Listen to XIXA's Psychedelic Cumbia Rock

In the dusty Sonoran desert city of Tucson, a troop of musical composers assembled among the hot sand, bleached cow skulls and tumbling ...

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In the dusty Sonoran desert city of Tucson, a troop of musical composers assembled among the hot sand, bleached cow skulls and tumbling tumbleweeds to envision a trippy, swirly Latin rock blend that would delight local audiences.

Xixa (seek-suh) is a psychedelic cumbia rock band from Tucson, Arizona. Comprised of Gabe Sullivan (Taraf de Tucson), Brian Lopez (Mostly Bears, Giant Sand, Calexico), Jason Urman, Geoff Hidalgo, Efren Cruz Chavez, and Winston Watson, this six-piece dust-rock cumbia band began playing Chicha cover songs after developing an obsession with The Roots of Chicha, an underground compilation of Peruvian Chicha music from the 60's released by Barbes Records.

Chicha is a form of traditional Peruvian pop music that incorporates Cuban percussion, Colombian cumbia, and the pentatonic scales of Andean Melodies. Xixa, referred to Chicha Dust back then, covered "Cariñito" by Los Hijos del Sol, a Peruvian group who mixed jazz, afroperuvian, and creole music from Peru. Audience members would run up to them after shows eagerly hoping to find out the name of that song. This set off a light bulb in the band's collective head.

Inspired by Los Destellos, Led Zeppelin, and Depeche Mode, Xixa began developing their own versions of Chicha-inspired tunes. They soon zeroed in on a perfect witches brew of roots-rock, Afro-Latin rhythms, Amazonian riffs, and psychotropic vibes. If this mix sounds good to you, check out my profile on local LA band, Thee Commons.

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Xixa will release their debut EP, Shift and Shadow, on November 16, 2015 via Barbes Records. The EP includes a cover of the Meat Puppet's "Plateau," which has been chicha-fied and covered with a sublime haze. The opening track, "Shift and Shadow" is  hazy, swirling groovy tune that embraces the serpentine movement of a desert snake. "Cumbia del Paletero" is an ode to the traditional Mexican ice cream man from your local neighborhood. Every song bleeds a distinct psychedelic haze.

They are slated to release a full-length album, Bloodlines, in February 2016. They'll also be playing New York in January 2016 and at SXSW in March 2016.


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