Know Your Netlabel: 7 Essential Releases from Regional, Putting a Twist on Guaguancó, Vallenato, and Other Regional Stylings

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It seems fair to say that the birth of the label Regional was meant to be. After having a brief chat with David Bugueño aka El Buga, one of the label’s founders, it’s quite possible that the Chilean music scene was not only expecting them, but needing them as well.

Perhaps most impressive, though, is the way Regional was created. The label started out as a crew of aficionados that knew something was missing, so they rounded up their favorite bands and artists from, you know, the region, and decided to start a label with and for them.

David told us, “There are a lot netlabels in Chile and that’s great, but there are just a few that are interested in global bass, cumbia, and other tropical rhythms… The majority is more interested in experimental, electro-acoustic music, noise, hip hop, and other types of electronic music.” Actually, El Buga added, “most of Chilean musicians and producers stopped generating tropical music.” In response to this shift, the first two Regional compilations focused on shining a light on musicians from Peru, Mexico, Colombia, and Argentina, rather than from Chile, establishing Regional as a label that satisfies ears from all over the world. Without much time lost, the label began including Chilean artists as well, such as Señor Chancho, another Regional founder.

Regional styles like guaguancó, joropo, milonga, mambo, moombathon, reggeaton, samba, vallenato, and so on are all covered, always with a particular twist. You’ll find the stylings of DJ Neber reworking Latin oldies with hip hop breaks (recently featured on Remezcla) or the likes of JMKR, pushing a style coined by the label as Andean Bass. And the list goes on and on…

As David admitted, “nos falta calle,” meaning they are not well-known in their own country, but he’s not overly concerned. With just about one year under their belts, they’ll soon be reaching local ears as well with some surprises they have in store for their first anniversary.