By now, if you’re a Latino in Chicago who likes to party, then there’s no way you haven’t heard of CumbiaSazo. The crew started out four years ago, as a group of Pilsen-based artists who wanted to explore their love of cumbia and tropical bass by carving out a place for it in Chicago nightlife. Since then, their signature event has grown to become arguably the largest monthly party of its kind. At the Double Door and Thalia Hall, they’ve regularly orchestrated sold-out shows with artists such as Javier Estrada, Geko Jones, María y Jose, Gracie Chavez, and many more. Now they have their sights set on something bigger: a U.S. tour that will see them expand their reach and connect with sister crews, all in the spirit of pushing forward Latinx music and club culture.
Collective members DJ Itzi Nallah, VJ caliXta, and MC/dancer Tifflove will be embarking on a 28-day tour of the Midwest, Southwest, and West Coast, performing in some cities as a soundsystem group complete with dancers and percussion, while throwing full-on CumbiaSazo nights in other cities. The group will link up with like-minded creative crews, such as Subsuelo in L.A., Radio Pocho in Minneapolis, Sonido Clash in San Jose, and The Collective Unconscious in McAllen, among others. Dubbed the Connection Tour 2015, the road trip will allow the collective to connect with and learn from other DJs, artists, and cultural organizers curating DIY events, while also building and expanding CumbiaSazo as a brand. However, Itzi Nallah maintains that “it’s not about bigger or better buzz, mostly just learning more about different aspects of our scene and culture,” displaying the spirit of curiosity and love of Latinx music culture that has propelled the group to such success – and the cultural awareness that will certainly keep them relevant for years to come.
The tour was inspired by Ruido Fest, the first and largest true Latino music festival in Chicago. Nallah pointed out how the festival “helped rejuvenate a bubbling Latinx and global music underground in Chicago of which we’ve been a part and pushing along slowly.” After connecting and sharing stories with touring artists and crews, as well as throwing a basement party that’s already gone down in history, Ruido Fest definitely put CumbiaSazo in the spotlight.
If you’re not lucky enough to live in the beautiful city of Chicago, you can finally catch CumbiaSazo elsewhere as they journey through the West. Fresh off their monthly party, the tour begins on August 28 in St. Paul and will pass through Milwaukee, Austin, Houston, L.A., San Diego, and many more cities before wrapping up in Oakland on September 20, just in time for another Chicago party on the 26th (check out their full tour schedule below). If you want to support this independent artistic movement, donations to the tour’s Indiegogo campaign are much appreciated, since the crew is embarking on this tour without any sponsors. Go ahead and be sure to check out what CumbiaSazo is all about in a city near you, because the collective is truly expanding to become a national force, and it looks like they’re here to stay.