Everybody's Dengue Dengue Dengue!
Dengue fever is an infectious tropical disease caused by the dengue virus. Dengue Dengue Dengue! is a fusion of cumbia with tropical bass and psychedelic elements – and so infectious that it makes it impossible to stand still. The DJ duo from the Peruvian capital, Lima, will be at Recyclart to present their new EP, Serpiente Dorada – as venomous as a serpent, but with a golden touch.
Since 2010, Dengue Dengue Dengue! has been rising steadily in the world of tropical bass thanks to its mix of electronica and local rhythms such as cumbia and chicha, with the addition of a sizeable dash of psychedelic sounds. “We had been operating for some time as producers of bass music, dubstep, and other styles, when – around 2010 – we realised that it would be much more interesting to mix that electronica with our roots,” says Rafael Pereira, one of the two producers and DJs.
We expect new trends in global bass to come from London, New York, or Rio de Janeiro. But Lima? “That is because for a long time Lima and other South American cities had no facilities for making electronic music and, above all, no opportunities to distribute the music,” recalls Pereira. “With the Internet and globalisation, that has changed. Anyone can make music with a computer: you just have to want to and to have some talent.” The DJ duo also performs some of its music live. “We play with eight audio channels, to which we add kicks, strings, and electronic elements. We make live mash-ups by playing with loops and adding güiro, the rasping noise that gives that typical cumbia sound.”
Their EP Serpiente Dorada has more in common with global bass than with electronic cumbia. That was a conscious choice. “There are lots of influences from soul-bass and Afro-house in 120 bpm: that is a good bit faster than cumbia,” says Pereira. “We also use rhythms from other regions of Peru, such as south of Lima, where a lot of black people live. They have blended Peruvian music with African rhythms on cajón, a wooden box, and quijada, the jawbone of an ass. We also use a lot more dub and Jamaican colours; and there are song samples on half of the numbers.”
One thing that catches the eye at a live performance by Dengue Dengue Dengue! is the masks they always wear. “The masks are part of a broader whole: we are an audio-visual collective of two DJs and VJ Sixta, who projects visuals that we make with her. The masks are also a reference to the patron saint festivities in the Peruvian interior, in which those taking part in the parades wear masks. Our masks are inspired by traditional designs.”
There is nothing venomous about the gilded serpent of Serpiente Dorada. “The name comes from a sample that we use: a man who introduces himself as Serpiente Dorada stands up for the Inca people, before switching to talking about the legalisation of marijuana. In the Amazonian forest region of Peru, the snake has a sacred significance. When people take ayahuasca, a psychoactive concoction with powerful mind-altering effects, they often have visions of snakes. There is nothing revolting about them: they are a positive omen.”
NIGHTSHOP PARTY: DENGUE DENGUE DENGUE! 28/3, 23.00, €5, Recyclart, Station Brussel-Kapellekerk/Gare Bruxelles-Chapelle, Ursulinenstraat 25 rue des Ursulines, Brussel/Bruxelles, 02-502.57.34, www.recyclart.be