On Thursday the Kumbia Queers, an all-woman Latin American cumbia band whose name parodies the popular all-male Kumbia Kings, launched a U.S. tour to promote their newest album “Pecados Tropicales.” Playing for an intimate crowd at the Queens Museum, the Kumbia Queers talked about the role of women in a music genre that continues to be heavily masculine, where women are more often sexy backup dancers or sex object in songs than performers. Nearly all the band members have backgrounds in punk and heavy metal, and said that they chose to develop their unique cumbia style, which they call tropi punk, in part to make a statement about the representations of women (particularly queer women who challenge common notions of femininity) within the cumbia scene
Cumbia, described by some as the “backbone of Latin America ,” is a music form that blends African and Indigenous sounds and rhythms with Latin American styles and instruments. The music is commonly heard, with distinct regional characteristics, throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, and has also been growing in popularity in the U.S. The Kumbia Queers tours continues on to Washington D.C., Chicago, and Austin, as well as multiple dates in California.