Friday, September 14, 2007
Dick El Demasiado and Super Zizek
Dick El Demasiado, often referred to as the godfather of the Buenos Aires experimental cumbia scene, is back in town. Oddly enough, he is not even Argentinian, but Dutch, and the story of how he became one of the most important figures in experimental Latin music is a fascinating one. After years spent as an artist, television producer and radio pirate in Europe, in the mid 90's he invented Festicumex (Festival de Cumbia Experimental) - literally invented it, because the festival never happened. Yet that did not stop Dick from creating a Festicumex website detailing the entire event, including a lineup of entirely fictional artists. Somehow the site gained a large following, prompting Dick to write and record music for each of the artists and eventually assume the identity of one of his creations. At that point, Dick El Demasiado was truly born.
After coming to Buenos Aires, Dick put together the second Festicumex festival in 2003. This one was real and featured live performances from many of his once-fictional artists. Dick funded and coordinated the entire event, even finding musicians to assume the identities of the artists and participate in what he calls an "incredible organized lie". The festival was a huge success, prompting another Festicumex in 2004. Along the way Dick was also releasing albums as Dick El Demasiado and becoming a notable artist in his own right. He now splits time between Europe and Argentina and constantly thinks up ways to push the boundaries of cumbia even further.
Earlier this week I actually interviewed Dick El Demasiado for Whats Up Buenos Aires. Discussing everything from his childhood (a large part of it was spent in Latin America) to how he discovered cumbia and eventually started experimenting with the genre, Dick was surprisingly candid and open with his opinions, including his thoughts on the developed world's fascination with the music of the Third World. He also detailed some future plans, including an upcoming show at a women's prison and a live cumbia album he will be recording in the Arctic Sea.
This Saturday, Dick El Demasiado is headlining Super Zizek, another large-scale installment of the forward-thinking weekly party. Also performing is El Remolón (whom I gushed about last month) and Refusenik, an expat DJ who not only throws down a mean set but has also taught me the wonders of Serato's internal mode. It should be fun.