is a phenomenon initiated by Dick Verdult, a Dutch artist working with music and media. The scene exists largely in a virtual world of websites in Spanish. Steaming video, surreal soundtracks and bizarre animations, mysterious organizations and record labels with no productions are connected by links to more links that return to wood paneled beginnings; it is an annular microcosm of pop-ups and teasers populated with flamboyant and grotesque characters.
Experimental cumbia’s beginnings were associated with Verdult’s art/media group I.B.W. (Instituut voor Betaalbare Waanzin or Institute for Affordable Lunacy) based in Eindhoven, The Netherlands – a group known for low-budget internet and media experiments. After a visit to Argentina in 2002, Verdult began working with Latin American popular music known as cumbia – referencing his formative years, which were spent in South America. The result was an unclassifiable strain of comic, Amiga-style downbeat rhythms, which Verdult coined ‘cumbia lunatica’. He then invented ‘experimental cumbia’ as an umbrella term for his new genre.
Verdult developed a context for his new world with the web site www.camulcumex.com, and created a unique, anti-dated festival-that-never-happened to support it called Festicumex, on the premise that no genre has currency without its own festival. Although the festival had a program, artists, musicians that existed in varying degrees of authenticity and even records of flights and hotel bookings, it was an event without performances; a complete fabrication.
His creation developed a life of its own after his first CD release gained a surprise following in Latin America - and consequently the Festicumex sequel, Festicumex 2, was a real event, which had considerable success. Dick El Demasiado (literally: Dick too much) has since released a CD every year, three to date: No Nos Dejama Afietar
(… we will not be shaven…) Pero Peinos Gratis
(…but we comb for free…) Al Peridido Ganado
(…the lost cattle...).
Manuel Schaller, Argentinean musician and producer, supports the music of Dick El Demasiado, Festicumex, and indeed most ‘experimental cumbia’. He creates insolate themes, moving in territories of electronics, dislocated melodies and rhythmical fiction, suturing traditional cumbia to the indescribable, with incisive social comment lurking.