Art History: Cumbiaton's Queerantine Virtual Nightlife Proves Music is The Great Unifier
Updated: Jun 18
Introducing "Art History," a new series showcasing artists documenting history.
Art isn't a luxury, it's a necessity. In moments of uncertainty, we look to artists, absorbing their astute recollection of the times like that first glass of water in the morning. Our House is committed to writing history through the eyes of our artistic community. We've created "Art History," an ongoing series & accompanying playlist highlighting the current state of the world through the eyes of artists from today and yesterday. Art History helps us see how far we've come, or haven't.
Cumbiatón’s events had become a meeting point where friends, chosen family, colleagues, and lovers came together on the dance floor to shake life’s worries away to the tune of Cumbias and Reggaeton. In early March, we hosted our third annual Womxn of Cumbia, not knowing it would become our last in-person event of 2020.
When we could no longer gather in large groups, causing all upcoming Cumbiatón events to be cancelled, the switch to the digital world was inevitable. But we knew our people still needed the music, the community, and more importantly the joy. We got our team together and found a solution. DJ Sizzle Fantastic and DJ Funky Caramelo took over Instagram, live streaming their sets, while Normz La Oxaqueña created a live Q&A series.
The Cumbiatón team and resident DJs, keep the party going from their living room to the world.
"Even though Covid19 has altered my reality as a DJ/ Event producer, I am grateful to still be able to connect with people online and find pockets of joy through music and dance." - DJ Sizzle Fantastic (@sizzle007)
"Quarantine has definitely brought a new perspective. I’ve had to learn how to adapt to the new methods of virtual nightlife. Most importantly, learning how to engage with online viewers when they are not physically present. This hasn’t been an easy task, yet it is a task that I find myself improving at. It has been super rewarding to develop a connection with our following simply via Instagram Live comments, IG live reaction emojis and Dance Party Zoom calls. Quarantine has been a reminder that in fact, music really has the power to eliminate boundaries." - DJ Funky Caramelo (@funky.caramelo)
Normz La Oaxaqueña, Cumbiaton’s co-founder and production manager, created a new Q&A segment called “Oversharing with Normz” where she interviews our party goers, past performers and collaborators, discovering juicy details in every interview
"The “Oversharing” live Q&A series began as a way for supporters to learn more about the team and the Cumbiatón movement. We were forced to adapt and find different methods to continue holding space to center queer undocumented people of color and their stories. Personally, each interview brings me joy since it allows me to stay connected and
interact with friends during these difficult times. - Normz La Oaxaqueña (@normzfajardo)
Julio Salgado, Cumbiaton’s resident illustrator and hype man extraordinaire, loves to draw party-goers on the spot.
It's been a couple of weeks since I picked up my sketch pad. Been busy working on a couple other things but I've never been this long without drawing. That Rona artist block is real. But I'm happy for my Cumbiatón family and the network of artists I'm part of to just keep checking in on each other. - Julio Salgado
It goes without saying that as immigrants we quickly adapt to new situations, we create new ways to stay connected to our community and bring the music to keep us moving. And so, during this pandemic we will keep the music playing and moving our bodies to get through this, together.
You can follow Cumbiatón on Instagram @Cumbiaton_la
Meet The Family
Paolo Riveros is a transgender photographer from Lima, Perú. He began his career documenting the Los Angeles nightlife scene as "La Madre is Watching," which later developed into photojournalism, covering social justice movements. His body of work is at the intersection of immigration and LGBTQIA issues documenting critical moments and the people behind the movements.
Most recently, he is part of Cumbiatón as their resident photographer, documenting events nationwide.
Learn more about Paolo here: www.palomalibre.com