Somos La Gran Puchica, como la gran puchica!
The band was formed in August of 2016 in Oakland, CA. Ascribing to the notion, “Ni de Aqui, ni de alla,” (Neither from here, nor there) La Gran Puchicas’ sound brings the flavors of many cultures to the melting pot, producing a sound that includes but is not limited to: Cumbia, Cumbia Chicha, Rumba, Punk and Classical, always drawing from the diaspora of Afro-Indigenous culture. Born from the gritty streets and endless poverty, this DIY band brings an authentic flare to what it means to hone an identity, both culturally and musically.
The name La Gran Puchica represents the sound and message of the music. The band derives its name from a colloquial phrase: a la gran puchica vos, puchica vos, or just, puchica. This phrase has many uses, from denial to acceptance, from serious to slapstick; “Puchica” is the restrained version of a more vulgar term, but it nonetheless holds its potency. By using the proper noun of the phrase, we are essentially taking on the identity as The Grand Puchica, which is to say, “The Bad Bitch”. La Gran Puchica is here to tear down walls and to have a good time doing it. The music follows suit, boldly asserting its place with all original music that will drag you onto the dance floor and with lyrics which hold a double entendre that can be uplifting, or simply, fun.
La Gran Puchica is comprised of four members:
“Pico de Kyle”: Kyle Veremans, Bass Guitar. His roots are set in Rock, Punk and Post-Rock. Kyle got turned on to Cumbia recently and his heavy bass riffs show the sharp edges of his Los Angeles background.
“El Guira Guero”: Michael Veremans, Timbale. Completing the power brother duo, straight from the swamps of Flanders, Belgium, Michael has been playing drums and “latin” percussion since ’96, the year of the cowbell. A staple of the cumbia scene of Oakland Familia, Michael brings the style to the back beat with stamina and non-stop party.!
“El Senor Limon”: Jerry Limon, Conga. Proud owner of Estilo Clothing, he has been jamming up and down the state of California and playing with the best. He is bringing a variety of rhythmic styles and fusing them to the cumbia sound to produce a unique foundation to the sound of the band. Born in the East Bay of Panamanian blood he brings the estilo to the conga!
“David de la Gran”: David de la Gran, Guitar/Vox. Heading the band with charisma and energy, David has been writing music since the age of 13. Born and raised in Los Angeles, he is of mixed Garifuna, Ladino and Indigenous heritage. Together with his wah peddle he brings the psychedelic flair to this group, producing a sound hereto known as “psychedelic cumbia”.
Introducing, The Puchinas!:
Along with our usual members, we often times bring to the stage a few of our friends. Without them, the band just wouldn’t be here, they are the Puchinas, friends of La Gran Puchica!
“El Amigo Jose”: Jose Rivera. In spite of not having a neck, he’s a really good singer! Accompanying us on Coros, small percussion and Tambora. He is a member of Calafia Armada and Oakland Familia, this Salvadorian-Mexican brother has been a staple of the cumbia scene here in Oakland, having been born and raised in the East Bay his musical roots go deep in his family tree and for his charisma and raw humor, he is affectionately known to us as “El Amigo Jose!”
“El Lionheart”: Jhonathan Munoz Angulo. Jhonathan has a great big heart for cumbia and his dedication can be felt all the way to his homeland, Peru. A hard workin’ family man, he nonetheless finds time and passion to perform caja vallenato y cajon with us. Nothing can stop this Lionheart, not even being clinically diagnosed hard of hearing, for all that and more he is El Lionheart.!
“Lautaro”: Gabriel Lautaro. Found in the men’s room of peoples’ park, Lautaro, aka DJ Riddm was born and raised in Berkeley, CA of Chilean descent. Super resourceful and efficient, Lautaro has been grooming his love for cumbia for some time now and will occasionally join us as guest DJ and the Guacharaca. If there’s a person who can pull off a party in a backpack, he’s the guy. With a personality as big as his name he is, Lautaro.!