So far, Singer Estevie has made a career by taking musical genres that have long been staples in LA/Californian Chicano culture and bringing them into the forefront. Her newest single, “el paso,” is no different.
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Featuring fellow Mexican-American artist Cuco, she describes the song as “a Chicano love story,” a far too accurate description considering the apparent inspiration cumbia has on “el paso.” The two, however, do enough to update such an iconic sound while making sure it’s still perfect for a drunk uncle to cry along while gripping the speaker in the corner of a party.
Starting strong with a roaring accordion, the single is the kind of throwback track that unapologetically takes on a cumbia-inspired sound. So much so that it wouldn’t be too far-fetched for someone to mistake it being decades old or something they’ve already heard in a sonidero’s rotation. That’s not to say “el paso” is a gimmicky single, as Estevie and Cuco’s youthful vocals play off each other and capture the melodrama of keeping a long-distance relationship afloat.
Though it’s undoubtedly resonant for Mexican-Americans, those not brought up on the same music as Estevie could still follow; thanks to her and Cuco’s expressive voices, they could carry the track all on their own. Luckily, “el paso” and its homage to cumbia music, a genre so vividly remembered in many people’s upbringing, gives it that extra kick.
Estevie has much to look forward to, having just announced her first-ever headlining shows in California from September through October. And while she’s mostly stuck to releasing singles, there’s no denying there’s potential in her delivering a fulfilling full-length project judging by all of her singles released thus far. For now, “el paso” should be enough to get a party started or get you in your feels.
Words: David Sosa