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Sonidero City. Mirjam Wirz. Mirjam Wirz & Buzz Maeschi (Eds.).

Sonidero City – Sound system and DJ Culture in Mexico and Colombia, by Mirjam Wirz

“DJs as messengers delivering greetings between friends and communiques between rival gangs: Cumbia-rhythms slowed down to accomodate traditional dance styles. Low tones and ludicrously distorted voices. The Sonidero-culture of Mexico’s neighbourhoods is impossible to ignore.” – Jonathan Fischer on Sonidero City, DU Magazine 819 / 2011

The long-term photographic reportage of Sonidero City is an homage to the Cumbia DJs / Sonideros of Mexico City, who from the 60s to today have stood behind their sound systems’ mics, sending music as well as greetings across the capital’s streets. While some stack loudspeakers into massive towers, others stick to a modest set-up, spinning their own LP collections on 70s-era record players. They go by names such as Sonido Sensación Tropical, Sonido África, Sonido La Conga.

In contrast, on Colombia’s Caribbean coast, giant flourescent- painted speakers called “Picó” spill afro-colombian Champeta music through local communities, where the accompanying dance of choice is called “polishing the belt buckle.”

Over the course of three years Swiss photographer Mirjam Wirz visited the living rooms, courtyards and dance events of Mexico City, Monterrey and Barranquilla. The result is her book Sonidero City, a lively visual collection tracing the paths Mexico and Colombia’s sound system culture have forged.

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