Sávila Credit: Lindsey Byrnes

Portland trio Sávila explore their Mexican roots through the venerable style of cumbia, which spread among popular big bands in the 1950s and remains a staple of family celebrations and weddings throughout the Americas. Launched in 2016 by guitarist and bass-synth player Fabiola Reyna (founder of She Shreds magazine) and vocalist and percussionist Brisa Gonzalez (who were soon joined by drummer Papi Fimbres), Sávila take the genre centuries forward and into an altered space. The surf-rock-infused cumbia variants on their 2018 self-titled debut album are lightly flavored with electronic samples and loops, and a recent interview in Willamette Week suggests they were recorded under the influence of tequila and ’shrooms. “Cántame” samples the cries of a Mexican market vendor and bits of old-school Mexican hymns before taking flight, with Gonzalez’s ethereal chants and Reyna’s trancey guitar licks weaving together and flowing over Fimbres’s textured beats. Sávila also use languorous grooves that evoke a form of 1970s street-corner cumbia called rebajada (“slowed down”), which aimed to replicate the dragging feel of cassette tapes played on boom boxes with dying batteries. Opening the show are Ida y Vuelta, a Chicago quartet formed by Latinx musicians with roots in Mexico and Panama. They specialize in son jarocho, which originated in Mexico’s Sotavento region nearly 500 years ago (“La Bamba” is the best-known son jarocho tune in the States). They create folkloric beats with African, Spanish-Arabic, and indigenous influences, using harp, a variety of string instruments that evolved in the Americas from European guitars and lutes, and percussion such as the quijada de burro—a donkey jawbone scraped across the teeth to produce a rhythmic rattle. Both groups take cues from music rooted in centuries past and propel their rhythms into today’s world.   v