the swine flu amino acid sequence went straight to my IDM nerd friends.


I'm a techno-musicologist, internet annotator, imagined community organizer.

I left my <3 in the digital global, but I reside in Cambridge, MA, where I'm from.

I represent like that.

wayne at wayneandwax dot com

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