Walking into DC9, you'd think the owners decided to give the intimate venue a shiny makeover. The room's walls were decorated in gold tinsel, and a DJ was playing some of the best dance music Latin America has to offer. Unfortunately, it turned out both of those things would come and go with the band. Still, the mood was set for the night. But DC wasn't ready for the eye of the hurricane that is Carolina Oliveros and Combo Chimbita.
Hot off the release of their latest album Ahomale, Combo Chimbita played with relentless abandon, spreading their mystical sound of psychedelic rock, funk, Afro-Caribbean sounds like cumbia, and lots of analog synths. Songs like "Revelacion (Candela)" make their Latin roots known, but then the percussion and reverbed guitars quickly give way to fuzzy synths and just as quickly give way once again to frenetic Latin rhythms. But their real secret weapon is Oliveros. She performed with the crazed fervor of a shaman conjuring up spirits of the afterworld but armed with a guacharaca. Her booming voice demands your attention at every moment, especially on the title track "Ahomale" and the boisterous and overwhelming "Al Templo." Along with contemporaries like Bomba Estereo, Combo Chimbita are pushing the boundaries of Latinx music into new territory while still paying homage to those that came before them.
Ahomale is available now through Anti Records.