New York-based quartet Combo Chimbita throb with passion on “Babalawo”

The Latinx quartet that is Combo Chimbita are a tricky one to nail down. Their sound drifts freely, bouncing flirtatiously between grooved out psychedelic influences and a more riotous punk side, all with a healthy helping of folklore sprinkled above affairs.

Having signed with ANTI-, the band are making good on their newfound launchpad, doing precisely what they do best with the bouncy, intriguing, and above all addicting romp that is “Babalawo”.

Starring in the video is esteemed Puerto Rican queer artist Edrimael Delgado Reyes, whose (we do mean it) passionate dancing adds an entirely new layer to the sway between the rhythmic and the frantic that is the song. Reyes shares, “Interpreting this song was a challenge, it has so much power and energy for me to embody through my movement. My hope is that people experience the joy and intensity I felt while dancing.

The song itself is no minor thing, either, intended as a modern exploration through Plato’s Cave.

Speaking on the significance of the song for her, lead singer Carolina Oliveras shares, “This song narrates a dream I had in which an Eggun (deceased person) assuaged my fears and encouraged me to continue down my path. They said ‘Ponte pa lo tuyo,’ a directive to follow that which is already mine — a message I felt important to share forward … While it may seem that this song is dedicated to a particular Babalawo (similar to a priest in a Yoruban context), it’s also an homage to the many teachers who form the Yoruban culture and religion around me and continue to inspire a deeper exploration from me.

Further illuminating the decision to select the song as a prominent single, guitarist Niño Lento offers, “We debuted ‘Babalawo’ when we played with Sun Ra Arkestra and it’s become a favorite song from our set. It has some hints of trap, a bit of rock, but also carries influences from Haitian music and sounds. Carolina’s lyrics are also important since they describe some of our first encounters with Regla de Ocha (often known as Santeria). These intimate moments of spiritual guidance are incredibly important to us as a band with decolonial aspirations.

Check the prideful, vibrant video for “Babalawo” below, and stay tuned for more from Combo Chimbita very soon.