I had hoped to take them home with me, forever trapping their tantalizing tunes into our onboard database. But wait…what’s this??? No CD? Flibbertigibbet. No CD, no website, not even a Facebook page. Apparently, practice was merely a hobby; performing this one big concert a year, enough. Phooey.
Two years later…
On the docket once again at Costa Baja for a repeat performance, we keenly anticipated the December concert date. Once again, Mala Rumba rocked.
In Spanish, Mala Rumba means Bad Rumba. Their spokesman conveyed the naming rationale, considering themselves the bad boys of flamenco rumba. But in this case, bad denotes improper. Dismissed by traditional Spanish flamenco musicians as “too far outside the box”, Mala Rumba roguishly ties in rhythms from Asia, riffs from India and haunting renditions from the Middle East. To further their rogue-state status, a Cuban-rumba bongo beat breathes new life into classic American rock songs like “Billie Jean” and “Stairway to Heaven”. These bad boys are all over the map, literally, but it works.
My Faves: A Flittering Flautist and Guttural Guitarist
The addition of a flautist to guitar-centered rumba is another no-no. As a former rank amateur myself, I appreciated his jazzed-up version of Flight of the Bumblebee as genius. Flitting effortlessly between classical and rock, this bee took supersonic flight.
Another fave… the crusty, guttural voice of one guitarist. Building suspense through the finale song, his raspy, Spanish-R-rolling and forceful, protesting chorus culminated from a low growl to near-roar. You know the old quote from SNL “like butter” (pronounced buttah)? Well, his voice crooned “like crunchy peanut butter” - smooth yet salty, accompanied by a yummy crunch.
Dancing Kids and Drunken Chickens
The bongoist encouraged our audience to clap and dance, so some kids took him up on the invitation. One girl twirled around side stage like a ballerina; another skipped back and forth behind the band. But a young boy became the star of the show with his serious demeanor and robot dancing antics, including the Macarena. At one point, some drunken dude vaulted onstage with the kids, surf-riding, flailing and flapping his arms, possibly attempting (poorly) the Chicken Dance. Amusing the first time; distracting the second. OK buddy, yes, you do a great Cossack dance. Now git!
Aha… a CD!
Elated to discover Mala Rumba finally produced a CD, we scrambled to purchase one before they ran out. Now I can take them home with me! Check ‘em out on Facebook and their professional music video on YouTube linked above. I wish you could hear that peanut buttery voice, but my iphone video sadly remains on my hard drive - copyrights are no joke nowadays. So I won’t risk it… not even for you my friends!