Buyepongo returns with the psychedelic merengue track “Pegao”


Photo by Edgar Robles

Photo by Edgar Robles


In the words of Los Angeles musical shaman Carlos Nino, Buyepongo’s a “high-energy, creative dance band. The creative is there in the center, which is important, because they’re not just recycling the same-old, same-old.” Like their local friends and label-mates Chicano Batman, Buyepongo’s music is a hybrid of styles built on a range of Latin American musical traditions but firmly rooted in the band’s birthplace of Los Angeles. In fact, before leaving to start Chicano Batman, vocalist and bandleader Bardo Martinez fronted the earlier incarnation of Buyepongo.

With the departure of their charismatic vocalist in 2010, Buyepongo founder Edgar “Meshlee” Modesto embarked on an epic backpacking vision quest through Central America, where he experienced the Garifuna culture, which is a mix of African, Caribe, and Arawak influences. He returned to L.A. with a mission to re-invent Buyepongo as a band that plays more than Cumbia, but a wide variety of Afro-Caribbean folk music.

Since then, the band’s been on a tear up and down California and Baja, dropping a four-track EP in 2013 and their first vinyl single, a creative cover of a Mulatu Astake track, earlier this year. This fall, they release their first full length album, Todo Mundo, because, as Edgar explains, “In our music, there’s no such thing as borders, there’s no such thing as boundaries. If you’re from South Central or if you’re from East L.A. or if you’re from the Westside, if you’re from South America or South Africa, this is for you too.”

Check out the first single from “Todo Mundo,” the blistering-hot space-funk-merengue groove of “Pegao”:

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