metroactive logo

Cumbia Punks: Corazón Salvaje

In Music
SAVAGE HEART: Jose Cervantes of Corazón Salvaje.

SAVAGE HEART: Jose Cervantes of Corazón Salvaje.

Jose Cervantes plays it fairly straight in the traditional cumbia band he started with his younger siblings and a best friend from middle school. All of the players in Corazón Salvaje are millennials, who grew up skateboarding and listening to punk and hip-hop. But instead of mashing everything up into a genre soup, they just allow their American influences work behind the scenes.

“It’s all in our background,” says Francisco Haro, a bassist for Corazón Salvaje and Cervantes’ best friend since middle school. “Our background is the reason why we’re making music like this. It’s what we grew up with, but we grew up listening to everything. It’s an interpretation of everything put together.”

Corazón Salvaje has played at several venues that don’t necessarily fit their mold including the The Gilman in Berkeley—where Propagandhi, one of Cervantes and Haro favorite punk bands, have played. More recently the group took the stage at the third annual Selena Tribute at Back Bar SoFA, which two days prior hosted Bay Area rapper Too Short.

“It’s so accessible to get into it right away,” says Cervantes (pictured). “You can tweak it so much to have so many different subgenres of cumbia. It’s a lot like the blues that way. You can mess with it as many times as you can and each result is always beautiful in its own way.”

There’s another reason Cervantes and his band enjoy playing cumbia.

“It just gets everyone moving every time,” Cervantes says. “No matter where we play, whether it’s at a punk venue or Latin club.”

Back to top