Splitting his childhood between Los Angeles county and Ocotlán, Mexico, David Barragán began rapping as Olmeca in the 1990s with underground LA outfit Acid Reign. After working as voice for the leftist Zapatista movement for a U.S. audience, Olmeca returned north of the border to try a solo venture in bilingual art. His 2013 album Brown Is Beautiful cleverly blends hip-hop traditions with Afro-Cuban rhythms, whether a hybrid of cumbia and trap or chicano soul and backpack rhymes.
From Southern California, Buyepongo works in party-rocking combos of merengue, punta and cumbia. Singer and percussionist Edgar Modesto drives the cross-cultural display, with emotional energy in his voice and rhythmic blasts from his congo and guacharaca. On saxophone, Angel Hernandez wanders outside the parameters of Afro-Cuban jazz, with fluttering, angry bee lines reminiscent of Jackie Mclean.
San Anto’s Lonely Horse rounds out the genreless bill, with guitarist Nick Long’s Native American roots informing the band’s heavy desert rock.