Che Sudaka: Almas Rebeldes

Street Smart

Listening Post 166. They began in struggle, illegal immigrants from Colombia and Argentina playing their music on the streets of Barcelona. Fifteen years later, Che Sudaka has performed more than 1,500 shows in 45 countries, etching a profile as exuberant, socially conscious, dance provoking, independent thinking exponents of cumbia-ska-punk. Following a tradition of controlled chaos, never doing just one thing at a time, their album Almas Rebeldes (Rebel Souls) is both a greatest hits collection and a reinvention: In addition to three new songs, they rework 11 past hits with guest artists, adding stylistic tropes (rap, ragga, reggae, Afrobeat) and teasing nuances out of every track, resulting in a fresh sound. While band members sing mostly in Spanish, the invited performers from Europe, Africa and the Americas offer a tour of Babel. The album covers the communications spectrum from laughter to deception: A child’s voice introduces La Risa Bonita (Beautiful Laugh), a hymn to the curative power of optimism (video 1, feat. Manu Chao); while Mentira Politika (A Politician’s Lies), is a declaration of despair (video 2, feat. Capricornio Man). Music magnifies message in Menino da Rua (Street Boy), balancing poignant lyrics about homelessness—in Portuguese, Spanish and Portuñol—to a rock-axé beat (video 3, feat. BNegão); and in Los Objetivos (Goals), one of the album’s new songs, focused on the need to aspire (video 4). There’s no shortage here of stories reflecting Che Sudaka’s identity and experience: The title track calls on rebel souls to rise up, shout the truth and, not coincidentally, resist the banning of street music and confiscation of guitars. Todo vuelve (Everything Returns) asserts that nothing good is ever lost, that tide, time and truth always come around—a fitting message for musicians who stand on august stages and still sing of what they learned on the street. (Cavernicola Records)

Che Sudaka
Kachafaz (Marcos Alejandro Fernandez): vocals
Cheko (Sergio Morales): accordion, keyboards, punk machine, backing vocals
Leo (Leonardo Gabriel Fernandez): vocals, Spanish guitar
Jota (Jairo Penda Castro): electric guitar, backing vocals

 

La Risa Bonita/Beautiful Laugh:
“Laughter heals the soul, changes the moment if it’s real
It’s beneficial, good for your health, and improves the way you feel
It crushes anger, not to mention driving away fear
It’s that best friend you’re always expecting, whose voice you want to hear

The beautiful laugh, that laugh is good
Good good good! (x4)

A laugh keeps you company, gives you calm, gives you joy
A laugh expels your fright and brightens the day for girl and boy
A laugh cures disgust, unease or lovesickness, in every instance a gain
A laugh heals everything and is the best remedy for pain!”

 

Mentira Politica/A Politician’s Lies
“The only one who smiles on the street is the politician of the day,
From a poster he promises a world of change, he always has his say
People don’t have time, they don’t have time to wait
People don’t have time, they don’t have time to think before it’s too late 

Give them, give them blah blah blah
Political lies
Give them, give them blah blah blah
Political lies

The years go on by but nothing changes
The rich are richer/The poor much poorer
People don’t have time, they don’t have time to wait
People don’t have time, they don’t have time to think before it’s too late”

 

Menino da Rua/Street Boy
“Street boy I am, no one remembers me/The Ministry of Interior has forgotten about me
I miss my mother
I miss playing football
I miss Carnival
Street Boy I am 

Go, go, my life is going
Street boy I am (oh, oh, oh)(x4)

Street boy, urchin of the street/Every life, a story
Tell me how much it’s worth?/Tell me, how much is a life worth?
What is your value?/Who hides the value?
Rare the flowers, many the thorns, many
Within survival, a cycle of violence

Run, boy, run
May the sands of the hourglass defy your existence”

 

Los Objetivos/Goals
“Goals are the basis of the movement/Goals give you strength to continue
Goals make you strong in the face of the impossible/Goals give you the brightness to live.

If you have them you feel strong in the face of failure/If you have them you know that happiness is possible
If you have them, you never live without movement/If you have them you want to live

Goals keep you young and on the road/Goals revive your will
Goals give you a strong response to problems/Goals always take you to your truth”

 


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