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SXSW Preview: Kumbia Queers

A Q&A with Ali Gua Gua of Kumbia Queers
Sarah Marloff, 10:00am, Fri. Mar. 14

The members of Kumbia Queers met by chance eight years ago at a DIY festival in Buenos Aires. The kismet meeting of the six self-described “punk, roller girls” from Argentina and México blossomed into a world-touring band that’s "reinterpreting Latin American heart-aching" machismo, politics, and fun.

Photo courtesy of Rafa Paz

This week, among the myriad musicians, bands, and singer-songwriters, Kumbia Queers has landed in Austin and are playing three shows in three days for SXSW and GayBiGayGay. They’re here, they’re queer and they’re ready to make you dance. At least that’s what singer Ali Gua Gua told me during our short interview.

Austin Chronicle: How’d you go from meeting at festival to forming a band?

Ali Gua Gua: We just had so much fun at the festival; we decided to keep playing together. But once we started we decided we didn´t want to play punk so we started doing cumbia.

AC: Is this your first SXSW?

AGG: Yes, this is the first time we´ll perform at the festival. I hope you all can come to our Austin shows and have fun with us.

AC: You're playing several shows this week - is there one you're really looking forward to?

AGG: We really try to put our heart in each show. We want to to create a friend and fan-base in every city we play so that we´ll be able to come back in the future. So, all of our shows are important.

Besides, each show depends on the crowd. If people dance and go crazy, then we do the same. We love to give and receive great wild energy from the audience.

AC: You guys “make people dance with a fury” – who/what inspires you to dance?

AGG: The joy of living makes me wanna dance. To celebrate that we’re still here, alive, and on the dancefloor. Dancing is a rush. I love the communication between body and mind.

And cumbia rhythm is really strong, hypnotic, and sexy. It makes your hips want to move.

Photo courtesy of Daren Sánchez

AC: For the readers who don't know, define Queer Kumbia?

AGG: I don´t know if it is such thing as Queer Kumbia. We play cumbia and most of us are queer, but we like to define our music as Tropical punk or Tropipunk. We’re not your typical cumbia band; we look kind of strange.

AC: Anything else you'd like Gay Place readers to know?

AGG: We’ve been touring the world for seven years now, always as independent artists. We love what we do and we love making everybody dance!

Thanks for the support! Vamos al show!

Catch Kumbia Queers tonight Flamingo Cantina, Saturday night at Russian House, and Sunday at GayBiGayGay.

Next in GayPlace: The AggreGAYtor: March 14 »