Borderline Latin is an exploration of the influence of Latin music in styles, places and rhythms beyond its traditional borders, and of different types of cross-pollination between Latin music and other musical creatures. Each week, we will feature a song or musical style whose rhythm, themes, melodic inflections or influences have earned it the name of Borderline Latin.
Watcha Clan: what a name. They hail from France. They are Sista K in vocals, Suprem Clem in laptop, keyboards and accordion, Nassim in guitar, and Matt Labesse in double bass and second guitar. Clem also takes care of programming and sampling, and Nassim does some vocals and plays a gumbri. They are based in the multicultural city of Marseille, where they mix musical influences from the four corners of this beautiful planet.
Months ago, I stopped short of featuring them in this column. They had launched a call to musicians and artists from around the globe to produce a remix of their song “We Are One,” which was a really nice experiment but sounded a little hippy for me at the time. Don’t get me wrong: I still believed it was a good experiment on breaking borders and creating music in a rhizomatic fashion; it’s just that the Mayan Apocalypse took the best of me. I recently found out that their song “La Patera” will be included in an upcoming anthology of “happy sad Latin music” and, after rediscovering the track, I realized there had always been a hidden sadness and depth in Watcha Clan’s music.
This doesn’t mean they won’t make you want to dance. Watcha Clan is an intoxicating fusion of electronic, gypsy brass, a heavy dose of dub, sounds and rhythms from Sephardic folk music, lyrics in Hebrew, Spanish, English, French: truly Babelian. Their latest album, Radio Babel (available in ), is on a mission to rectify the “bad press” that this biblical city has received, as well as “destroying boundaries everywhere.” Last October they launched an EP with those We Are One Remixes I mentioned earlier. Get a glimpse of how the experiment went by listening to Mexico’s Danochilango’s remix of “We Are One.”
Download Watcha Clan’s We Are One Remixes below: