Cumbow Combow Combo

As I linkthunk yesterday, I was gassed to hear (via /rupture) a reggaeton-inflected remix of some Mexican cumbia (video here). I was doubly gassed tho to see it labeled “cumbow,” which I took to mean cumbia + dembow or, perhaps, “with (dem)bow,” as in cum bow, to employ a little Latin, a la the Spanish descendent con. Now maybe that latter interp is a stretch, but this afternoon it was brought to my attn that there’s another, similar remix by the same crew, except that this one is labeled “combow,” which seems to suggest the con/combo meaning. Anywho, check it out —

What’s especially interesting to me about this one is that, whereas the Julieta Venegas version employs dembow-style snares (that ol’ 3+3+2), the remix for Miranda features one of the very same loops / samples used in a great many reggaeton songs. So in this case, remarkably and quite audibly (to me?), it’s not even a matter of bringing in “dembow” / reggaeton rhythms — which is essentially what the Venegas version does with its 3+3+2 snares (not a common characteristic in cumbia) — it’s actually the use of the very same drum samples used in reggaeton. Compare the Fever Pitch / Bam Bam -derived intro from Lady Saw’s “Rich Girl” (a common sample-source for reggaeton producers) to the ticking drum track running through the Miranda song. Rings a bell, no?

If I Was A Rich Girl – Lady Saw

Not only does this show how Sonidero Nacional are able to produce a reggaeton-y sound thru a well-informed production touch, this is a great example of reggaeton’s continued resonance and influence. What perhaps makes it even more remarkable is how subtle the incorporation is. I suspect that neither of these tunes necessarily screams “reggaeton!” to most listeners. A colleague who writes about cumbia didn’t hear reggaeton in them at all.

Do you?