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Build Your Own Collection: Cumbia Edition

Amoeba Music, San Francisco

Amoeba Music, San Francisco

In Music+Travel Worldwide, Eve Hyman introduces you to some of the hottest new cumbia artists coming out of Buenos Aires. But what can you do if you can’t make it to the record stores in BA’s cumbia hotspots — the stalls of the Constitucion train station or at Miles Discos (Honduras 4912, Buenos Aires; +51 11 4832-0466) and Zivals (Serrano 1445, Buenos Aires; +54 11 4833-7948) in Palermo Soho? Well, if you’re in the States, you’re in luck — there are still some top-notch record stores for fans of every genre. Here are some of our favorites on the East and West Coasts. Don’t see your favorite on the list, then let us know: where do you go for your sound fix?

Amoeba Music: The grandaddy of them all, this West Coast shop has outlets in L.A. (6400 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood; 323-245-6400 ), San Francisco (1855 Haight St., San Francisco; 415-831-1200) and Berkeley, Ca (2455 Telegraph Ave., Berkeley; 510-549-1125). The world’s largest independent record store has been going strong since 1990. The Hollywood location opened in 2001 with more than 250,000 titles. If you can’t find it there, good luck.
Other Music: Other Music (15 E. 4th St., New York; 212-477-8150) is a New York institution known for its impressive selection and too-cool-for-school clerks with their encyclopedic knowledge. Just steps from NYU, the shop has been schooling hipsters-in-training since 1996. In addition to a formidable selection the shop also sells select magazines, books (including our own Music+Travel Worldwide!) and tickets to must-see shows at venues around the city. Stop by to discover a new artist and see them live that night!
Turntable Lab: This tiny East Village shop features the coolest electronic and dance music on wax, including some of the best bets from cumbia label Bersa Records and our friends at ZZK, along with turntables, drum machines and all the DJ essentials.
Sometimes a single shop doesn’t have all you need. To fully immerse yourself in the sounds of Latin America, head to these neighborhoods:
Sunset Junction: Located between music hotspots Echo Park and Silverlake in LA, the microneighborhood of Sunset Junction features a number of mom-and-pop shops that offer vintage records, including cumbia direct from Colombia and Mexico.
The Mission: San Francisco’s Mission District is home to a large Latino and Chicano populations, as well as the city’s young and artsy scene. To tap into the area’s Latin music scene check out Julio’s (2884 Mission St., San Francisco; 415-648-1054) on the neighborhood’s main drag, known for its extensive selection of Spanish-language releases.
Sunset Park, Brooklyn: One of New York’s most multi-cultural neighborhoods (it’s home to both “Little Latin America” and Brooklyn’s Chinatown), Sunset Park, Brooklyn, is a hub of Latin American music that features many places to find cumbia — just cruise down Fourth of Fifth avenues from the mid 30s to 60th Street. The neighborhood is easy to reach on the B, D, M and R subway lines.
photo by Sean O’Sullivan/Flickr

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