Global Beat México: Orquesta Basura, Los Kamer, La Murga Xicohtl

Written by Marion Hodges

Feelin’ brassy with Orquesta Basura, La Murga Xicohtl and Los Kamer. Photos by (L-R): courtesy of artist, Karla Cortés and Anahi Castelan.

KCRW’s Global Beat is a series highlighting emerging artists from around the world. Our second season takes us to Mexico, hosted by KCRW DJ Raul Campos alongside our curators, Mexico City DJ and music supervisor Junf, director of Festival NRMAL Moni Saldaña, and NPR’s Betto Arcos.

Betto’s back, and he’s taking us on an epic exploration of Mexico’s long-standing affinity for brass-forward, Klezmer-esque, Southeast European folk music. Plus, we dedicate a big song filled with big feelings to our dearly departed KCRW friend and colleague, Eric J. Lawrence.

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Orquesta Basura – “American Elway” 

Mexico City’s Orquesta Basura have infused creativity into every aspect of the music making process. Crafting all of their instruments out of discarded objects (think tennis rackets and buckets), Orquesta Basura (Trash Orchestra) transcends their name by way of the music they make — a raucous, Klezmer-esque operation with a Mexican flair. 

Los Kamer – “Baluarte” 

From the Ixtapaluca municipality in the State of Mexico, Los Kamer emerged into a late-aughts Mexican music scene of artists with a shared affinity for brass-forward, Southeastern European folk music. This “Mexican-Balkan sound" is a well-documented phenomenon; a deeper dive on the subject from today’s curator Betto Arcos can be found here

As for the band that’s the focus of our current attention, Arcos says Los Kamer creates “this particular sound that has the Balkan music flavor, but also a little salsa flavor.”

La Murga Xicohtl – “Mitzemoa Noyollo” 

From the state of Tlaxcala, just outside of CDMX, La Murga Xicohtl are another group intertwining Balkan folk sounds with Mexican (in particular Oaxacan) influences. Theirs is a grand and epically emotional style of music. 

We’re dedicating their recently released song “Mitzemoa Noyollo,” meaning “my heart misses you,” to our dearly departed friend and colleague Eric J. Lawrence

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