This Is Not Merengue, Gianko y Su Sonido La Limpia


Fan Zinatra Discos, Venezuela
Rating: 70
By Carlos Reyes

New Media scholars love mashups because they’re an expression of pop culture’s ability to overlap its tendencies, from text to graphics to the fragmentation of it. My point is, we can no longer perceive music as part of a whole, there is no whole, it’s a beautiful computerized chaos. Sure there’s a big niche of ‘organic’ or acoustic musical conduct, but whoever is consuming this music is part of the new approach. I’m working on a thorough article focusing on the approach and technology as the message, and one of my bases on such project is the mashup. Particularly, the cumbia-meets-hip hop mashup, I’m putting main focus on Toy Selectah and Villa Diamante, but through my research I found this interesting album by Venezuela’s Gienko.

It’s probably not near as functional as the works by Selectah and Diamante but it’s one of those albums that help to measure just how much balance there is between original contents and add-ons. Gienko is more of an exploitative than an explorer (that would be El Remolon or Chico Sonido), and among the fascinating things about this culture, exploitative is transitioning into something that’s desired. Gienko just sounds like an underground scratcher, a sentiment that is commonly reduced to ‘commercial-booster’ in other upper/official remixers.

This is NOT merengue! (except for the last track, which is… kinda), its official title, is a deeply entertaining set of seven cumbias dancing around pop-urbs Lil’ Wayne (“El Pibe Milli), Estelle and Kanye West (“Quiereme Mi Galan Americano”) among others. They’re juicy and junky, very fun stuff although very unaware of their transformation; there’s barely any parallels between the originals, foreplay should be considered. “La Danza del Pajarillo Loco de Abajo” is my favorite track; its march-like fury is a statement of its own, very bird-like. Good for those intrigued by flashy, quick, almost rude modes, it lacks transcendence appeal but it’s plenty of fun.