The bouncy, polka-like music you hear on the Mexican radio station in your town could be one of several styles: nortena, banda, conjunto, or something similar. These are superbly popular styles in Mexico, especially the in north. They are all a bit like country music, not stylistically, but in how they are appreciated. It’s the music of the people, town fair music. Played in late night clubs where people wear jeans and big hats and drink a lot of brandy. And a lot of hip lovers of eclectic music shun it like the plague.
I like it. Do you? If so, have you ever thought about what it would sound like if you mixed this stuff with electronic music?
Well, luckily for all of us who love unconventional music, the Nortec Collective has already thought of that. Nortec is a group of DJs from Northern Mexico who create this mad brew: a mix Nortena and club music, a very unlikely blend.
The result is at once original and non-threatening. By non-threatening I mean that you can dance and get down to it at your party. Nortec brings out full horn sections live. On their many recordings – collaborations between the group of DJs who make up the collective, their wide pallet of electro sounds includes all the horns, tuba bass, and funky accordion of the more prosaic music that inspires them - the sounds of a typical Mexican banda group. This isn’t pop music, but it’s catchy and danceable as hell.
One of my favorite numbers is called “Llatera” – tire shop – and sure enough they mix in lots of industrial noises – beeps, whistles, and clanging metal.
Another cool one is “Nicole Ya No Baila Aqui” – Nicole doesn’t dance here anymore. For its recording the DJ brought his portable gear into a strip club. The song tells a story, but with no words. It’s a moving story too.
Check out Nortec – even if you think you dislike the two kinds of music they use, you may still like the group.