Mati Zundel: South American rural beat

Mati Zundel shows us some love.

This week I was all set to write about another artist entirely and then I started listening to Matias Zundel’s new album, “Amazonico Gravitante,” and I couldn’t wait.  

I interviewed Mati in Buenos Aires in 2010 for his first ZZK Records’ release, Bailando under the name Lagartijeando, the record that introduced him to the U.S. and Europe.  We spoke about his field recordings in Bolivia and rural Mexico.  He is of that rare class of hip musicologist who transmits folk-spun art gospel to the world at large.  Speaking with him I was struck by his passion and respect for the indigenous treasures he’d dug up in various rain forests and villages along back routes through Latin America.  He talked about how the meticulous process of documenting local rhythms through field recordings along rural routes under tropical or desert conditions with a microphone in tow.  That he could take those gems and translate them for a broad audience is a rare skill.  He was making club music with ZZK, but from his travels it morphed into an anthropological form that put him in a separate category even from stellar label peers like Chancha Via Circuito.

2012 finds Zundel featured on NPR and ready to take the jungle to the northern capitals across the western hemisphere.  Give an advance listen to the new king of electro cumbia and Tron-tinged folklorico.  Mandolin-sized guitars from various mountain folk lilt over wood-thumping bass and echoing pan-flutes.  A Peruvian lady shaman guests on one song, a testosterone-charged MC the next.  

Mati is from a country town in Argentina but the songs stretch across the continent from Chile to Ecuador.  The same spinning, acoustic strum that accompanied Manu Chao hits shows up in well-crafted songs with a global appeal.  There is the common thread of reggae-meets-Latin on some tracks but Amazonico Gravitante spans a vast spectrum. Songs feel almost familiar but they manage to transport you to the farthest-reaching realms of South America, to its most exotic pockets of people and their sounds.  

Meet Mati the sonic butcher:

 
Get an insider’s view to Mati’s travels in Bolivia, where he engages in the business of empanada contraband and instigates a public fervor with a tiny guitar:


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
International

Jews in eastern Ukraine ordered to register, Kerry…

Secretary of State John Kerry condemned reports that Jews in eastern Ukraine had been ordered to register with the authorities "or suffer the consequences."

National

Chelsea Clinton pregnant with first child

Chelsea Clinton is pregnant with her first child.

National

Divers struggle in search for South Korean ferry…

By Jungmin Jang and Narae KimMOKPO/JINDO, South Korea (Reuters) - Rescuers struggled with strong waves and murky waters on Thursday as they searched for hundreds…

National

New Hampshire moves to decriminalize adultery

For the first time in hundreds of years, it's about to be legal to cheat on your spouse in New Hampshire.

Television

Dick Wolf to bring fictionalized world of 'Law…

A&E has ordered a pilot called "D.O.A." from "Law and Order" mastermind Dick Wolf that will focus on real detectives reexamining cold cases. A trio…

Movies

Review: 'Transcendence' is not stupid but sometimes lacks…

The cyberthriller "Transcendence" explores artificial intelligence, nanotechnology and other ethical quandaries, but has too much ambition, if anything.

Television

Shane West talks WGN America's 'Salem'

The actor on history lessons, a new network and showing his butt.

Music

Both feet on the ground with Aimee Mann…

What began with a cool double-bill of Ted Leo opening for Aimee Mann morphed into a full-fledged collaborative project that they're calling The Both. “There…

Sports

2014 Boston Marathon preview: Elite American, International runners…

2014 Boston Marathon: Elite American, International runners to watch

NBA

2014 NBA Finals odds: Ranking which playoff teams…

2014 NBA Finals odds: Ranking which playoff teams have the best shot at a championship. The Thunder, Clippers, Heat and Rockets lead the way.

NFL

2014 Patriots, full NFL schedule release date announced

2014 Patriots, full NFL schedule release date announced

NBA

Fantasy basketball: Finding next year's NBA studs

Before we put the 2013-14 fantasy basketball season to bed, it’s worth thinking about next year’s breakouts while they’re fresh in our mind.

Style

Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.

Wellbeing

Why is dance cardio taking off in NYC?

Instructors at some of the city's hottest classes explain why.

Travel

Earth Day travel in the Florida Keys

See why this eco-friendly destination deserves your attention.

Tech

Sorry, Facebook — FarmVille goes mobile with 'Country…

Zynga has released a version of the hit "FarmVille" tailored for smartphones and tablets in the hope of reaping a bumper crop of players.