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This Band from East L.A. Just Cumbia-Fied Nirvana’s ‘Come as You Are,’ Here Is the Music Video Premiere

12:25 PM PST on December 13, 2019

[dropcap size=big]I[/dropcap]f you told my teenage self that I would be dancing to a cumbia cover of a Nirvana song in 2019, they would be both confused and happy that I eventually learned to dance. That’s the kind of energy that the East Los Angeles based band Tropa Magica brings with ‘Ven Como Eres’, a cumbia cover to Nirvana’s ‘Come As You Are.’

L.A. Taco has the exclusive premiere to the music video, directed by Eastside Photographer, Rafael Cardenas. The black and white video is a fun mix of the band hanging out on tour, doing sound checks, and performing in Los Angeles and the Bay Area. If you’re a longtime fan of Tropa Magica, then you’ll know that this is the second time they’ve covered a Nirvana song, the first being ‘Avispa del Amor’, their version of ‘Love Buzz.’

Guitarist and main vocalist David Pacheco said that the band had been working on the song for a while, playing it at shows to great responses from audiences. Growing up listening to Nirvana, Pacheco shares that Nirvana's melodic songs share a similar wavelength and energy to that of cumbias. This can be heard in the song as they effortlessly translate the lyrics to Spanish and make it their own, while still keeping true to the original. When asked about why the band decided on covering ‘Come as You Are,’ Pacheco says that it is the kind of song needed in 2019. “This is a self-love song. With everything going on, the song is a reminder that it’s OK to be you.”

Working with Tropa Magica was something Cardenas was looking forward to for a while now. “I've been a fan of their music. I photographed them once and they bring so much energy to a show that I knew I wanted to work with them again,” said Cardenas. He approached the band with a concept video but then scaled it down to keep the cost down.

He first met up with the band at one of their shows in Highland Park and after seeing the footage from that first shoot, Cardenas knew what direction he wanted to go in. “Once I saw the footage from the first day I decided to edit in homage to the Beastie Boys video for 'Hold It Now, Hit It' from 1986. That's why I shot the scenes of them singing and playing around in front of the camera. I also decided to make the video look like my brand of black and white photography. That gritty style,” said Cardenas.

‘Ven Como Eres’ is one of four songs that will be on Tropa Magica's latest EP, Smells Like Cumbia' and includes ‘Avispa de Amor,’ ‘Misirlou’ by Dick Dale, and ‘All of Me’ in the vein of Louis Armstrong and Django.

The EP is out now and available on vinyl and digitally. You can also catch them live at their EP release party on December 27 at the Factory DTLA.

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