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Orquestra Pacifico Tropical

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Tender Loving Winter Times

Comparatively speaking in regards to the rest of the west coast, it's cold as shit outside. Since most of us have been schlepping around our respective abodes in snow day sweatpants attire, it's time to put on our finest doodads for a night that's sure to be less dramatic than the ones back in grade school. Say hello to yet another year of Tender Loving Empire's Winter Formal.

TLE doesn't disappoint, and this year's lineup continues in their good holiday faith. Rap Class will be up first, setting a lasting ambiance with his moody yet movement-inducing electronic sounds. With the voice of a soulful angel and enough rhythm to make anyone scream "okurrr!," Maarquii will be giving everyone some much needed life before that cumbia kicks in and gets everyone all sweaty, thanks to Orquestra Pacifico Tropical.

We're all in need of dancing away this shitty year and TLE's Winter Formal allows us to do so while still spreading some Christmas spirit. The dance is a toy drive for the Portland Fire & Rescue Toy & Joy Makers, so come out this Saturday with $10 and a toy (or $20 and no toy, as half of that will serve as donation). Come dressed at least mildly to impress, hit up the onsite photobooth and turn up for the season!

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Preview: Orquestra Pacifico Tropical at MS Studios 12.4

You Down With OPT? Yeah You Know Me! Portland's premier Cumbia band, Orquestra Pacifico Tropical, bring the fuel for your dance party fire. Warm up your frigid winter hide this Thursday evening at Mississippi Studios in one of your last opportunities to catch this lively troupe before their drummer extraodordinaire Papi Fimbres and wife head to Germany for the year. Turntin the temp up even higher Thursday night, Tezeta opens the show with their jazzy 70's Ethiopian dance music. Music starts at 9. Don't be a dufus, shake yo feet!

- Travis Leipzig

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Photos: Orquestra Pacifico Tropical at the Doug Fir Lounge

 

Click here to check out the rest of the photos from Orquestra Pacifico Tropical's release show for Rio Frio at the Doug Fir Lounge 6/25. Photos by Todd Walberg.

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Premier: Orquestra Pacifico Tropical's Rio Frio

Before I dive into describing the intoxicating mix of sounds that Orquestra Pacifico Tropical have etched onto their debut record, Rio Frio (cold river), I would like to offer a brief history of the music they play so passionately, Cumbia. Cumbia has been around for hundreds of years, historians believe that the pulsing rhythms in which the genre is founded originated in African tribes and brought to Central America by slaves during the Spanish colonization in what is now Columbia. There these rhythms met claves, flutes, guitars and, eventually, accordions to create the cross-cultural dance music that we now call Cumbia.

The rhythms of Cumbia have been evolving since their inception, yet always retaining a groove that makes the style universally danceable. Orquestro Pacifico Tropical have taken this groove and added hazy guitar tones, roaring horns and a storm of percussive dexterity to create an album that is completely contagious. The opening track, “Macondo” sets an energetic tone with sweeping rhythms, blasting horns and anthemic vocal shouts. It got me dancing around my apartment immediately, and I didn’t stop moving my feet until the last note was hit and the cacophonic introduction to “Andalucia” began. From here the album moves through surfy guitar leads (“Petrolero"), hypnotic drumming (“Negra”) and vocal shouts that made me wish I spoke more Spanish so that I could sing along. The music that Orquestra Pacifico Tropical have created on Rio Frio is equally traditional, novel and undeniably fun. Join them for their record release show with 1939 Ensemble and Point Juncture, WA at Doug Fir Lounge on Wednesday, June 25th to pick up a copy on vinyl for yourself. 

- Ben Toledo 

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