Tucson’s mystical psychedelic-cumbia-rock band XIXA are playing 2 exclusive shows in the UK in May 2016 to support their debut album, Bloodline, out now via Glitterhouse Records in Europe and Barbès Records in the USA. The London show will also feature UK based electronic/cumbia legend Capitol K (Archie Bronson Outfit/Loose Meat), the gigs are 8th May @ Brudenell Social
Club in Leeds, and 10th May @ Birthdays in London
XIXA are psychedelic. XIXA are cumbia. But, most of all, XIXA are loud rock ‘n’ roll, embraced by the obscure side of the American southwest. Their music is rooted in a South American heritage, but is equally informed by their hometown of Tucson, Arizona’s vivid-legendary music scene. Their interpretation of chicha – Peruvian cumbia made popular in the Amazon and the poor barrios of Lima during the 60s and 70s – surprisingly reveals a common thread within the music of Arizona’s desert: an obsession for hard-edge guitars and a strong taste for mixing rock and Latin flavours.
Brian Lopez and Gabriel Sullivan commenced their exploration of chicha and cumbia years ago after devouring Barbès Records’ cult compilation The Roots of Chicha circa 2011. Both are steady members of ‘alt-americana’ legends Giant Sand’s most recent incarnation, with whom they started incorporating chicha tunes like Los Hijos Del Sol’s Cariñito into their set. “When peoplewould mob us after the shows, wanting to know the name of that one song, it was always thechicha cover. This was the case EVERYWHERE” says Sullivan.
In between producing records, touring the world with Giant Sand, Sergio Mendoza’s MamboOrkesta and Calexico as well as promoting their own solo albums, Lopez and Sullivan established Chicha Dust. Learning and arranging as many classic chicha covers as possible, the band enjoyed immediate success in Tucson and further afield, becoming part of a scene that fosters the rediscovery of chicha across the US. Over time the band began writing more original music, infused with the sounds of chicha. “When we started playing chicha covers, we learned songsinside and out and at some point that filtered into our original music,” said Lopez.
No longer a covers band, Chicha Dust was reborn earlier this year as XIXA. Besides Lopez and Sullivan on vocals and guitars, XIXA consists of Jason Urman on keyboard, Geoffrey Hidalgo on bass, Efren Cruz Chavez on timbales and percussion, and Winston Watson on drums. The Bloodline album also features a very special guest in the shape of Tinariwen’s Lyad Moussa BenAbderahmane on the track The World Goes Away. As a collective their musical backgrounds could not be more diverse: “Efren was only into Latin music until a few years ago and didn’t even knowwho Led Zeppelin were. Meanwhile, Winston’s toured extensively with people like Alice Cooperand Bob Dylan,” says Lopez.
The band’s artwork and videos are curated and produced by highly acclaimed Tucson visual artists Daniel Martin Diaz and Paula Catherine Valencia. Their embrace of gothic and surreal imagery is a perfect match for XIXA’s uniquely southwestern psychedelic sounds. Bloodline was recorded at their own Dust and Stone Studios in Tuscon, Arizona.